Nessa’s Cafe- Rising from the Ashes And How You Can Help


written by Justin Adkins

A single moment can be all it takes to turn life upside down. Everyone in Las Cruces has experienced that life-shifting moment at least once already this year. Where were you when the world around you suddenly shut down?

Vanessa Smith, a local mom, wife, and owner of Nessa’s Café at 901 West Picacho, has experienced not one of those moments now, but two. First, like every other business owner in Las Cruces and the Mesilla Valley, Vanessa was faced with finding ways to keep her business operating in the wake of the COVID-19 shutdowns. Fast forward to just after 10 pm the night of Saturday, September 5th when a small fire in the kitchen of Nessa’s Café brought everything in Vanessa’s world to a dramatic, siren-filled halt.

According to a news release from the City of Las Cruces posted Tuesday, “First-arriving crews could see smoke showing from the windows and a gable vent.” The statement goes on to say, “Firefighters quickly extinguished the fire and contained it to the area of the stove in the restaurant’s kitchen. The building received some smoke damage. No injuries were reported.” As of this posting, the fire remains under investigation.

If you’ve been following along with the Las Cruces Today Community Spotlights, you might remember Vanessa and her little, yellow building when she spent a few minutes talking with Jack Lutz and Las Cruces Today.

After four years of navigating her restaurant through the ups and downs of owning a small business and then all the unprecedented challenges brought on by the COVID Pandemic, Vanessa finds herself feeling like the wind has been knocked out of her. “It’s all very devastating and overwhelming,” she said when asked about the situation.

Vanessa’s doing her best to keep her head up and stay optimistic about the days and weeks to come. “I’m sooooo grateful to my community for all the positivity and support! …I wouldn’t know what to do without all my regulars, friends, and family. You guys are what’s helping me get through this nightmare!”

A GoFundMe account has been set up to help Vanessa and her family cover some of the clean-up costs and get back to serving the community she loves. If you’d like to help by donating to Nessa’s Café, visit the GoFundMe account at