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'South Park' creators rescue Casa Bonita, an iconic Mexican restaurant in Denver


Known as the "Disneyland of Mexican restaurants," the iconic location in suburban Lakewood will reopen in May and is hiring about 500 employees. Trey Parker and Matt Stone bought it in 2021 for $3.1 million.

The iconic Casa Bonita Mexican restaurant, located in Lakewood – a suburb of Denver, Colorado – is set to reopen in May after filing for bankruptcy in 2021 and being bought by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, creators of

South Park

, who included the establishment in the hit cartoon series.

Parker and Stone, who enjoyed visiting the restaurant as children, had already thought about buying the business in 2016. "There are people who go to Casa Bonita because of

South Park

," Parker said at the time.

Casa Bonita in Denver, Colorado on April 28, 2018.NBC News

The place is known as the "Disneyland of Mexican restaurants", because they not only serve food but also have an entertainment center that includes attractions such as video games, magicians, puppet shows, musicians and a waterfall with divers.

"I've worked in big kitchens. I've worked at the Cheesecake Factory and things like that, but being in charge of this is a whole other thing," Dana Rodriguez, the restaurant's executive chef and culinary director, said in an interview with The Denver Post.

In 2021, the restaurant filed for bankruptcy, and in September of that year, Parker and Stone bought it for $3.1 million.

Casa Bonita Mexican restaurant has been an institution, remembered by many for decades: from countless sopaipillas to tacos, mariachi bands, puppets and a pool.Hyoung Chang/Denver Post via Getty Images

"We want to buy Casa Bonita and treat it well. I feel like it was neglected even before the pandemic," Parker told The Hollywood Reporter in an interview after the acquisition.

"We're going to do everything we can. We want to do it right and make it amazing."

According to documents revealed by 9NEWS, a local NBC News station, renovation plans undertaken by the new owners exceed $12 million.

[Mexican restaurant in London threatened with legal action for using the word taquería]

"Over the years, Casa Bonita has brought so much joy to so many people that we wanted to announce the news of our reopening in May as a Christmas gift to the people of Colorado," Rodríguez said.

500 job offers

The fascination of the creators of

South Park

for the famous restaurant was born when they were children in Colorado, so it is not surprising that in "Casa Bonita" -an episode broadcast in 2003- the characters of the series visited the place for a party birthday. 

In that chapter, Cartman, one of the most famous characters of the show, is not invited to the celebration, so he devises a plan to trap a boy in a bomb shelter, so that he can take his place.

Since the pandemic, restaurants across the country have been hit by staff shortages, with many owners lamenting the difficulty finding workers.

However, Rodríguez is optimistic about the project.

After all, Casa Bonita is known throughout the world, as are its new owners.

Las Sopaipillas de Casa Bonita in January 2019. The reopening of the renovated restaurant is expected for next May.

Hyoung Chang/Denver Post via Getty Images

Before reopening, the restaurant needs to hire about 500 employees, including about 150 kitchen team members, 140 servers, 40 bartenders, 40 cashiers, 30 artists, including a few divers, and many others.

[A Taco Bell employee throws boiling water at two customers in Dallas]

On the official

South Park

Twitter account, the series helped promote the restaurant's call to hire employees.

"Job Alert: Casa Bonita Cliff Diver," the tweet read.

And in a video posted by the restaurant, Rodriguez and Colorado Gov. Jared Polis informed Denver-area residents about job opportunities.

Although the menu has not yet been defined, the restaurant's big fans will be able to return to try some of the local's classic dishes, but "better prepared" and made at home, Rodríguez said.

Casa Bonita's sopaipillas: a Mexican pastry with honey eaten for dessert.Hyoung Chang/Denver Post via Getty Images

For the nostalgic, there is good news: the menu will include sopaipillas (a fried pastry that is traditional in northern Mexico).

"I think if we don't do sopaipillas, people won't come back

," Rodríguez said.

With information from



The Denver Post



Source: telemundo

All news articles on 2023-01-29

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