Randall Benton / SacramentoBee file

The front of Sammy’s Rockin’ Island Bar and Grill in Roseville before its original opening in September 2012. The place closed after the disappearance and death of then-owner Steve Pease. It will re-open under management of singer Sammy Hagar’s sons, and Hagar himself will be active in the establishment.

Roseville’s Sammy Hagar-themed restaurant to reopen

Published: Thursday, Jun. 19, 2014 - 11:46 am
Last Modified: Saturday, Sep. 13, 2014 - 8:59 am

Roseville’s Sammy Hagar-themed restaurant is set to reopen in the fall after the legendary rock star’s two sons agreed to take over operations.

Chris Robles, chief executive officer of the Roseville Community Development Corporation, announced the deal during a regional business conference Thursday morning. Sammy Hagar, 66, is expected to take a hands-on approach to managing the restaurant and will perform there on occasion, Robles said.

The popular downtown eatery closed in November after then-owner Steve Pease unexpectedly disappeared and was later found dead.

The development corporation, a city-affiliated nonprofit, officially took possession of Sammy’s Rockin’ Island Bar & Grill in mid-April after Pease’s company, Innova Restaurant Concepts LLC, defaulted on a $1.5 million tenant improvement loan. Pease had a license to use Hagar’s name.

“All along we were trying to reopen Sammy’s,” Robles said. “It was such a success that we wanted to bring it back.”

Aaron Hagar said Thursday in an interview that the family was overjoyed to take over ownership.

“This was a huge loss for us,” Aaron Hagar said about the restaurant’s closure in November. “I was real excited to get back involved and see where they need me.”

The Hagar family will lease the 10,000-square-foot Vernon Street location through a limited liability company. Aaron Hagar, 44, is a music artist and brother Andrew Hagar, 30, is a sports trainer.

Sammy Hagar wasn’t available for comment because he is filming, according to his spokeswoman, Hannah Kampf.

But in a statement, Sammy Hagar called Roseville a “cool city” and said he plans to spend “more time there – jamming and playing live with friends.”

Under the three-year agreement between RCDC and the Hagar family, rent will be $12,500 a month. In addition, RCDC will receive 5 percent of gross sales exceeding $1 million in the first year, Robles said.

The reopening could be a catalyst for the city’s downtown revitalization effort, which has stalled without the landmark restaurant.

Pease, 57, was a big supporter of the downtown renaissance and opened the restaurant in late 2012 to much fanfare. But his disappearance in November shocked friends and associates alike.

Pease was last seen Nov. 3 when he checked out of a Fort Bragg motel and drove off in a rental car. At the time, he was behind on his loan payments. The restaurant closed Nov. 10. A few weeks later, Pease’s body was found in the Pacific Ocean near Gualala. The Mendocino County Sheriff-Coroner’s Office suspended its investigation in January, saying it had exhausted all leads and was unable to pinpoint Pease’s cause of death.

Aaron Hagar, a resident of South Lake Tahoe, has worked for nearly nine years in various positions at Cabo Wabo Cantina of Harveys Lake Tahoe. Cabo Wabo is a chain founded by Sammy Hagar but licensed to other corporations.

“I started as a runner and moved up to middle management,” said Aaron Hagar, who met with business partners and local officials in Roseville on Thursday afternoon.

He said staying in Roseville made sense for the Sammy Hagar franchise because of the city’s location.

“Roseville is a very central hub here,” Aaron Hagar said. “It’s a growing town.”

Call The Bee’s Richard Chang at (916) 321-1018. Follow him on Twitter @RichardYChang.

Read more articles by Richard Chang

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