Rolling Stone to debut restaurant in Hollywood

HOLLYWOOD - Rolling Stone magazine announced plans today to open a restaurant and nightclub in the Hollywood & Highland Center.

The first Rolling Stone venue will open in the summer of 2010, according to Lucky Rug Group principals Niall Donnelly and Joe Altounian, and Rolling Stone editor and publisher Jann S. Wenner.

The multi-level Rolling Stone space will encompass more than 10,000-square feet and include a restaurant, bar, lounge and upscale private-event space.

"We've been looking for the ideal opportunity to expand the Rolling Stone brand for some time, and we are thrilled to be working with Lucky Rug Group," Wenner said.

Donnelly and Altounian created the Lucky Rug Group earlier this year. Donnelly has spent more than 12 years owning and operating bars and clubs in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

"For those who love music and pop culture, the words `Rolling Stone' continue to mean so much to so many people around the world, especially in the U.S.," Donnelly said.

With more than 10 years in the Southern California commercial and residential real estate industry, Altounian has been involved in numerous condo conversions and land entitlement projects.

Running a high-profile entertainment-themed restaurant chain has been challenging for others.

The Los Angeles Times noted that competitors such as Planet Hollywood and Hard Rock Cafe have lost money, though both still operate.

Hard Rock plans to open a large restaurant and bar of its own at Hollywood & Highland in May. Rolling Stone's restaurant will be smaller but fancier and hipper, its creators told The Times.

"The food will be higher-end than Hard Rock," Donnelly told the newspaper. "The venue itself will be for higher-end audiences."

The Rolling Stone venue in Hollywood will operate on two tiers, Donnelly told The Times. On the top level, a restaurant and bar will target the millions of tourists a year who come to Hollywood Boulevard.

The owners also hope to attract local residents who may come to watch sports or have a drink.

At street level, on Highland Avenue, will be a more up-market lounge, "which will be harder to get into," Donnelly told the newspaper. The lounge may also be rented for corporate events.

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