We believe it’s not just about the destination, it’s about the journey, the ideas, the learning, the travel and most importantly the people you meet along the way. Everyone we have met has their own story to tell, this is ours so far…
The spark of realisation
Have you ever wondered what it would take to have a “Wouldn’t it be cool if…” conversation come to fruition? Ojo Rojo is the result of a conversation that started exactly as that. Around April 2013, sitting in a Mexican ‘restaurant’ in the local’s quarter of Playa Del Carmen, a visiting friend mentioned that the food we were eating was something that Bournemouth sorely lacked. That single sentence spawned a series of thoughts that ended up leading to the Ojo Rojo that will be hitting our quaint little seaside town in Spring 2016.
The voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands, but in seeking with new eyes.
Letting curiosity roam unleashed
I had, at this point, been living in East Mexico for six-seven months and wasn’t actually looking for a new project or company to start, especially one back in England, but this is where that little speculative conversation directed me. I had decided to do some travelling and had begun circling through Belize and Guatemala before I stumbled across a bar/restaurant in the small town of Antigua (which happens to have its own amazing Mezcal origin story) which secured the idea of what I wanted to accomplish with my own venue back in England. I contacted the only person in Bournemouth that I thought could make it work and pitched the idea to him. He loved it. So, after a few more months travelling round Guatemala and eventually Mexico again, gathering ideas and research, I returned home to start things in motion.
Exploring a brand new perspective
Upon my return, JJ (my partner in tacos) had found the perfect venue and was keen on developing the idea. Little did we know that from this point, it would take nearly two years in prepping, recruiting, planning and dealing with legal red tape. During that time we continued talking to experts, testing recipes, researching the food and drink we wanted to showcase (a tough job, but someone had to do it) and working through the values that would make us unique. The final result has culminated into something we are both very proud of; a unique spin on the Mexican cuisine, merging popular dining experiences and global flavours. The balance is just right, enabling tasty vegan dishes in a modern food establishment, and allowing a healthy ethos to exist within a venue that also welcomes and accepts the world of alcohol. We worked with RT Media who helped create our branding, ultimately personifying our idea. They really brought it to life and enabled us to put a face and personality to the name we had been conceptually talking about for so long.
The stuff dreams are made of
The name ‘Ojo Rojo’ was chosen for two reasons. Firstly, it is a saying that exists in parts of Mexico that really summed up what we were trying to accomplish. It alludes to the spicy food, late nights and hung-over mornings, but the phrase is also used to express living life to the fullest. That feeling of being tired and drained, but excited and accomplished. The experience we wanted people to have at Ojo Rojo would bring you back to life and refresh the body and mind, ready to do it all over again.
The second reason we chose it was (prepare for clichéd, ridiculous but true reason) that it came to me in a dream. I woke one day after having had several weeks of stewing over the idea and it hit me. Mainly due to how it rolled off the tongue, but also because of its aforementioned qualities. After that we wrestled with whether there were better names and if people would get it, or if the argument over a right and wrong way to pronounce it would put people off rather than attract them. In the end, we decided to own it. To just say: “this is our name, this is us”. The pronunciation was altered to accommodate the British tongue and we owned the raspy ‘h’ sound of a ‘j’ in Latin Spanish by reducing it to a simple ‘k’ (the final name being pronounced Ock-o Rock-o). We liked this, after all, our recipes and food were not traditional so why did the sound of the Spanish words we were using to label it have to be? We are sure there will be many discussions over the ‘correct way’ to say the name, but, it is our name and we are proud of it.
The Rojo family
There are so many people who we would like to thank, who helped get the project off the ground that it would not be possible on this page. Those who picked up a paint brush, those who spread the word, those who supported us emotionally, spiritually and sometimes physically, and even those who said things that at the time, they probably weren’t even aware of the profound effect it would have on us. We thank you all. It wouldn’t have happened without you. Ojo Rojo has grown from so much time, affection and passion from so many people and J and I feel proud that the Rojo family is so large.
We have brought something to Bournemouth that is new, unique, exciting and invigorating, incorporating features and styles that will inject a new life to Bournemouth’s already lively night and food scene. We look forward to seeing you come through the doors to enjoy our Tacos and Mezcal.
Stop existing, start living. Feed Your Spirit.
Wherever you go, go with all your heart. Do it with passion, do it without regret, do it with warmth and soul, or simply don’t do it at all.