Fans of themed dining experiences, rejoice! The creators of South Park have announced a reopening date for famed gimmicky Mexican restaurant Casa Bonita and restore it to its former glory. The duo, along with James Beard nominated chef Dana “Loco” Rodriguez released a video on social media announcing that Casa Bonita will be calling cliff diver in for duty May 2023. The message was a Christmasy one, with all three wishing future diners a feliz navidad. The autogenerated captions on TikTok, however, misconstrued the message as “please let us die.”
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. That’s when Parker and Stone got involved. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter in 2021, Trey Parker said, “We want to buy Casa Bonita and treat it right. I feel like it was neglected even before the pandemic.” The South Park creators said they wanted to change the menu, expand Black Bart’s cave, and most likely add some more of their own IP to the destination.
Matt Stone and Trey Parker became the owners of Casa Bonita in August 2021, 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.”
This story has been updated throughout.