A Cavernous Cantina Returns to Denver, Cliff Divers and All

Colorado’s defining options embody superb mountain peaks, vivid seasonal colours, snowboarding and a widespread compulsion to exercise and eat effectively. But for generations of Colorado youngsters, arguably essentially the most generally shared expertise concerned Casa Bonita, an unlimited, filthy, poorly-lit, underground restaurant with food that many diners deemed barely edible.

Casa Bonita — sprawling over 52,000 sq. toes in Lakewood, a Denver suburb — served steamed refried beans, tacos and enchiladas to 1000’s of individuals a day, buffet-style. The dinner leisure was a baby’s fever dream: waterfalls, cliff divers, Black Bart’s Cave, fake gold and silver mines, puppet exhibits and a person in a gorilla costume chased by a sheriff, who typically joined within the cliff diving. Casa Bonita’s curious childhood grip was chronicled in an episode of “South Park.”

After that episode ran, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the present’s creators, had been frequently asked whether or not such a spot really existed. “Oh, that’s a place,” Mr. Parker would reply, he stated just lately. “It’s crazy. It’s weird.” Like so many Colorado youngsters, Mr. Parker had held his birthday events there.

Then, in 2020, Casa Bonita went bankrupt, hit by the pandemic hunch. The place was already in disrepair, crumbling from deferred upkeep, rife with electrical hazards, the air flow methods coated with grease and the carpet encrusted into one thing like concrete. The jokes concerning the food had earned it the nickname Casa NoEata. Still, its passing was mourned.

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