Casa Bonita, a Mexican restaurant and historic landmark in Colorado, filed for bankruptcy earlier this month.
The nearly 50-year-old restaurant is known for its 30-foot waterfall, cliff divers, stage shows, musicians, and amusement arcade inside 52,000 square feet. The restaurant, which can hold 1,000 people, was featured on an episode of the long-running cartoon Southpark and was declared a historic landmark by the Lakewood Historical Society.
Because of COVID, the concept has been temporarily closed since March 2020. Casa Bonita’s parent, Summit Family Restaurants, reported $4.4 million in liabilities, including $149,900 from an Economic Injury Disaster Loan and $1 million from a Paycheck Protection Program loan. It also reported $3.69 million in assets. In the eight weeks ending March 22, Casa Bonita reported no income and a loss of $85,139, which is about $10,642 per week.
It’s so beloved that a GoFundMe was created to assist the brand. The page was constructed by Andrew Novick, an avid fan who’s visited the restaurant more than 300 times. In his GoFundMe post, he refers to Casa Bonita as an “important cultural and historic icon and a vibrant piece of the Colorado landscape.” As of Wednesday afternoon, the GoFundMe had raised $25,353 out of a $100,000 goal. If the money isn’t used in the next 18 months, donors who gave $100 or more will be refunded.
Bob Wheaton, president of Summit Family Restaurants, told local TV station Denver7 in November that Casa Bonita would reopen “as soon as we believe it’s legally possible.”
“Casa Bonita has been around 50 years and we’re hopeful that it’s going to be around for another 50 years,” Wheaton told the TV station.
The first Casa Bonita opened in 1968 in Oklahoma City by Bill Waugh, according to Westword, a Denver news outlet. The bankrupt Lakewood, Colorado unit opened in 1974, and is the last remaining restaurant. At one point, Casa Bonita operated under CKE Restaurants, which owns Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr.