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'South Park' creators to buy landmark Casa Bonita restaurant for $3.1M

Pending bankruptcy court approval, Trey Parker and Matt Stone become the new owners of the beloved 47-year-old Denver-area roadside attraction they’d featured in their animated series.
Casa Bonita
Photo: Casa Bonita's Facebook page

The creators of the irreverent animated TV series “South Park” have signed a deal to become the new owners of iconic-but-quirky Denver-area restaurant Casa Bonita, according to court documents filed this week.

The $3.1 million deal, which still needs to be approved by a bankruptcy judge, ends months of speculation and uncertainty surrounding the beloved 47-year-old institution that had been shuttered since the pandemic began.

Casa Bonita’s owner, Summit Family Restaurants, filed for Chapter 11 protection in April.

“South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, who grew up in Colorado and went to the restaurant as kids, have featured or mentioned Casa Bonita in a several episodes of the show. In the bankruptcy documents, the purchasers are listed as The Beautiful OPCO, LLC. A representative from Parker and Stone’s production company signed the purchase agreement.

Last month, Parker and Stone told Colorado Gov. Jared Polis they had purchased Casa Bonita. According to media reports, “the pair were giddy upon announcing the news, as Polis, also genuinely delighted, jumped up to embrace them.”

Quirky Casa Bonita, with its 85-foot-tall pink tower façade, is more than just a Mexican restaurant. The 52,000-square-foot roadside attraction and destination also features regular puppet shows and other entertainment, a 30-foot-high waterfall, seats for 1,000 diners, a spooky area known as “Black Bart’s Cave,” and, of course, a gift shop.

The landmark is so beloved, customers created a GoFundMe fundraiser for the establishment during the pandemic. So far, Save Casa Bonita has raised $68,720 of its stated $100,000 goal. The fundraiser’s organizers incorporated their group as a limited-liability company and used the donations to pay some of the debt owed by Summit Family Restaurants, particularly to small vendors such as the mariachi band and food purveyors, according to the group’s website.

“Casa Bonita is an important cultural and historic icon and a vibrant piece of the Colorado landscape,” the organizers said on the fundraising page.

Under the sale motion, Casa Bonita’s original owners will give $900,000 to the landlord to pay their back rent.

Parker and Stone are reportedly planning upgrades to Casa Bonita. The landmark has long been known for its sub-par food.

“The one area that we’d all love to see an upgrade—I think I speak on behalf of everybody who patronizes Casa Bonita—is the food can be a little better,” Polis said during his interview with the duo.

“I think it could be a little more than a little better,” Stone replied.

The two told The Hollywood Reporter they intend to work with as-yet-unnamed Colorado-based restauranteurs to improve the dining experience.

“We started talking about the changes we’re going to make—mostly with the food,” Parker told the outlet in July. “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.”

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