Torrance’s the Brews Hall Enters a Crowded Beer Scene with Comfort Food and Star Power

If you brew it, they will come.

  • Category
    Eat & Drink, People
  • Written by
    Rich Thomas
  • Photographed by
    Winny Huang & Jenna Ritter

Sooner or later, every great artist reaches a point in their career where they curate and release that inevitable Greatest Hits collection—a compendium of their finest accomplishments, plus a handful of remasters, demos and rarities. Of course, not everyone is lucky enough to make it to this juncture—and those who do often botch the process entirely, resting on their laurels and creating a product that functions as more of a headstone than a jumping-off point for their next great era.

In the 30 years since he opened his first establishment, hospitality guru and brewmaster Michael Zislis has built a formidable catalog that includes BREWCO, Rock’N Fish, The Strand House and two luxury, boutique Shade Hotels. With The Brews Hall, his latest eatery, the restaurateur has delivered his long-awaited Greatest Hits album— assembling an all-star selection of quality comfort foods in a casual, open atmosphere.

Situated on the north end of the Torrance Target parking lot—far enough away from the heart of the Del Amo Fashion Center to not fight over parking spots—The Brews Hall is a 25,000-square-foot cafeteria for grown-ups, anchored by a brewery that churns out 20+ premium beers on tap. The brewery boasts 12 serving vessels and 17 fermenters. With roll tops on the east and west sides of the building, there’s plenty of spacious seating and lots of cross-breeze, which always makes the beer go down easier in the summertime.

The spot is anchored by four different canteens: George Lopez’s Chingon Kitchen, Chicken T.W.I.L.I., Rock’N Fish Grill and sports talk personality Colin Cowherd’s The Herd: Burgers Bets & Brews. Each brand has its own culinary focus, but quality control is ensured by Michael and Rock’N Fish executive chef Shaun Dry.

“I go into a lot of food yards,” Michael says. “The problem is, you usually have two or three really great vendors and then two or three mediocre ones. I couldn’t imagine a situation where I didn’t control the quality of the food, so I’ve always thought maybe I’ll take some of my best ideas and put ‘em together.”

Buzzrock Brewing Co. is Michael’s cornerstone, and The Brews Hall features an assortment of wheat beers, IPAs, stouts and two custom labels for Cowherd: a Herd IPA and a Herd Pilsner. George currently has five of his own beers on tap, including a grapefruit and agave- infused Paloma, which has an incredibly smooth finish for a 7.5% ABV IPA.

The Brews Hall is the third Chingon Kitchen location for George and Michael, and The Herd is Colin’s restaurant debut. Over time, Michael has become somewhat of a restaurant whisperer for entertainment personalities who want to pivot into the culinary field. Rock & Brews, his popular joint venture with Kiss’ Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, has multiple locations from Baja, California, to Florida. They know that under Michael’s watchful eye, their family recipes and creative aspirations will be more than just a vanity play to add to their portfolio; they will become go-to neighborhood spots serving quality food and fostering a sense of community.

“Brewing is where it all started for me,” says Michael. “I never thought I’d be in the hospitality business. I thought I’d just be brewing beer. That’s why The Brews Hall was so important to pull off. It’s got everything I like: great food and different variety of beer. That’s about all I need on a desert island.”

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