By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published May 09, 2022 at 11:39 AM

Just days before KISS will take the stage at the American Family Insurance Amphitheater, Potawatomi Hotel & Casino has announced a $100 million renovation that will include a Milwaukee location of Rock & Brews, a restaurant created by the legendary band’s Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley.

The two rockers are slated to appear at a groundbreaking ceremony at the casino and hotel at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, May 11.

A rendering of the new restaurant. (PHOTO: Courtesy of Potawatomi Hotel & Casino)

Rock & Brews has 19 locations in Missouri, Kansas, Texas, Florida and California. An Oklahoma City location is slated to open this week.

The restaurant, which features a wide variety of craft beers and a stage for live musical performances, will be located just off the skywalk that connects the casino and hotel to its parking garage.

The restaurant is part of a massive renovation project that will touch more than 120,000 square feet of space that will see a new Starbucks location open, a new Fire Keeper’s Club booth, more than 1,800 additional slot machine stations, a new bar with 28 bar-top “slot seats” and a 4K television array, three quick service food and beverage stations, a new gift/convenience shop, enhanced lighting, audio, decor and video walls in the skywalk entry area, and a high-limit room.

The new, exclusive room will boast upscale decor and luxury service, including a craft bar, stage and gourmet kitchen, equipped with a brick oven.  

A rendering of the new gaming area. (PHOTO: Courtesy of Potawatomi Hotel & Casino)

“Since opening more than 30 years ago, Potawatomi Hotel & Casino has made it a priority to evolve and meet the needs of our guests,” said property CEO and General Manager Dominic Ortiz in announcing the plans Monday.

“Not only will this elevate the brand, it will further our long-standing status as the premier entertainment destination in the region as the market becomes significantly more competitive. This is just the beginning. Additional exciting changes and new amenities are in store. The best is truly yet to come.”

Construction on the renovation project – which will be undertaken by the Potawatomi Business Development Corp. subsidiary, Greenfire Management Services, in partnership with Gilbane Building Services – is scheduled to be completed next spring. I-5 is the project architect.

A rendering of the skywalk. (PHOTO: Courtesy of Potawatomi Hotel & Casino)

“Milwaukee and southeast Wisconsin has been home to the Potawatomi for hundreds of years, and this project is another example of how we are continuing to invest in and better the communities that we call home,” said Forest County Potawatomi Chairman Ned Daniels, Jr.

“We are excited to bring these new experiences to our guests and to continue our role as the top entertainment destination in Wisconsin.”

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He has be heard on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories, in that station's most popular podcast.