Historic Mexican eatertainment concept Casa Bonita is reportedly being saved out of bankruptcy by the co-creators of South Park.
Matt Stone and Trey Parker, the brains behind the famous television series, told Colorado Gov. Jared Polis the news on Friday during a celebration of the show’s 24th anniversary. The Colorado-based eatertainment chain, which filed Chapter 11 in early April, has close ties with the long-running cartoon. Stone and Parker became friends at the University of Colorado—Boulder and visited Casa Bonita several times while growing up. The series even dedicated an entire episode to it, titled “Casa Bonita.”
“We know that there have been a lot of people in Colorado that love Casa Bonita and have been working on this and we’re excited to work with everybody and make it the place we all want to make it,” Parker said.
The nearly 50-year-old restaurant features a 30-foot waterfall, cliff divers, stage shows, musicians, and amusement arcade inside 52,000 square feet. The restaurant can hold 1,000 people and was declared a historic landmark by the Lakewood Historical Society.
Casa Bonita has been shut down for nearly a year and a half because of COVID. However, the brand is now offering free backstage tours each day and has reopened the arcade, according to the website. Dining is expected to return soon.
The restaurants’ 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.
Casa Bonita is so beloved that fervent fans created Save Casa Bonita, an organization dedicated to bringing the concept out of bankruptcy. The group formed a GoFundMe page and has raised more than $68,000. Save Casa Bonita purchased debt from small, independent creditors, like the mariachi band and food/supply vendors who were owed by the restaurant. Now the organization is a creditor in the case and participating in bankruptcy proceedings. Save Casa Bonita said the bankruptcy case was due to unlawful detainer, or eviction, by the landlord.
Parker and Stone first indicated they wanted to buy Casa Bonita in late July. Parker told the Hollywood Reporter at the time that he and Stone would work with Colorado-based restaurateurs to bring the restaurant back to life.
“We started talking about the changes we’re going to make—mostly with the food,” Parker said to the media outlet. “We’re going to make really awesome food. I was already thinking about how I was going to make Black Bart’s Cave a little bigger.”