Possibly one of the best things about Birmingham’s restaurant scene is the generosity demonstrated by the people who run the eateries. Not just focused on profit, they regularly make way for various charitable endeavors.
One of the most consistent in this regard is Rojo, which, every single week, gives a portion of its profits to one nonprofit organization or other.
This week, the beneficiaries have included STAIR (Start the Adventure in Reading) Birmingham which received 10 percent of Rojo’s profits through the regular 10% Tuesday promotion and the Alabama Environmental Council which will get its ten percent from the appropriately named 10% Thursday event, as well as an Earth Creations pop-up shop which will also benefit the AEC.
Laney DeJonge, who co-owns Rojo with Clark Lopez, took a few minutes to talk to Weld about why their restaurant is so giving.
Weld: Why 10 percent? How did that get started?
DeJonge: When we first opened, we had a friend who was involved in Hand in Paw and we did a series of 10% Tuesdays for the month of July and we realized that it brought a lot of great, socially conscious people into our restaurant and over the years we kept doing it. We have so many great non-profit organizations in our community and so many of them were asking for donations anyway, so this is a way we can help out and bring wonderful people in our restaurant to pay for it.
Weld: What makes Rojo want to be so generous?
DeJonge: Clark and I love Birmingham and want to do everything we can to help make it better. It benefits everyone when great organizations are able to thrive in the community.
Weld: Have other restaurants in Birmingham followed your lead?
DeJonge: I am not sure if we have been an influence on others who do it. I have seen other restaurants do it, like Slice, and I know Whole Foods has a percentage day for non-profits too. So we are not the only ones.
Weld: What’s the most fun 10 percent night you can remember?
DeJonge: I think the Hand in Paw is fun because everyone brings their dogs to it, and we even had some goats one year. The Southern Environmental Center is fun because they bring an item from their garden like Rosemary and we make a special drink with it.
Weld: What do you want people to know about what you do or what you have planned?
DeJonge: We would like people to know that we do this almost every Tuesday. We post all of our 10% Tuesday events and other events on our calendar at www.rojobirmingham.com or you can sign up there to be on our email list. Sometimes we don’t do the 10% Tuesday on the first Tuesday of the month if we are expecting a large crowd for our Sidewalk Salon (we host Sidewalk Film Festival on the 1stTuesday of the month)
Rojo is located at 2921 Highland Ave. The restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to midnight. For more information, including Rojo’s calendar of events visit rojobirmingham.com.