The Creators Of South Park Are Trying To Buy The Real Casa Bonita Restaurant

Complete with pirate sword fights, mariachi bands, cliff divers, arcade games, a mysterious meandering cave, a massive waterfall, and free unlimited sopapillas for all, it's no wonder that Casa Bonita — a sprawling restaurant located in a nondescript strip mall in Lakewood, Colorado — has been a must-visit destination for Denver-area families since its opening in 1974.

Casa Bonita is such a vital part of Denver culture that, in 2015, the restaurant was recognized as an official historic landmark by the Lakewood Historic Committee (via The Denver Post). However, in recent years, the longstanding business has fallen into disrepair and financial peril, despite fans' best efforts to lobby for Casa Bonita's revitalization, per KDVR.

Now, the larger-than-life restaurant — instantly recognizable among Denver natives and cartoon fans alike by its towering pink clock tower facade — may be getting a second chance at its glory days thanks to an unexpected source.

According to Hollywood Reporter, "South Park" creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone are considering buying the pink behemoth to save it from shuttering or falling into further disrepair. The duo, who were both raised in Colorado, consider Casa Bonita a beloved childhood landmark and have mentioned the restaurant numerous times over the course of their hit Comedy Central cartoon series. The South Park moment that brought more widespread fame to the restaurant was a classic 2003 episode titled "Casa Bonita," in which the main characters vie for the opportunity to visit the iconic eatery.

The South Park creators have big ambitions for the classic restaurant

Speaking to the Hollywood Reporter, Parker revealed that the duo is serious about purchasing the restaurant, stating: "We want to buy Casa Bonita and treat it right. I feel like it was neglected even before the pandemic. ... We are going to do everything we can. We want to make it right and make it amazing."

Aware of some of the financial and reputational hits the restaurant has taken in recent years, Parker says the pair came to the revelation that they could be the ones to revitalize their beloved childhood institution. "For a moment when it was like, 'Casa Bonita is going to close down,' we said, 'We're going to buy it.' And I felt like it was the crowning achievement of my life," Parker says.

Beyond simply giving the restaurant the financial lifeline it may need to survive, the "South Park" creators (along with some unidentified Colorado restaurateurs) have plans to bring the landmark back to its glory days and improve on some previous issues. "We started talking about the changes we're going to make — mostly with the food," Parker notes, giving a nod to the less-than-stellar culinary reputation the restaurant has had over the years.

The fate of Casa Bonita is still unclear

While Stone and Parker have emphatically expressed their interest in becoming owners of the famed Mexican restaurant, that decision ultimately falls in the hands of Casa Bonita's current owners, who have yet to announce their intentions for the business.

According to Denver's Fox 31 News, Summit Family Restaurants — the company that owns Casa Bonita — filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in April, and are currently undergoing court proceedings revolving around the re-opening of the restaurant that leaves its fate somewhat up in the air.

The court paperwork reveals that the restaurant was in need of boiler repairs in 2020, which were delayed significantly due to pandemic-related supply and labor issues. However, the court filing states that once the boiler issues are resolved, "Casa Bonita must pass final health and fire inspections to provide menu service."

While the restaurant is temporarily barred from food and drink service, according to their website, staff members are currently offering free backstage tours daily, as well as access to their gift shop and arcade. Although it's unclear what the future of Casa Bonita holds, Stone and Parker are giving fans of the beloved restaurant hope that it will continue to serve pillowy sopapillas and endless entertainment to the masses for many years to come.