Fans of themed dining experiences, rejoice! The creators of South Park want to buy famed gimmicky Mexican restaurant Casa Bonita and restore it to its former glory. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Trey Parker said, “We want to buy Casa Bonita and treat it right. I feel like it was neglected even before the pandemic.” The restaurant was featured in South Park’s 2003 episode aptly titled “Casa Bonita.” In it, Cartman wants so badly to take Butters’s spot on a trip to the fabled restaurant–pirate lair–cliff-diving expo that he fakes an apocalypse. Butters lives briefly in a junkyard, working to rebuild society, while Cartman waits for those sweet, sweet sopaipillas to come his way. The restaurant also featured in DLC for South Park’s second game, The Fractured But Whole.
Casa Bonita was founded in 1974. The Denver-area restaurant featured mass-produced Mexican food and big theme-park vibes. Cliff divers, live music, and pirate shows all entertained guests. In 2015, Vice visited the restaurant for its Munchies vertical. With the restaurant closed since 2020 because of the pandemic, its parent company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on April 6, 2021.
According to Parker, legal issues related to the bankruptcy filings are slowing the purchase. “We are absolutely trying to buy it,” he said. “We are going to do everything we can. We want to make it right and make it amazing.” The South Park writers want to change the menu, expand Black Bart’s cave, and most likely add some more of their own IP to the destination.
Update, Friday, August 13 at 2:00 p.m.: They did it. Matt Stone and Trey Parker became the owners of Casa Bonita this morning, announcing the news in an interview with Colorado governor Jared Polis. “We bought it,” Parker told THR afterward, calling the price “fair.” “It just feels natural.” The final sale is pending court approval, which may take months, according to Parker. The duo recently signed a $935 million contract with ViacomCBS for 14 South Park movies. Check cleared!