Since Casa Bonita first shut down in 2020 due to the pandemic, there’s been a lot of speculation and concern over the future of the immersive entertainment restaurant. When news broke that its owners, Summit Family Restaurants Inc., had gone bankrupt, months of campaigns to “save Casa Bonita” followed, culminating in a surreal but genuine bid by the creators of South Park to buy the restaurant they once famously featured in an episode for $3.1 million, and a challenge to that sale by the very folks behind Save Casa Bonita.
Now, it looks like we finally have an idea of what’s in store for the restaurant. South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone have officially acquired the beloved Lakewood establishment, according to their representatives. And the duo has hired three-time James Beard Award winner and local restaurant owner Dana Rodriguez as Casa Bonita’s head chef.
“This is a dream come true,” Rodriguez said in a statement. “Casa Bonita means so much to so many people here in Denver. I’m excited to work with Trey and Matt and reimagine the culinary program; I want to make sure this is a place where people will look forward to eating, drinking, spending time and bringing friends, family and visitors.”
Rodriguez was born in Chihuahua, Mexico. She started as a dishwasher and worked her way up in the restaurant industry, earning three elite James Beard Awards and working at Denver’s most esteemed restaurants, including Rioja and Bistro Vendome. Now, she owns Latin American joints Super Mega Bien and Work & Class, and plans to open a new concept, Cantina Loca, in late 2021.
The change bodes well for the restaurant’s menu. Beloved as Casa Bonita is in the Denver area for its cliff divers, immersive entertainment and Black Bart’s Cave, it’s also infamous for having not-so-great food, though some attest to the quality of the sopapillas.
There’s no set date for Casa Bonita’s reopening, though it looks like its new managements has taken over its accounts.