Rojo Mexican Bistro Owner to Open Slider Bar Called Sidecar in Birmingham

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Dan Linnen, the proprietor of Birmingham’s Rojo Mexican Bistro, wants to add a little more flavor to the city’s late night dining scene with Sidecar, a slider bar next to Rojo on Merrill Street that he expects to open next month.

“Something that doesn’t really exist right now in Birmingham is a place where people can go get a late-night bite in a comfortable environment,” Linnen says.

Linnen says Sidecar, to be located at 280 E. Merrill St., will offer more nuance in its approach to sliders than other area small plates offerings.

The slider menu, created by Chef Andy Stevens, will consistently change, but will initially offer options like Ahi tuna with Asian slaw on a Hawaiian bun in addition to the standard ground chuck slider.

“We want to be the place that’s comfortable for (people) to pop in (at any hour), take a seat at the bar, and have a full dinner,” he says.

Linnen says that when he and Stevens were experimenting with the slider menu, they found that different proteins taste better with different breads. To that end, Sidecar’s menu will feature seven types of buns to complement the various offerings.

Sidecar’s 1,600-square-foot interior will be based around its long, granite-topped bar, which Linnen hopes will serve as a form of communal dining. The bar’s wood was reclaimed from a barn in Standish, near Bay City.

“People want to have conversation and be entertained,” Linnen says. “Whether it’s with other people or the bartender, there’s a trend towards that. The bar serves as that communal dining spot in Birmingham.”

Linnen says he hopes that the 92-seat Sidecar can kick-start its own Merrill Street scene and establish a neighborhood identity.

“At night I’d look down Merrill Street and it looked like everything was closed,” he says. “It looked like an unwelcoming street. We want to re-activate it. We want to make Merrill a lot more walkable, a lot more energetic at night.”

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