What drummer Joey Kramer doesn’t know about skiing, he is making up for with a double shot of enthusiasm. The drummer of rock band Aerosmith is opening a restaurant/cafe in Maine’s ski country this season.
“I am very excited about this,” said Kramer of his first Rockin’ & Roastin’ Cafe & Restaurant in Newry with stunning views of the slopes of Sunday River.
A coffee entrepreneur since 2012, Kramer and business partner Les Otten, former vice chairman of the Boston Red Sox, add some needed glam to ski country with the joint venture. Kramer plans to open a second cafe in North Attleboro, Massachusetts, soon and a third at Stratton Mountain in Vermont. Maine is his first foray into the restaurant world.
“There are a half dozen restaurants up there, but the problem is they have been there for quite some time,” said Kramer, 65. “This will be a shot in the arm.”
Taking over The Phoenix, a popular apres ski headquarters, Kramer and Otten are extending the building’s prow front to the edge of the property with floor-to-ceiling windows to maximize the alpine vista. By early 2016 guests will be able to drink coffee, or something stronger, with unobstructed views of the trails and glades.
“This is my first shot at it. It will be different,” said Kramer, who now lives in Austin, Texas, but plans to buy a condo at Sunday River. “The food will be gourmet, the coffee the best.”
The venue features a cafe by morning and live music and dining at night. It will be open year-round. “I want everyone to have good time and be happy,” said the rock star-turned-food entrepreneur.
Baristas will prepare a variety of coffee drinks served with baked goods and sandwiches. Upstairs there will be full-service dining, though not too many culinary details have been shared. Kramer’s public relations company says it will be “classic American cuisine,” featuring steaks, seafood and other hearty fare.
Frank Cimler, co-founder and president of Rockin’ & Roastin’ Coffee, said, “We are privileged to join that community and all the terrific restaurants that serve the area.”
“It will be a fun place to come, with rock and roll memorabilia. A super upgraded version of a Hard Rock Cafe, newer and better with great service,” said Kramer.
How did the Hall of Famer go from banging out ’70s arena rock to blending organic beans?
While touring the world with Aerosmith, Kramer could never find a perfect cup of joe. Eventually he took matters into his own hands. Enter Rockin’ & Roastin,’ an organic line of the rocker’s favorite coffee regions — Guatemala, Ethiopia, Sumatra — blended with a fierce backbeat. The coffee is available in several restaurants, stores and cafes in nearby Bethel, so locals already know what to expect.
“When I started Rockin’ & Roastin’ in 2012, I always hoped it would lead to opportunities in the restaurant industry and this one is a dream.”
For live concerts, the venue will hold 350 people and though members of Aerosmith will stop in when they are in town, Kramer says a concert from the rock legends is highly unlikely. “We will feature local bands several nights a week.”
To Kramer: “This is a new phase of my life. It’s something very new and challenging.”