From brunch to nightcaps, this Highland Park neighborhood hotspot hums with a young, come-one-come-all crowd: dogs, kids, spandex, business-casual, tats—they all mix happily here. So happily, in fact, that the pet-friendly outdoor patio and dark, pub-like interior can sometimes get a bit loud for conversation, but the great food and atmosphere more than make up for it. The patio area is covered and walled in the winter so that you can still enjoy it during the winter, but in the spring, the walls come down for a picnic with fresh air and a cool breeze. But if you prefer indoors, you won’t be disappointed with the deep red, authentic Latin American atmosphere.
What Makes it GreatOn the menu, you’ll be tempted to try everything, but will be torn between the Latin menu or the American menu. On the Latin side, appetizers such as the spicy award-winning Bandito Salsa or Black Bean and Corn Soup. The entrees are plenty and unique, such as fish tacos, organic steak fajitas, and plenty of vegan options. If your diet is gluten-free, just ask for a gluten-free menu for plenty of options to suit your needs. The spicy paella is Rojo’s spin on the Spanish rice dish, made with jalapeno sausage and shrimp or chicken. But don’t forget the American side of the menu. How about choosing a burger, sandwich or salad? The Fuego burger has a spicy heat with habanero cheese, jalapeno bacon, and habanero puree. Or you could always start with an appetizer that you’ve never tried before: a hearty plate of the “totchos”—tater tots with the nacho treatment. Grab a menu as soon as you’re in the door, because they take your order at the counter and deliver it to your table, which is great for splitting checks in a big group.
Order your beer, wine, and cocktails separately at the bar, which is an impressive variety in and of itself. Of course there are wines and margaritas, but the draft beers are mostly local. You’ll find Trim Tab, Good People, Avondale, Cahaba Brewing, and Back 40 for a sweet support of local breweries.
Who is Going to Love ItRojo is a great atmosphere for drinks with friends or relaxing with family. Kids are welcome (confirmed by the existence of a separate kids’ menu) or grab a friend, order a brew and catch up. But one shining element of the restaurant is their 10% Tuesdays. No, that’s not a 10% discount. It is a 10% contribution toward a charity that varies week to week. A recent 10% Tuesday benefitted Pathways United Way Agency, which helps homeless women and children. If you’re looking for a meal with a cause, Rojo is the best place to go.
Directions, Parking and FeesRojo is easy to find and offers plenty of parking. From HWY 31 N/HWY 280 W and take the exit toward Highland Ave/Arlington Ave. Stay left at the fork and continue toward Highland Ave S. You can’t miss the neon sign on your right!
Kid’s menu item prices vary from .99 to 4.99, and adult menu items are in the $7-$14, so not only is Rojo a great option for great food, but the prices are incredible, especially considering the quality of food and portion sizes.