A visionary entrepreneur, restaurateur, hotelier and philanthropist, Mike Zislis has captivated consumers with a cavalcade of well-loved and highly successful establishments. He brewed his first beer for a school science experiment when he was 13. By the time he was a student at USC, he was a master brewer. In the late ‘80s, Zislis opened his own brew pub, one of the first in California, Manhattan Beach Brewing Company. Soon after, he opened a second brew pub in nearby Redondo Beach, then more up and down the coast.
In 2000, he introduced Rock’N Fish, a seafood and steak house in Manhattan Beach. He has since opened additional Rock’N Fish restaurants.
Adding hotelier to his titles, in 2004 Zislis transformed an urban revitalization project in Manhattan Beach into the area’s first and only luxury boutique hotel, Shade, listed on Conde Nast Traveler’s Hot List in 2007 in addition to being the magazine’s #6 reason to visit Los Angeles. Shade was also recently named one of the top 25 trendiest hotels in the U.S. by Trip Advisor.
In 2011, Zislis opened The Strand House restaurant, featuring American cuisine in an environment that is reminiscent of an elegant yet welcoming oceanfront beach house with stunning ocean views. The Strand House regularly hosts its Culinary Masters Series, an ongoing series of dinners which welcome celebrated chefs from around the world into the restaurant’s kitchen for one night, bringing their signature cuisine to the South Bay.
In 2012, Zislis, in partnership with rock icons Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons of the rock band KISS, opened Rock & Brews in El Segundo, a beer, comfort food and rock and roll dining and entertainment concept that now has six locations open and an additional dozen under development.
Now, Zislis has construction underway at Shade Hotel Redondo Beach, considered a cornerstone in the City of Redondo Beach’s waterfront revitalization project, slated for completion in January 2016.
Zislis, a father of six children, is also committed to supporting local charities and schools through his businesses. He currently sits on the foundation board at the Torrance Memorial Medical Center.
We asked Mike to answer some questions for us about doing business in the area and here’s what he had to say:
- How long have you been doing business in Manhattan Beach? I have been doing business in Manhattan Beach for 25 yrs.
- What made you choose Manhattan Beach? I grew up in Rolling Hills and spent a lot of time in the beach cities surfing. When I wanted to open my own restaurant Manhattan Beach seemed like the ideal area.
- How could we make doing business here easier? I am very appreciative of the support I am getting from the Chamber at City Council. We love to participate in local events and support the community that supports my businesses. Working with the Chamber has been instrumental for my business.
- How did you engage the community when you first started? When I first started I walked table to table at Rock’N Fish to get to know people and do whatever I had to do to make my guests feel welcomed and wanting to come back.
- What would you recommend for prospective business owners? Being involved with the community. I like to support a lot of organizations such as the Manhattan Beach Education Foundation, Rotary, the Downtown Business Association.
- What’s your take on the evolving chamber? I am very pleased with the chamber. It is 1000% better than a few years ago.