Every once in awhile, a celebrity comes along who has, among other talents, a big heart and a giving soul. So as not to be mistaken on the meaning of “celebrity,” I am not talking about “celebutantes” who are famous for doing nothing at all; I am referring to the true celebrity who gains well-known popularity and status by doing something great.
Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing one of those true celebrities, Sammy Hagar. In addition to making and performing great music, his many talents also include admirable accomplishments in the restaurant and spirits industries. One of Sammy’s recent successes is SAMMY’S BEACH BAR & GRILL, which was created with a great purpose in mind, to give back. Sammy has been inspired to help the community through proceeds from his family friendly restaurant.
How many of you know that 100 percent of the profits from Sammy’s Beach Bar & Grill are contributed to local charities? The Hagar Family Foundation was founded in 2008 and it supports charities such as Blessings in a Backpack, as well as other programs providing food
children and food banks around the country. While Sammy has many good quotes, one of my personal favorites is, “You are never as tall as when you kneel to help a child.”
Sammy’s Beach Bar & Grill was Sammy’s own idea and came out of his desire to be able to hang out in a party place that had live music, good service, good food and good drinks. In essence, a place that reflected the way he likes to live. When I asked Sammy to expound a bit on that, he spoke about his vision, which was a reflection of the question he asked himself, “What am I doing this for?” He was reminded of the time he has spent with the locals in his beloved home in Maui – good people who had trouble providing for their children. It was from that reflection that he was inspired to give back to the kids.
Among his five stores currently open, Sammy’s Beach Bar & Grill will be the growth vehicle because this concept “best expresses Sammy’s core values” of “higher reason,” according to Stan Novack. Stan, whom many of us know and admire, consults with Sammy on site selection, negotiations, build-outs, operations, and management of the business. Stan is also a trusted advisor and therefore has become a filter of sorts, a sounding board and friend on all kinds of topics.
“American fare with an island twist” is how Sammy describes the food. The recipes come from his favorite friends and celebrated chefs across America, and you can be assured that Sammy is all in when it comes to jealously protecting his image and his brand. Stan says that Sammy is an astute business person who listens to people he trusts, people who “get it” and share his passion. Stan particularly enjoys the quick decision-making process that comes from a lean operation.
And speaking of passion, in February of this year, Sammy launched a premium silver rum that was designed to complement the vibe of the restaurant, which is high-quality beach food and uninhibited fun. While that sounds difficult to bottle, Sammy knows he has found the right formula to support his core values.
This pot-distilled rum is made with pure cane sugar from Hawaii where the earth is unpolluted and the air is clean. The sugar cane grows in “the middle of nowhere” where the roots absorb from the soil the flavors of tropical fruits grown in the region. The rum maker is a local distiller who considers the area one of the finest growing regions in the world for sugar cane. Perhaps the best way to describe this product is a line from one of Sammy’s songs that goes “one sip and you’ll surrender.”
The premium silver rum is now available nationally, and will be followed by flavored rums and aged rum. It’s name? Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum, Aloha Spirit of Hawaii. Why rum? Besides the obvious, and following his own exhaustive research, Sammy says, “Rum rocks.”
While this busy and totally involved business man considers himself a person who has “been retired his whole life because he is doing what he really wants to do,” the multi-platinum RED ROCKER never forgets what makes it all possible – his fans. Both Sammy and Stan told me that the fans are the most important thing. Stan went on to say, “All Sammy does is in support of his fan base.”
If you are curious as to how Sammy makes all this happen, he describes it as a lot of hard work, a little bit of luck and a whole lot of passion. He says one should “have a vision, see it through and have good people.” His core values speak loud and clear – it’s got to be great; if it can’t compete with what is already the best, then leave it to somebody else; and, it has to be for a “higher reason.”
SAMMY’S ROCKIN DAIQUIRI
1.5 oz Beach Bar Rum
1 oz fresh sour mix
.5 oz lychee juice/syrup
.5 oz pineapple juice
Directions: Pour ingredients into a mixing glass. Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime wedge and serve.