Meet Daniel Rojo, owner of Rojo’s Mexican Food in Pioneer Square. 

Rojo’s is a plant-based Mexican restaurant serving up a flavorful menu of tacos, burritos, tortas and more. Since starting as a pop-up back in 2022, they have been operating their vegan taqueria in Pioneer Square since 2023 and have been a welcome addition to the vegan options in Seattle. 

Learn more about Daniel and Rojo’s Mexican Food in this week’s small business spotlight!

This interview has been edited for length and clarity. 

Tell us a little about the story behind Rojo’s Mexican Food and your inspiration? 

A long time ago, I started working in a restaurant, and I learned that I really liked it! And I love cooking, even in my free time. Eventually, I started getting the urge to start my own business, work for myself, and build something myself, so I combined the two and started working on recipes.

I’ve been vegetarian for a long time. I saw a gap in the market around here for the type of vegetarian and vegan Mexican food that I like to eat – more authentic taqueria-style Mexican food. 

So, I thought if anybody could start it, why not me?

Source: Instagram @RojosMexicanFood

What has the response from the community been to a plant-based Mexican taqueria? 

It’s been really good! There’s obviously a vegan scene around here and the vegans and vegetarians are all really supportive of having a new option in town. It’s been really great.

And apart from that, there are a lot of supportive people in Pioneer Square and downtown. They love having more options like us around, and we’ve felt the support.

How did you get started? 

Before the restaurant, we had a pop-up. We were doing pop-ups for over a year. We were at Pike Place and the South Lake Union Farmers Market. Before that, I was working in a seafood restaurant and then working on the business on the side during the pandemic. 

What has your first year of business in Pioneer Square been like? 

A lot of learning in the first year – I wanted to spend the first year learning how to run my business in the best way and hiring the best help I could find – we have a great team here. The second year will be all about implementing what we learned!

What are you proud of? 

Something I take pride in is that we actually don’t have any employees who eat a fully plant-based diet – no vegans work here! I don’t necessarily make it just for vegans or vegetarians – it’s for anyone who enjoys good food. I think that our food speaks for itself in terms of how it tastes.

Source: Instagram @rojosmexicanfood

Tell us about what has inspired you as you developed the menu?

I am inspired by the food I grew up eating and seeing in the taquerias that my family would go to. I was a big burrito eater, and so I spent a lot of time developing the burritos. We have seasonal options like strawberry horchata when it’s strawberry season, cucumber lime aqua fresca when it’s cucumber season. More hot items in the winter like tamales and champurrado – whatever I’m in the mood for. 

My two sisters were vegetarian before me, and then we got our mom into it. Also growing up in the hardcore punk scene, I had plenty of friends who were vegan/vegetarian. The bands talk about veganism and animal rights all the time. It was kind of a normal thing for me. I wasn’t ever afraid of trying vegan or vegetarian food. 

Honestly, when I was testing the recipes and developing the flavors, I tried to have more meat-eaters try the food so they could tell me if it was good. I’m pretty picky with vegan food, so I was trying to make something that I would enjoy, and that meat eaters would enjoy. 

The food I make, it’s for everybody – I want everybody to enjoy it. 

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