Stephen Simon, the general manager of the Birmingham location of Rojo Mexican Bistro and adjacent restaurant Sidecar, was unanimously approved for an ownership change at the Birmingham city commission meeting on Monday, December 4.
Commissioners approved a resolution approving the special land use permit amendment and final site plan to allow for the sale of Rojo and Sidecar, which offers gourmet sliders, located at 250 and 280 E. Merrill in Birmingham, from Rojo Five, LLC to Sidecar Birmingham LLC, by a vote of 6-0, with commissioner Stuart Sherman recusing himself.
Planning director Jana Ecker explained there were no planned changes to the name, site or design of the two restaurants, and that it was simply an ownership change, which by Birmingham ordinance, must come before the commission for approval.
Rojo, which once had four locations in metro Detroit, has been in bankruptcy proceedings. The Rochester and Sterling Heights locations have closed; with the sale of Birmingham, only Novi will remain with the former ownership group.
Simon told commissioners he has been with Rojo since its inception about 10 years ago, and general manager in Birmingham for the last four years; he has been with Sidecar for two years, since its inception, he said.
“The Birmingham location has been doing good, not great,” Simon said. “Sidecar has helped, making it profitable. I’m not looking to make changes, just some menu additions.”
“It’s basically a transfer of ownership, and it’s in the best interest of the city to not have it in bankruptcy,” said commissioner Carroll DeWeese.