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The Story of Leoncito, Las Vegas’ Must-Visit Restaurant

The Story of Leoncito, Las Vegas’ Must-Visit Restaurant

Leoncito at Red Rock Casino, Resort & Spa masterfully merges contemporary design with classic elements, resulting in an ambiance that’s both welcoming and sophisticated. At the helm, Nick Mathers, Owner of Wish You Were Here Group, has actualized his vision of an environment reminiscent of traditional family gatherings, where tales are shared, and a passion for culinary delights brings everyone closer. 

“Part of my wife’s family is from Mexico, and my son’s name is Leon; his nickname is Leoncito,” Mathers told us. “So it was in honor of their roots and inspired by the countless trips I have taken on my own and with the family throughout Mexico. It served as a home away from home for me. Not just the beaches, but the big cities too. The people of Mexico are always so friendly and welcoming, it reminds me of my own roots in Australia. So we still have a touch of our culture mixed with the tradition and authenticity of Mexican food and culture.”

Exploring the Culinary Delight of Leoncito in Las Vegas

Upon stepping into Leoncito, patrons are enveloped in a lively and exotic atmosphere, where splashes of green and terracotta evoke a distinctly Mexican flair. The interior showcases a magnificent dining area, beautifully accentuated with bespoke tapestries, setting the scene for an extraordinary dining adventure. Amidst this beautiful setting, guests find solace in the serene combination of lush plant life and meticulously chosen decor, which brilliantly fuses contemporary style with genuine authenticity.

(Courtesy Leoncito)
(Courtesy Leoncito)

“Leoncito is our love letter to Mexico, and we wanted to reflect that in the restaurant’s design,” Julien Calella, VP of Beverage for Wish You Were Here Group, explained. “Set upon a backdrop of terracotta and green, the restaurant’s backdrop is reminiscent of the lush greenery and earthy tones found throughout the region. Inside, hand-woven tapestries and chandeliers crafted by renowned Mexican textile designer Mariella Motilla can be found all throughout the dining room, adding a distinctive, organic touch to the restaurant’s sleek, modern design. Every detail is carefully considered, even down to the tableware, which features genuine Oaxacan pottery created with the same methods that have been used in the region for hundreds of years.”

However, the allure of Leoncito extends beyond its captivating decor to its culinary excellence. The menu offers a modern interpretation of classic Mexican cuisine, promising to enchant every diner with its fresh flavors. Crafted from the freshest ingredients, each dish embodies the heart of traditional Mexican cooking, while innovative cocktails, made from scratch, elevate the dining experience. 

“Leoncito’s menu is a celebration of Mexican culture inspired by multiple regions throughout the country, including Yucatan, Mexico City, Baja, Oaxaca and Zihuatanejo,” Calella told us. “Rather than reinventing the wheel, we wanted to incorporate our own contemporary touch while remaining faithful to the traditional flavors and cooking styles of the region. The menu will feature thoughtful recreations of classic Mexican favorites like tacos, burritos, ceviche, quesadillas and more alongside larger, shareable plates, all served alongside our house-made, blue corn tortillas.”

With an impressive selection of tequilas and mezcals, Leoncito caters to aficionados and novices alike. “Having an extensive cocktail program has been a cornerstone of every Wish You Were Here restaurant concept, and Leoncito is no different,” Calella said of Leoncito’s beverage program. “Agave based spirits and Mexican cuisine are a match made in heaven and we wanted our guests to experience the full spectrum of flavors that make it such a winning combination. Whether it’s sweet, spicy or anything in between, we want guests to sample the unique flavor profiles of each of our over 200 unique varieties of mezcal and tequilas to find the perfect match for their tastes.”

Leoncito presents the perfect backdrop for any occasion, from intimate dinners and casual outings with friends to celebratory gatherings. Its outdoor patio, complete with cozy seating, fire pits, and vibrant greenery, offers a distinct alfresco Mexican dining experience available throughout the year. “Leoncito is ultimately a reflection of our love affair with the country,” Calella explained. “We believe in the importance of paying homage to traditional recipes, techniques and culture, and we try to show that in our food. The restaurant refuses to take any shortcuts and continues to hand make every tortilla, sauce and salsa from scratch, just like you would find in a familial kitchen.”

(Courtesy Leoncito)
(Courtesy Leoncito)
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