Rojo Gusano's Ravenswood location recently reopened with a brand new, full service bar.

RAVENSWOOD — Rojo Gusano’s Ravenswood location recently reopened with a brand new, full service bar.

The restaurant at 4217 N. Ravenswood Ave. began remodeling last fall and quietly reopened a few weeks ago. In addition to the new full bar, the restaurant added cozy couches in a seating area where customers can relax over craft cocktails and appetizers with friends.

“The big change is booze. The Ravenswood location was originally zoned in a way where they could serve alcohol during private party events but couldn’t sell to customers,” said Mike Foran, a spokesperson for Rojo. “They were doing the BYOB thing. But Rojo’s Albany Park location is noted for doing all of these wild cocktails. And unfortunately in Ravenswood they couldn’t do that.”

(L) Mezcalada — Mezcal, cucumber and lime juice, chili powder, served with chili rim (R) Mezcalita — Mezcal, lime juice, agave nectar, served with chili rim Credit: Image courtesy Rojo Gusano

When Rojo’s owners initially opened their Ravenswood location, Foran says they inherited a series of private events that they were happy to honor. And while they liked knowing they had brand new steady business thanks to these private events, it did put their plans to remodel on hold.

“What made it problematic was trying to function as a restaurant on days that events weren’t booked. It was tricky, scheduling-wise,” Foran said. “But once they honored all the previous commitments for parties they went in to put their own spin decorating-wise and got the liquor license ready to go.”

The new Ravenswood location’s menu is similar to Rojo’s flagship restaurant in Albany Park, offering a global-fusion spin on Latin American street food. These include appetizers like ceviche mixto, empanadas, and a variety of creamy salsas and guacamoles served with homemade tortilla chips.

The menu also includes Rojo’s signature Korean Beef BBQ taco —a mash-up the features skirt steak marinated in bulgogi, with kimchi slaw and cilantro.

Charred Butternut Squash Taco with roasted kale and queso fresco. Credit: Image courtesy Rojo Gusano.

“The most popular guacamole they serve is one with spicy pumpkin seeds,” Foran said. “They take fresh pineapple and cut it into chunks and caramelize it with chipotle peppers. Then they mix it in the guacamole and it’s topped with those spicy toasted pumpkin seeds.”

Another item is charred butternut squash taco, which has roasted kale and queso fresco and will only be served at the restaurant’s location in Ravenswood.

Rojo’s new hours are Sunday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from  5 p.m. to 11p.m. The full menu can be found below.

Credit: Image courtesy Rojo Gusano.

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