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Roxanne’s owner Robert Molina—along with his genuinely warm and loving co-owner, his mother Mirna—has always had two very admirable characteristics: A love of and pride for his Salvadorian heritage—one that very much extends into his appreciation for Long Beach and his business’s neighborhood, Cal Heights—and a deep sense of humbleness.

The latter characteristic has led to Roxanne’s (and his two offshoot businesses, the speakeasy that is the Exhibition Room and his spirits distilling operation known as Willie’s Tin Shop) having a more organic sense of growth and a bit of a dependence on self-advertising via its patrons more than traditional marketing.

Molina has, for the most part, let his businesses and his patrons speak for the business itself—and with that, has created a tiny but loyal following that should be, in all frankness, very much larger. (When I say “tiny,” I don’t mean that as jab; Roxanne’s devotees have kept it alive for over a decade.)

The former one, that love of his heritage, has meant that the food of Roxanne’s has always had heavy touches of El Salvador—mixed with flavors and cuisines ranging from Mexico to the good ol’ U.S.-of-A.—but has been often overshadowed by Molina’s more unique offerings, like great cocktails and an even greater speakeasy.

And the two together—pride and humbleness—have led me to a very genuine question about the Cal Heights staple: Why don’t we talk about Roxanne’s more? Is it because Molina tends to keep his ego grounded, let the business speak for itself? Is it because the alcohol has overshadowed everything else because, well, who doesn’t love a good cocktail?

So go get your food and drink on.

Photos by Brian Addison

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