“I love what I do—I get to sit around and smoke cigars and talk to people.” This is Michael Abdoulah talking as he surveys the smoking lounge on opening night of En Fuego, his new cigar store in Henderson. A jolly, friendly crowd of cigar enthusiasts assembled to feast on food from local restaurants, enjoy some live music, and watch master cigar roller “Don” Antonio turn out hand-crafted cigars on the spot. Mostly, though, they were there to follow Michael’s lead—to smoke and talk. Opening day celebrations began at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, December 4 at 790 Coronado Center Drive in Henderson. They were still going strong far into the night.
Michael Abdoulah has lived in Las Vegas for more than 22 years, and he’s been a cigar smoker for 18. Prior to owning En Fuego Cigars, he owned a custom logo embroidery business. He found that most days, he’d try to leave his office as early as he could so he could go to a cigar lounge to smoke and hang with friends. When he purchased the Don Yeyo Cigar Factory on Sahara in February 2012, he united his passion for cigars with business. Employing two full-time cigar rollers, the newly named En Fuego Cigars began to create a well-respected niche in the cigar production world.
JJ Williams, who’s originally from Pasadena, California, is the manager of the new En Fuego Cigars Henderson smoking lounge. JJ shares Michael’s passion for creating an exceptional place where cigar aficionados can “come and get away from it all and relax among friends.” The big brown leather club chairs are comfortable, and the staff is welcoming and knowledgeable. An atmosphere of friendship prevails. JJ hosts a weekly poker game in the lounge where the currency in the pot is cigars instead of dollars. Unlike other local cigar lounges, “We are open earlier, open later, and even open on Sundays,” JJ says. On weekdays, the Henderson En Fuego Cigars store opens at 9:00 am and closes at 10:00 pm. It’s open longer on Friday and Saturday. Click here for current hours and info and news about special events on their Facebook page.
Master cigar roller, Don Antonio Martinez, originally from the Dominican Republic, is one of two En Fuego cigar rollers. Michael estimates that over the course of their careers, these two cigar makers have rolled well over a million cigars. They can each produce about 200 cigars in an eight-hour shift. Visitors to the En Fuego Cigars Las Vegas location on Sahara are welcome to watch the two rollers as they work. On opening night in Henderson, Don Antonio rolled custom cigars for attendees made from tobacco from the Caribbean and Africa.
Because there is no middle man or distributor for En Fuego Cigars, the pricing is about half what one would expect to spend for very smooth, sophisticated smokes. As Michael says, “we’ve got something different here.” Having tasted two different En Fuego smokes so far, I have to agree, and the “different” is “excellent.”
At the back of the Henderson store is a wall of personal lockers that back up to the climate-controlled walk-in humidor. Customers can rent these lockers and keep their cigars at the lounge, confident that they’re being stored at perfect moisture levels. The locker rental fee is offset by generous monthly store credits. There are thirty lockers. By the look of things on opening day, there will soon be a waiting list to rent one.
These days, Michael works more than nine hours a day, six days a week, and loves nearly every moment of it. Although the Henderson lounge doesn’t serve alcohol or food, they do serve coffee. Patrons are welcome to bring their own food or drink in. Surrounding businesses include a pub and a sushi restaurant, so this option is easy and convenient.
More than 200 appreciative customers packed the new lounge on Friday, thrilled that En Fuego has taken up residence in Henderson. With such a throng all enjoying cigars, you might think the air inside was opaque with smoke. It wasn’t. In addition to a great social atmosphere, En Fuego has awesome air handlers. Sweet.