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Would Gene Simmons come to Warrensburg?

After my first restaurant closed many years ago, a number of people approached me about partnering to open a new restaurant in another city. Suggested locations for the new venture included Saratoga, Glens Falls, and Albany, among others. But Id never consider opening a restaurant anywhere but Warrensburg. This is my home. It's where I want to be. But what if someone had suggested partnering to open a new Warrensburg restaurant? I'd still be hesitant. I would want a business partner who could bring something more than just money to Warrensburg. After rolling the possibilities about in my imagination for a while, I came to the conclusion -- in retrospect, the only possible conclusion -- that the one person I could ever consider opening a new Warrensburg restaurant with would be Gene Simmons, co-founder of the legendary rock group KISS. Why? Well, as viewers of Simmons' reality TV show Gene Simmons Family Jewels know, the formerly face-painted rocker has one of the best licensing/merchandising conglomerates ever. Some of KISSs albums have out-sold even the Beatles and Elvis (sorry, Elvis!). Sure, Paul McCartney has money and Beatles connections, but he can't run a business like Simmons. Simmons once turned a losing $20,000 investment in a cattle farm into a moneymaker in a very surprising, hands-on way. And his name and image has appeared on everything from a Visa Card, to a U.S. postage stamp, to the Gene Simmons Bikini Car Wash. ("When in Warrensburg, be sure to visit the Simmons Sapienza Bikini Pizzeria" -- hmmm, that does have a nice ring to it.) So how would an investment from Gene Simmons benefit Warrensburg? Well, starting with the obvious, he'd bring a lot to the table for the restaurant's special music events -- the ones that include an intimate evening with a name performer paired with a multi-course meal. If someone like Gene Simmons lent his name to our growing roster of performers, we could pretty much get anybody else we wanted. Not that we don't already attract the stars (well soon have performances by Jorma Kaukonen of Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna, and Levon Helm of The Band), but Gene Simmons could raise the bar like you wouldn't believe. Could you imagine, say, Willie Nelson or Dave Matthews refusing to play here if we could count Gene Simmons as part of the team? Okay, maybe yes, but I still think it's worth thinking about. And what if we could get a face-painted Willie Nelson to play an acoustic "Rock and Roll All Nite" on our stage? Well, maybe thats going too far, but knowing Willie Music aside, what if Gene Simmons didnt play here but only invested in the business? We could have KISS night with discounts for customers in KISS makeup, and Simmons could go from table to table lighting cherries jubilee by breathing flame. Now that would get Warrensburg some press! The KISS Army would descend on the town in hordes. Every hotel room would be full, and tourists would buy all the gas, food, t-shirts, and pepperoni guitar picks the town could come up with. (Pepperoni guitar picks! I gotta call Gene!) Before long, folks all around the country would know of Warrensburg. We'd be just as much of a household name as Lake George -- only cooler! Is Warrensburg ready for the Simmons Sapienza Bikini Pizzeria? Frankly, probably not. But we could pay tribute to him by offering what I call the Gene Simmons Naked Pizza. It's like a regular pizza, but extra spicy and sure to please even the longest tongue! The Gene Simmons Naked Pizza Shape your favorite pizza dough into a 16 round pie (like a giant LP but without the hole in the middle). Add homemade pizza sauce (see our recipe below) DO NOT add cheese (if it had cheese, it wouldn't be naked!) Top with the following: 3 oz sliced black olives (like Simmons' eye makeup pre-1974) 3 oz of Cappicollo (a hot, spicy ham) 1 large Italian sausage sliced (no comment) Bake in a gas or wood-fired oven at the highest temperature possible (Hotter Than Hell) until its done to your liking. The Pizza Sauce: 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil 4 cloves garlic (diced) 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1/2 cup of fresh basil leaves 1 tablespoon dried oregano 2 (28-ounce cans) crushed tomatoes Sautee your garlic in the olive oil until it begins to turn an amber color. Add your tomatoes, spices and herbs. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook on a low heat for 20 minutes.

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