20 years ago, the now-iconic restaurant Rojo opened its doors and began delighting patrons with great food, drinks and outdoor seating. Now, the restaurant is celebrating its 20th anniversary with not one but two parties. Read on to learn more.
What is Rojo?
“20 years ago, when we were a little bit younger, and dreamy eyed. I had worked in restaurants for a long time and wanted to do my own place. Because either you love the restaurant business or you hate it, there’s rarely any in-between.”Clark Lopez
If you haven’t yet visited, Rojo is a Latin and American neighborhood grill located on Highland Ave, next to O’Henry’s Coffee. The restaurant, founded by Laney DeJonge and Clark Lopez, is a Birmingham staple famous for its quesadillas, burgers and robust drink menu.
Rojo is also notable for its devotion to the many different charities and nonprofits in Birmingham. Back in 2018, Rojo won the 2018 Restaurant Neighbor Award for the State of Alabama, in recognition of its commitment to community service and civic awareness.
20 Years’ worth of amazing customers
Rojo wouldn’t be what it is without the regulars who have been dining there for the past twenty years. When the restaurant first opened, Birmingham had yet to evolve into the vibrant food city that it is today. This made Lopez and DeJonge see an opportunity to open a place with a focus on outdoor dining and a commitment to quality cuisine.
“There were very few Mexican restaurants (Back in 2002). And so that’s one of the reasons we knew we wanted to have Latin foods. But we also decided have an American menu just because we knew so many people in the neighborhood would want to come by and eat. We still have people that eat here like three to five times a week.”Laney Dejonge
One of these regulars happens to be a photographer by the name of Greer Milan. From late June and into July, Milan is putting on a photography show in the restaurant’s side room. The show will be about “the people who made Rojo great”, and while it won’t include every regular to frequent Rojo it should still prove to be a testament to the restaurant’s long history.
“He (Milan) just really remembers fondly living in the Sheraton apartments and all the great times he had Rojo, and he’s always wanted to do a photo exhibit. So he’s taking portraits of different people that used to work here and regulars”Laney DeJonge
Now without further ado let’s see what to expect from Rojo’s two anniversary parties:
The first party
When: June 15 at 6 PM
Where: Rojo, 2921 Highland Ave, Birmingham AL 35205
Rojo’s first party celebrating their big anniversary will feature live music performed by Chuck and The Kings. Longtime Rojo patrons will recognize the band, as the New Orleans-style jazz group has been playing different Rojo events for the past decade. The party promises to have champagne good food, and even better time guaranteed for anybody who’s interested.
The second party
When: June 25 from 11:00 AM to 8 PM
Where: Rojo, 2921 Highland Ave, Birmingham AL 35202 and Rushton Park (Which is right across the street from Rojo)
During the field day, which will be organized and run by the Alabama Rivers Alliance, guests will participate in events such as:
- Tug of War
- Sack races
- three-legged races
- And so much more!
After the field day events have concluded, the streets in front of Rojo will be shut down, and a series of stands put on by local artists and entertainers will be put up for people to enjoy. Guests can expect:
- A caricature artist
- a magician
- a photobooth
- even a surprise guest!
Rojo’s two parties celebrating their 20th anniversary are sure to both be a grand time!