What do iconic rocker Sammy Hagar and Bronx, N.Y., native Jason Villafaña have in common? They both share a passion for Cabo Wabo Cantina inside Miracle Mile Shops. While the rocker owns the Stripside hot spot, Villafaña runs the joint as the general manager. “I moved out (to Vegas) to be exactly where I am now,” Villafaña said. “It all led up to this point.”

Villafaña remembers working in neighborhood pizzerias at age 13. From there, he fell in love with the industry. “Everything I do revolves around food and people,” he said. “It’s become a lifestyle. It’s not work; it’s not about money. It’s about quality of life and enjoying what you do.”

Villafaña has held positions in the kitchen, behind the bar and in management. He attended culinary school in New York and spent some time working in Miami. Since moving here in 2000, Villafaña has worked alongside Michelin-starred chefs at some of Vegas’ most exclusive restaurants. Then he heard about the Cabo Wabo brand, and joined the restaurant in 2013. “I knew that’s where I wanted to be, needed to be.”

And Villafaña’s thoughts about the owner who started the dream? “Sammy’s a friend. He’s a very generous person. He’ll be in the kitchen cooking; he’ll jump behind the bar and make drinks; he’ll teach you how to play guitar,” Villafaña said. “He’s an amazing person, and me and everyone here appreciate what he’s done, for all of us.”

Sammy’s Toasted Colada

Besides the Cabo Wabo tequila that Sammy Hagar is known for, the rocker has also created a line of rums—Sammy’s Beach Bar rums. The spirit is made on the Hawaiian island of Maui, sourced from Maui gold sugarcane. Two different rums—one white and one red infused with macadamia nuts—can be enjoyed neat or mixed into one of Cabo Wabo’s specialty cocktails like Sammy’s Toasted Colada. The delicious cocktail mixes Beach Bar rum with Coco Lopez and fresh pineapple juice, and is served on the rocks with a toasted coconut, agave and honey rim. “Once you have a sip you’ll say, ‘Now I’m on vacation,’”

Villafaña said.