Downtown has a lot of things going for it right now. But despite the area’s profusion of hip watering holes, dining is still a challenge. Come spring, the Fremont East entertainment district will have a place for authentic Mexican cuisine, as presented by nightlife and restaurant impresario Michael Morton. Opening in March, La Comida (named for the family meal cooks eat communally before service) takes over 106 Sixth St., 3,000 square feet abutting the recently opened Commonwealth cocktail bar, and sharing that venue’s history as a former El Cortez laundry facility. Guests enter from the alley, dining either at the 25-foot cocktail bar below restored church windows; in the dining room filled with found and reclaimed objects and with an open kitchen below a Dia de Los Muertos offrenda, or on sidewalk tables. There will even be a window on Sixth Street with stools that belly right up to the bar. “It’s got good bones,” says Morton, who also owns La Cave Wine & Food Hideaway in Wynn.
“La Comida is a place where we want to hang out,” reads an informal mission statement by Morton and his wife, Jenna. “We have incredible memories of dinners with friends both in Mexico and here, when the combination of the flavors, the music, the camaraderie and, of course, the tequila made for the perfect feeling. We want to re-create that moment for everyone. That is La Comida.” Why downtown and why now?
A little more from co-owners Michael and Jenna Morton:
What’s in a name?
“In the restaurant industry comida is the meal that is shared by team members. We also call it “family meal.” The name evokes a togetherness and common experience. Sometimes comida is from the menu, sometimes the chefs get creative, and sometimes it is just like your mother’s leftovers. The name fits perfectly with our downtown Las Vegas project because camaraderie is the main ingredient on our menu. The word comida instantly speaks to us, and we want it to take on the same comfort and enjoyment in the broader community.”
Downtown’s the place
“For us, La Comida belongs downtown, because it feels like coming home. Our first venues were in downtown Chicago in a neighborhood that was on the verge of rebirth. It was a bit gritty and had incredible energy. That is the same vibe in downtown Las Vegas right now.”
On the plate
“Who doesn’t love Mexican? Street corn, tacos, fresh avocados … We take the food we all know and love to do it a little bit differently, using the freshest ingredients, simply prepared. [That’s] not to say that it is that simple; there is also a complexity and richness to Mexican food makes it appealing to the connoisseur, as well as the comfort-seeker. La Comida evokes the bits of Mexican culture we love—the colorful lively energy combined with revolutionary spirit.”