Ricardo’s Mexican Restaurant may be no longer, but its sign will live on.
Bob Ansara, who owned Ricardo’s at its various Southern Nevada locations over 40 years, said he recently watched as a crew worked at the building at Flamingo Road and Decatur Boulevard.
“I was looking at them taking the sign down — wistfully — and I thought, ‘It’s too big for me to take home,’ ” he said.
And then a thought struck him.
“I called a friend of mine who was instrumental in starting the Neon Museum,” Ansara said. “Is 40 years enough? Is it enough of a relic or enough of a brand?”
The friend, Bill Marion, said he would make the relevant inquiries. And then Ansara heard from Emily Fellmer, collections specialist at the museum.
“She surprisingly called me and said, ‘We would love to have it,’ ” he said. “Her response was so sweet, and it was actually kind of amazing to me, because I didn’t think of it as a potential.”
One of the letters needed to be repaired, so Ansara sent it to DHS Signs for refurbishment. Dawn Merritt, vice president and chief marketing officer at the museum, said the sign will be housed at the warehouse on Bonanza Road and be viewable during special events. She said the museum doesn’t have many signs from restaurants.
“We were obviously very happy to get it,” Merritt said. “It’s representative of a business that had been in Las Vegas for 40 years. This is the first sign that we received due to COVID-19.” Ansara had said the pandemic shutdown, ensuing business restrictions and a number of other factors were behind his decision to close.
“It’s a small thing,” Ansara said. “But it’s kind of a big thing, emotional legacy-wise. I’ll be excited to go and see it amid the big boys and girls. It’s a nice positive in the midst of some negatives.”