This Mexican Restaurant Starred in an Episode of ‘South Park.’ The Show’s Creators Spent $40 Million to Restore It.

Fans of South Park will no doubt remember the episode featuring the restaurant Casa Bonita in the Denver suburb of Lakewood. Cartman, a young egotist who seems to always get what he wants, is not invited to a birthday party at the Mexican eatery but he somehow finagles his way into the shindig.

What fans of the animated show might not know is that the restaurant actually exists. It even includes waterfalls, faux gold mines and puppet shows, just as depicted in the series. However, the restaurant has experienced rough financial times due to the pandemic, The New York Times reported. The facility was already struggling due to maintenance needs such as ventilation systems caked with grease and carpeting that had been mashed into the consistency of concrete.

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The food was also widely panned, earning the restaurant the nickname “Casa NoEata.” Yet, when it went bankrupt, locals who grew up with the place were upset to see it go. But Trey Parker and Matt Stone, creators of the Comedy Central show, decided to help the establishment in a big way.

An exterior of Casa Bonita in Lakewood, a suburb of Denver.
An exterior of Casa Bonita in Lakewood, a suburb of Denver.

Casa Bonita will reopen in the coming weeks with Parker and Stone as its new owners. They have spent more than $40 million to renovate and rebuild the place. “We could have rebuilt this twice as big, for half as much money, but we spent so much restoring it, like a piece of art,” Stone told The Times. Parker added: “And the food is excellent.”

To that point, the duo has enlisted the help of Dana Rodriguez, a six-time James Beard Award nominee. It will be one of the biggest Mexican restaurants in the world, The Times reported. Stone told the paper that over 100,000 potential customers have already signed up on the restaurant’s website to make reservations, though an official opening date has yet to be announced.

Parker and Stone did admit that renovating the place was only half the battle: “What we’ve come to realize over the last couple of months is, now we have a lot of work to do to make it a sustainable business,” Parker told the paper. Buena suerte, chicos.

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