South Park creators make their Casa Bonita dreams come true [Updated]

Screenshot of animated Casa Bonita from South Park episode

Update, August 13, 2021: Soon we’ll all be running up to the front doors of Casa Bonita with the fervor of Eric Cartman. Per the Hollywood Reporter, after initially announcing they were considering the purchase, South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone have officially bought the struggling Casa Bonita restaurant in Lakewood, Colorado, with plans to restore it to its former glory (and beyond).

Because Casa Bonita’s parent company, Summit Family Restaurants, had declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy in April of this year, Parker and Stone’s purchase of the business will require court approval. That process can take several months, so technically the sale is still pending.

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“If it were up to us, we would have people in their right now working on it,” said Parker. Sounds like it’s going to be a real labor of love!

“Not only will this help save an iconic landmark in Lakewood, but it will also provide catalytic change for an emerging arts district,” said Lakewood mayor Adam Paul, speaking with THR. “I want to thank Trey and Matt for their commitment to the community!”

Which of our Colorado-based readers will send dispatches from the new-and-improved Casa Bonita once it reopens? Or should the staff of The Takeout make a trip out there ourselves?

Original post, July 29, 2021: I was around nine when I first snuck out of bed and crept into the living room, where my dad was watching South Park and guffawing like a man possessed. I watched about five minutes’ worth of Cartman-centric programming before my dad ushered me back to bed, shaking his head. I shuffled to my bedroom, thinking, “Now that is comedy.”

Today, I’m not a huge fan, but my dad still watches the show on a near-nightly basis. Thus, he was pleased when I shared with him a bit of recent South Park food news: per Hollywood Reporter, South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone are attempting to purchase Casa Bonita, the beloved Colorado restaurant featured on the show.

Located in Lakewood, Colorado, Casa Bonita is a Mexican restaurant of staggering size. The restaurant, which opened in 1974, houses an arcade, a cave, and a waterfall with cliff divers. Can you imagine diving into a vat of queso while people dive off of a cliff before your very eyes? I can’t. Anyway, Hollywood Reporter explains that the restaurant was a childhood landmark for both Parker and Stone. Now, it’s a semi-frequent motif in the South Park universe, with an entire Casa Bonita–focused episode that aired in 2003.

Unfortunately, Casa Bonita’s future is unclear. Per Hollywood Reporter, the restaurant has been closed since 2020 due to the pandemic, and the company that currently owns Casa Bonita filed for Chapter 11 protection on April 6. That prompted Parker and Stone to consider buying the restaurant, although a possible sale is in limbo due to ongoing court proceedings. “We are absolutely trying to buy it,” Parker said. “We are going to do everything we can. We want to make it right and make it amazing.”

According to one local report, Casa Bonita may be on the cusp of reopening. Still, Parker says he and Stone are already making plans for their takeover. “We want to buy Casa Bonita and treat it right,” Parker said. “I feel like it was neglected even before the pandemic.” Parker added that the pair plan to overhaul the food menu and potentially expand some of the restaurant’s attractions, including the indoor cave. “It’s just sitting there. It sucks,” Parker said. “For a moment when it was like, ‘Casa Bonita is going to close down,’ we said, ‘We’re going to go buy it.’ And I felt like it was the crowning achievement of my life.” Stay tuned, South Park fans.

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