Mexican restaurant, one of the six winners of America’s Classics Award 2022

The America's Classics Award is given to locally owned restaurants with timeless appeal and that are loved for their quality food.

The America’s Classics Award is given to locally owned restaurants with timeless appeal and that are loved for their quality food.

Photo: Los Muertos Crew / Pexels

The James Beard Foundation has just released its list of six 2022 America’s Classics Award-winning restaurants. Among the honored restaurants the Mexican restaurant Casa Vega stands out, located in the San Fernando Valley of California.

Recognition at the 2022 America’s Classics Award goes to locally owned restaurants that have timeless appeal and are loved in the region for their quality food that reflects the character of their community.

Vega House | Sherman Oaks, Calif.

Casa Vega is a family business of 66 years, one of the oldest family restaurants in the entire Los Angeles metropolitan area. Some restaurant employees have worked there for more than 40 years or more.

The James Beard Foundation says that Casa Vega helped popularize Mexican food in the San Fernando Valley. “Countless diners discovered meatballs, enchiladas, sweet corn tamales and tostadas in the tufted red leather booths.”

Casa Vega received a lot of attention recently for being featured in Quentin Tarantino’s movie “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”.. The classic diner where Cliff (Pitt) and Rick (DiCaprio) meet and sit at table 5.

The Mexican restaurant is a place where customers feel at home and that supports the Latin American community in Los Angeles and other regions, partnering with organizations such as No Us Without You, a non-profit organization that provides support to workers undocumented hoteliers.

Casa Vega shares that its founder, Rafael “Ray” Vega, originally from Tijuana, opened the restaurant in 1956, inspired by the success of his parents’ previous restaurant, Café Caliente, which operated on Olvera Street during the 1930s.

Ray brought the family recipes from Café Caliente to Casa Vega. With the help of their parents and Aunt Francis, the family trained bartenders and implemented family favorites. Ray passed away in 2021 due to complications due to COVID-19, since 2012 it is his daughter Christina “Christy” Vega who is in charge of Casa Vega.

The other five America’s Classics Award 2022 winners are:

Corinne’s Place | Camden, NJ
Owner: Corinne Bradley-Powers

Solly Grid | Milwaukee, WI
Owner: Glenn Fever

Wo Hop |New York, NY
Owners: Huang Family

Busy Bee’s Coffee | Atlanta Georgia
Owner: Tracy Gates

The awards ceremony to be presented by the James Beard Foundation will be held on Monday June 13 Lyric Opera of Chicago.

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