Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Rockit's rockin'

Still riding high from Rockit Ranch Productions' "Operator of the Year" award they received last night at the Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show in Las Vegas, partner Arturo Gomez talked to me about the secret of his company's success.

While out there basking in the Vegas sun, Gomez and his business partner Billy Dec spoke on panels offering valuable advice on networking, branding and integrated marketing that they've honed for the past 10 years. "We don't just hire managers to take care of the day-to-day operations," he said. "Our managers are required to fulfill certain marketing responsibilities to get the word out about our concepts."

In addition to owning Rockit Bar & Grill (22 W. Hubbard St., 312-645-6000) and Underground (56 W. Illinois St., 312-644-7600), the trio of Gomez, Dec and Brad Young are also working on a still-unnamed, 14,000-square-foot Asian concept that will be situated in River North by the end of the summer. It will offer New Asian cuisine created by consulting chef Rodelio Aglibot—who was a former consulting chef at Los Angeles' Koi restaurant as well as Yi Cuisine—and will feature Southeast Asian, Japanese and Chinese dishes.

And by year's end, said Gomez, the team should have an idea for their next concept, but "right now, everything is focused on getting this Asian concept up and running while keeping our existing projects fresh and exciting."

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