Usnavi de la Vega is the central protagonist of In the Heights. Originally from the Dominican Republic, he arrived in Washington Heights with his parents when he was very young. Usnavi owns the bodega and works there alongside his cousin Sonny.
While he loves living in the barrio, he is conflicted with his own dreams of returning to the Dominican Republic.
Loyal, respectable and practical, Usnavi is greatly admired by everyone in his community. He adores Abuela Claudia, who raised him after his parents died. He is in love with Vanessa. He's great friends with Benny and Nina.