Anyone who grew up near Denver is likely intimately familiar with Casa Bonita, a Mexican restaurant in Lakewood, Colorado with a bright pink exterior that drew in customers with an equally garish interior featuring a roaming mariachi band, cliff divers who routinely leaped from a 20-foot waterfall, and infamously awful food you were required to order to gain admission.
However, the hallowed institution was thrust into the national spotlight in 2003 courtesy of South Park, which used Casa Bonita as the backdrop in an eponymous episode involving Cartman’s efforts to infiltrate the birthday party Kyle was having there.
Casa Bonita is just one of the many dining institutions that had trouble weathering the pandemic, as it officially filed for bankruptcy in 2021.
However, it found itself with a couple of new owners after South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone used some of their estimated combined $1.3 billion net worth to buy the property while pledging to return it to its former glory (and actually serve food people would want to eat).
That project turned out to be a bit of an undertaking, as the two men compared the venture to an episode of Kitchen Nightmares while discussing the various problems they encountered during the renovation process in 2022.
Now, we’ve gotten some more insight into the many hurdles they’ve faced courtesy of The New York Times, which recently chronicled their efforts in an article concerning the revamp.
In the piece, Stone and Parker said they discovered the aforementioned cliff divers were in danger of being electrocuted on a daily basis thanks to some questionable wiring, pipes were filled with grease that leaked into the city’s water supply, and a kitchen filled with gas leaks also didn’t have any stovetops or ovens thanks to a culinary program where every single item was steamed or fried.
While they say they’ve addressed all of the major issues, it wasn’t cheap, as the renovations set them back $40 million when everything was said and done.
They’ll have the chance to recoup some of those funds when Casa Bonita officially reopens for business, and while it’s expected to start welcoming customers in the fall, there’s currently no official date set in stone.