New and Improved Casa Bonita: Your First Look!
posted by: Gretchen
A cultural institution in the Denver area, Casa Bonita, under new ownership, is proud to open with a refreshed look and feel, and a brand new culinary team. While maintaining the magical ability to transport guests back in time to 1970s Mexico, Casa Bonita provides an unmatched experience that includes live music, shows, games and memories that will last a lifetime. Gretchen takes us through all the changes!
Casa Bonita’s iconic pink building stands steadfast at the corner of Colfax and Otis (just east of Wadsworth), as proud and majestic as it ever seemed to my little-kid brain. Built in 1974, the restaurant marks nearly every “Coloradoan Knows” type of list, several tourist sites and certainly a lot of memories for those of us that grew up here or have ever visited.
New and Improved
The exterior looked refreshed with a new coat of [bright pink] paint, a cleaned fountain (which I kind of wanted to jump into), cleaned interior spaces, and a deeper-wider space to order your meal upon arrival in a plaza area now – not just a long line, a larger kitchen – although to be honest, I had never been in the kitchen here before and my food previously had been served via a tray shoved through the “mystery slot.”
The food is fresh and made daily by James Beard award-winning chef, Dana “Loca” Rodriguez. If a tour of the new and improved kitchen area is any indication, there were loads of fresh vegetables being prepped and it does appear that jokes about the sub-par food may be a thing of the past. We did get to try the sopapillas which were delicious and everything I remembered and more. [Cue another flag raised for me!] The new menu includes Enchiladas, Carnitas, Adobo Chicken, Picadillo, Calabacitas, Camarones, Casa Bonita Mole and Taco Salad. Chips and salsa and their famous sopaipillas are included with every meal.
The diving pool is wider and deeper. But you can still walk behind the waterfall and watch the divers as they prepare to take their dive. The excitement of live divers inside the building is alive and well.
Their tagline is, “Don’t change anything, improve everything.” That seems to be true as Casa Bonita is poised to take another generation through memories of their own.
Fun Facts About Casa Bonita
- In 2021, Trey Parker and Matt Stone reached an agreement to purchase CasaBonita’s Lakewood location, which had been closed since early 2020 due to the pandemic. Colorado’s Casa Bonita location is the only location that remains in existence.
- The Lakewood location originally housed a Joslins department store. With minimal plans and no permits, architects and carpenters constructed one delightful experience after another as they went along. Construction began in 1972 and the restaurant opened on March 27, 1974.
- The exterior of the building was repainted in 2022 and required over 300 gallons of custom-blended pink paint.
- Casa Bonita’s famed sopaipillas were created with a recipe specifically designed for the altitude of Colorado.
- The iconic, pink Casa Bonita tower stands 85′ tall and is visible for miles. On top of the tower’s golden dome stands a statue of Cuahatemoc (kwah-hoo-tem’-ok), thelast Aztec Emperor
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