Rojo Set to Open Later this Month

Rojo (website still parked), a new 280-person capacity Mexican restaurant located at The Shops at West End in St. Louis Park, opens Aug. 23. Its press release notes that it will feature “traditional and favorite ethnic dishes, as well as creative ‘nuevo’ Mexican interpretations.”

The release [PDF here] also contained the following curious quote from co-founder Michael McDermott: “We didn’t feel anyone today was offering Mexican cuisine the way we wanted it. You may find authentic Mexican food, but you might not find it in a familiar and welcoming environment.”

Translation: Rojo is the perfect destination for people afraid to hang out in a Mexican restaurant with actual Mexicans.

(Note: If Rojo can sling carnitas like Los Ocampo and tacos al pastor like La Hacienda, I’ll eat my words.)

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James Norton

James Norton is editor and co-founder of the Heavy Table. He is also the co-author of Lake Superior Flavors, the co-author of a book about Wisconsin’s master cheesemakers, and a regular on-air contributor to Minnesota Public Radio.

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6 Comments

  1. “the way we wanted it … You may find authentic Mexican food, but you might not find it in a familiar and welcoming environment.”

    Wow. I mean, some bloggers get all up-in-arms about the Wanderers’ Wondrous Azian thing (which could be at least defended with a straight face), but this is just explicitly racist, and completely offensive to Mexican people and anyone else who enjoys eating in a Mexican restaurant.

    And even though his carnitas might be super awesome, I’m not sure I want to eat in his familiar but close-minded environment.

  2. Let me know when Rick Bayless brings Mexican food to town, till then I’m sticking with Lake Street.

  3. Wow…cause Barrio and Masa are swimming with ethnicity?

    You guys read too much into these things…I love eat street and east lake as much as the next guy but living in SLP I simply don’t drive that far for dinner very often.

    High end this is not, but you can’t be too tightly focused when you have to put 280 butt in the seats day in and day out.

  4. “Wow…cause Barrio and Masa are swimming with ethnicity?”
    No, but they’re not proclaiming that the “unfamiliar” restaurants aren’t “welcoming” or offering food the way “‘we’ want it.” There’s no problem with “unauthentic” (whatever that means) places; there’s just a problem with this guy making actual Mexican places seem scary to people.

    “but living in SLP I simply don’t drive that far for dinner very often.”

    And he wasn’t saying “oh hey, we’re closer than Minneapolis!”, he was pointing out that someone going to the West End would feel real uncomfortable in an unfamiliar place such as an “actual Mexican restaurant.” That’s totally different than where the thing’s located.

    I think 99% of the time people get a little overboard in these types of slip-ups, but this was just plain stupid.

  5. Lobo Negro 08/16/2010

    Ok so they think they have what it takes to do autentic mexican food,Well let me tell you that when you mention melted cheese, you already, define your self mexican food is not aboth burritos, tacos, and enchiladas, mexican food is abouth tradition, abouth family, I grow up in Mexico, in a little town, in puebla and, I travel around, and never hear abouth a burrito, or enchiladas made with sweet sauce, mexican food is spicy, flavorfull, simple, with out complications. It makes me sad to see how mexican food is been change so much, but I am a chef and I refuse to do so, that is why Iam making mexican beer dinners and stay true to mexican food, to my self and my traditions, I undertand, that food needs to be approachable to people but there no reason to be lost in translation. If you whnt to know abouth autentic mexican food let me know. osoraboso@yahoo.com