LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — 8 News Now is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month by sharing stories of notable people in southern Nevada. Lorena Garcia is the first Latina chef to open up a restaurant on the Las Vegas Strip. It’s called ‘Chica’, and it’s at the Venetian.
Originally born in Caracas, Venezuela, Garcia, who also owns several other restaurants in the United States, has authored a cookbook, and she has a line of kitchenware.
“I am a passionate Latina,” Garcia said.
As a child, she says cooking was always fascinating to her.
“One day I said ok this is time for me to do all these efforts for a business that I want to create that actually speaks to the Latin community in the United States,” said Garcia.
As a businesswoman and entrepreneur, Garcia says it was time to give back to the country that has given her so much.
“Fresh, modern, Latin. I love to take the tradition of what it is Latin cuisine and bring it to today’s age,” she said. “My baby is ‘Chica.’ It’s the restaurant I have always dreamed of. It’s the clebration of Latin America.
‘Chica’ opened at the Venetian in 2017. The second ‘Chica’ restaurant opened in her home town of Miami, Florida.
“I wanted to represent who I am; I am a Venezuelan that came into this country, and now I have the influences of Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Mexico. I mean I’ve traveled all over the world in the Latin American countries to really capture the essence,” Garcia said.
Garcia says, at ‘Chica’, everything is made from scratch. She says she strives to bring Latin cuisine to the highest level, all while still keeping it approachable.
“When you walk into ‘Chica’ it’s almost like you’re walking into my backyard,” Garcia said. “You have the applications of the iron that actually represent the balconies in Latin America.
“The decor is beautiful; it’s almost like my home, what I want my home to look like,” said Megan Nicole Bakey, a guest at ‘Chica.’
From appetizers to bigger portions like chicken and waffles to croquetas — even fried fish — there is something for everyone at ‘Chicas.’
Lorena Garcia has three other restaurants, and they’re called ‘Cocina,’ which is a venture that she has with HMS Host Partners. The company runs most of the airport restaurants in the country.
They’re at the airports in Dallas, Atlanta, and Miami.