Our Family Legacy
It all started in Tijuana, Mexico. Rafael, Sr. and Maria Vega worked at the famous resort, Aqua Caliente. Rafael’s brother, Alejandro Vega, was a merchant seaman that bought a Irish Lottery ticket while on the Rock of Gibraltor. He won. In the 1930’s with a loan from his brother, Rafael Sr., Maria with young Ray in tow, immigrated to the United States with dreams of owning a Mexican restaurant in Los Angeles.
Rafael, Sr. and Maria opened Rafael, Sr. and Maria opened Cafe Caliente in the 1930’s on historic Olvera Street in DTLA. Young Ray Vega grew up at his parents’ restaurant and was immersed in the hospitality industry. Cafe Caliente was a dinner and dance club. The Vega women danced, sang and helped mariachis entertain the crowds while helping run the day-to-day operations of the restaurant. Rafael Sr. taught Ray how to operate a kitchen, how to tend a bar, how to keep customers happy and the importance of good business knowledge.
Following in his family’s footsteps, Rafael “Ray” Vega brought Mexican food to Ventura Blvd in 1956 when he opened Casa Vega. Ray brought all the family recipes from Cafe Caliente to Casa Vega. With the help of his parents and Aunt Francis, the family trained the bartenders and implemented the family favorites. 65 years later, Casa Vega has become an institution and legendary Los Angeles landmark. Casa Vega was recently immortalized in Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon A Time in Hollywood”. Ray passed away January 2021.
Today the Vega Family keeps the family legacy alive with Christina Vega at the helm. Christina worked side-by-side with her father for over 15 years. Nothing made Ray prouder than knowing his family legacy would continue.