Rojo Mexican Bistro has opened its fourth restaurant in a former Max & Erma’s location at 250 Merrill St., Birmingham and owner Daniel Linnen says he hopes the newest addition will change the perception of the restaurant’s brand to a more informal atmosphere. Additionally, the Mad Hatter Café, located in the former Quizno’s restaurant at 185 N. Woodward Ave., is planning to open in April.
“We’ve basically taken the last five years of Rojo (which opened its first location in 2008) and we’ve tweaked the concept,” Linnen says. “We’re using the Birmingham location to re-launch Rojo as a fun, lively (versus formal) environment.”
Linnen notes that the restaurant’s price point “is a little bit more welcoming for the families in the community.” He adds that the restaurant group — which also has locations in Novi, Rochester, and Partridge Creek — re-launched its menu and now includes “Not So Mex” options for customers who prefer hamburgers to burritos.
A grand opening for the new restaurant — which employs roughly 55 people and seats 186 — is scheduled for Jan. 8.
Currently under construction, the Mad Hatter Café, needs to secure final approval from the Birmingham City Commission, with owner Eileen Sakko expecting to open in April.
“We’ll be offering a high tea and an afternoon tea as well,” says Sakko, noting that the modern American European menu will also include brunch, lunch, and supper options. “It has an Alice in Wonderland theme, so when you walk in, you’re going to fill like you’ve stepped into Wonderland.”
Other upcoming restaurants on Birmingham’s radar and expected to open next year include Crush at 555 S. Old Woodward Ave.; Debonair at 825 Bowers in the Triangle District; and Home at 210 South Old Woodward Ave. The Stand Gastro Bistro opened in September in the former Zazios at 34977 Woodward Ave.