La Vecindad Cantina holds a ribbon cutting ceremony for its new location

Clark County Commissioner Tick Segerblom attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony and gave Raúl Martínez and Vanessa Barreat the key to the Las Vegas Strip. On Thursday, Mar. 14, 2024 at the Historic Commercial Center District located on Sahara Avenue and Maryland Parkway. (Frank Alejandre / The Nevadan / El Nevadense)

By Frank Alejandre

March 18, 2024
La Vecindad Cantina 2

La Vecindad held a grand opening celebration for its newest location at the Historic Commercial Center District on Sahara Avenue. (Frank Alejandre / The Nevadan / El Nevadense)

La Vecindad Cantina 5

La Vecindad Cantina held a grand opening celebration for its newest location at the Historic Commercial Center District on Sahara Avenue. (Frank Alejandre / The Nevadan / El Nevadense)

Community members and dignitaries celebrated the grand opening of a new locally-owned Mexican cantina on Thursday, Mar. 14, 2024. La Vecindad Cantina is located in the Historic Commercial Center District on Sahara Avenue.

LA VECINDAD® Pico de Gallo started as a small business venture from owners Raúl Martínez and Vanessa Barreat at a Swap Meet back in 2016. Martínez is originally from Mexico City and Barreat is from Venezuela.

Two years later, they opened their first La Vecindad location in a shopping center, but they had to close their doors because of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. They managed to reopen and secured the location at the Commercial Center District last year.

Las Vegas City Councilwoman Olivia Díaz and Clark County Commissioner Tick Segerblom attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony and a mariachi band serenaded people as they dined inside.

Speaking before the event, Barreat was emotional as she talked about wanting to create an experience for people as they visited La Vecindad Cantina.

The neighborhood Mexican restaurant is branching out with La Vecindad Cantina

According to a post from La Vecindad’s social media channels, their story began in 2016 with Raúl Martínez and Vanessa Barreat’s passion for Mexican cuisine. Starting as a food stand, they eventually opened their first restaurant location in 2018, sharing the Mexican culture through food. 

Initially their first business was named Pico de Gallo, but in 2020 they received a letter from a wine company in California, Gallo’s Winery.  The letter notified them that Gallo’s Winery would be monitoring them since the name was part of their brand and Pico de Gallo’s name belonged to a restaurant in San Antonio, Texas since 1983. Since the restaurant was decorated like a Mexican neighborhood and it turned out to be available at the United States Patent and Trademark Office, USPTO, they managed to register it as LA VECINDAD® but kept Pico de Gallo as a subtitle in honor of its beginnings. 

The concept of LA VECINDAD® Pico de Gallo is inspired by the traditional neighborhoods of Mexico, where neighbors get to know each other and share moments of joy around delicious food. Raúl and Vanessa aim to create a space that captures the taste and essence of Mexican community life. 

The restaurant thrived, praised for its authenticity and community spirit. Despite challenges like COVID-19, they persevered, expanding and gaining recognition, including being featured on The Food Network, voted Best of Las Vegas for four years in a row, and were one of the more than 200 local small businesses that were Official Suppliers of Superbowl LVIII held this year in Las Vegas. They also have their own beer, LA VECINDAD® BEER.

LA VECINDAD® now employs over 40 employees and continues to be a beloved spot for authentic Mexican dining experiences in Las Vegas. In 2023, Vanessa and Raul managed to make one of their dreams come true, buying the location where LA VECINDAD® CANTINA just opened their doors. 

LA VECINDAD® Pico de Gallo has become a meeting place for the local community and visitors seeking an authentic and comforting experience.

  • Frank Alejandre

    Frank Alejandre is the Community Editor of The Nevadan / El Nevadense. He graduated from the National Autonomous University of México (UNAM) with a degree in Civil Engineering. He has worked in journalism since 1990, first at El Mundo Newspaper, the first Spanish-language weekly publication in southern Nevada, and then at the Las Vegas Review-Journal, where he helped the RJ transition its Spanish language publication El Tiempo newspaper to the Las Vegas Review-Journal en Español.

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