NEWRY — What happens when ski tycoon meets rock star?

Business executive and former CEO of American Skiing Co. Les Otten and Aerosmith drumming legend Joey Kramer are hoping to find out with their new joint cafe and restaurant venture at Sunday River, slated to open around Christmastime.

“We’re going to rock the mountain. That’s what we’re going to do,” Kramer said Wednesday at the former Phoenix House and Well space that will soon be known as the Rockin’ and Roastin’ Cafe and Restaurant — At the Mountain.

About five years ago, Kramer decided to veer into the business world with his friend and personal attorney turned business partner, Frank Cimler. Together with co-founder Ron Mann, the trio created Rockin’ and Roastin’ 100 percent USDA organic certified, custom-roasted coffee brews.

Since its creation, Rockin’ and Roastin’ has found homes in establishments across the country, but it was always in Kramer’s mind that the coffee business might lead to opportunities in the restaurant business.

Then one day, Cimler, who owns a home in the Bethel area, introduced Kramer to Otten, who just happened to own the perfect space for Kramer’s dream to become a reality.

“I was looking for a way to revitalize the Phoenix and turn it into something new, and Joey was looking for a way of taking the coffee and the cafe to the next level,” Otten said.

The pair started talking and a business model began to emerge. The Phoenix was a seasonal restaurant and would have opened as usual this winter as skiers began to descend on the mountain resort area, but after 12 years in operation, Otten felt it might be time for something fresh in his establishment.

“A lot of restaurants need to freshen themselves and put on a new face — change the menu and the venue,” Otten said. “I think one of the things we both thought was missing in this area was something that was a little hotter, that had a little bit more energy to it, that wasn’t the typical ski bar. I think we had a little bit of a shared vision of what we’re going to do, and it’s based around rock ‘n’ roll, fun and food.” 

Part of that shared vision involves a total building renovation, inside and out. The new space will feature 180-degree views of the slopes on Sunday River, thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows that will meet at a point in the front of the building. The bottom floor will be a casual cafe complete with baristas serving up Rockin’ and Roastin’ coffees and a variety of pastries and muffins baked on site, as well as a selection of gourmet sandwiches. Upstairs, where the views are even more spectacular, will have two custom-built bars, a stage for live performances and a dining room.

“The room upstairs will be a multi-function room in terms of comedy, live music, karaoke and there’ll be affairs there,” Kramer said. “If someone wants to get married there or have a bar mitzvah there, or whatever. We’re open to anything and everything. But the root of it all is Rockin’ and Roastin’ coffee and the Rockin’ and Roastin’ lifestyle, so to speak, that we’re bringing with the coffee. It’s all about rock ‘n’ roll and having a good time, and that’s what we’re doing here.”

Cimler said there may even be an opportunity for some national acts to perform at the venue, which will be open year-round.

“The objective is to provide a full menu of entertainment opportunities,” he said.

To reinforce the rock ‘n’ roll theme, the Rockin’ and Roastin’ Cafe and Restaurant — At the Mountain will display rock memorabilia, including some of Kramer’s personal instruments. In particular, guests will have an opportunity to view Kramer’s drum kit from Aerosmith’s recent “Global Warming Tour.”

Even the menu items will scream rock ‘n’ roll, featuring names that are puns on Aerosmith songs, like “Janie’s Got a Bun,” “Living on a Wedge” and “The Big 10 Inch Pizza.” And the bathrooms will be a nod to Kramer’s Aerosmith connection with the men’s room labeled “Kings” and the women’s room labeled “Queens” after Kramer’s favorite song — one he happened to co-write.

Kramer is confident that he and Otten will contribute in their own ways to the venture, and he’s hoping the combination is magic. They plan to open two other locations, one in North Attleboro, Mass., and one at Stratton Mountain in Vermont.

Otten said the Sunday River venture is a way for him to stay connected to the mountain he spent decades turning into a top skiing destination in the Northeast.

“I built Sunday River, and I’ve really been forever proud of the mountain,” he said. “I think it’s one of the best mountains in the Eastern United States. And I think my involvement and my contribution to the future with Joey is now to finally build this place into the same value as the mountain.” 

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