Rafael “Ray” Vega, founder of San Fernando Valley’s iconic Mexican restaurant Casa Vega, passed away. The Vega family announced his death on social media Monday, saying he “passed away peacefully” on Sunday, January 10. He was 86.
The elder Vega arrived to Los Angeles as a child, born to parents from Tijuana, Mexico. The family first opened a restaurant on historic Olvera Street in Downtown LA, before Ray Vega (in his early 20s) embarked on opening Casa Vega on Ventura Boulevard in Sherman Oaks in 1956.
The restaurant has become a Los Angeles popular legend since then, known for its margaritas, warm tortilla chips, and lots of Mexican-American heart.
The restaurant is now run by daughter Christy Vega.
Casa Vega has been closed since mid-December as a result of the ongoing pandemic, with the restaurant website saying that the business will remain closed until outdoor or indoor dining is once again allowed in Los Angeles County.
The temporary closure notice further reads: “We are an institution and not going anywhere. Unfortunately, we cannot count on our government to help small businesses, so we must protect ourselves until we can rise again and do what we do best- serving customers at our tables & bar.”
The full announcement of Ray Vega’s death can be seen on the Casa Vega restaurant Instagram page. He will be missed.