Casa Bonita, the Denver, Colorado Mexican restaurant that was made worldwide famous by South Park has filed for bankruptcy. The announcement that Casa Bonita is shutting its doors comes as something of a shock, as the restaurant chain had issued a press release a month agao, letting diners know that it would be re-opening "soon," after having been shutdown since spring of 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic; and yet, owner Summit Family Restaurants Inc. reportedly filed for bankruptcy on April 6th. Casa Bonita has been in business since 1974 and is considered a staple of Denver by residents who live there.
Not surprisingly, there's already a Go Fund Me set up to "Save Casa Bonita" which you can donate to HERE. The petition has raised $16,300 at the time of writing this. Ironically, it was set up in March, almost a month before news of the bankruptcy came out. Hard to know if it will do any good at this point:
"We are a group of Denver people who love Casa Bonita and are worried about its future. Casa Bonita is an important cultural and historic icon and a vibrant piece of the Colorado landscape.
There are many scenarios that could play out and with your help we can be prepared to act with money and influence no matter which direction it goes.
Let’s SAVE CASA BONITA!"
Here's what Summit Restaurants President Bob Wheaton said last fall about Casa Bonita's fate: “Our plan is to open the business as soon as we believe it’s legally possible. My feeling is the guidelines will not change until there is a vaccine that is widely available to be distributed. Casa Bonita has been around 50 years and we’re hopeful that it’s going to be around for another 50 years."
Local reports noted at the time that the restaurant change was clear that it wasn't just COVID-19 protocols that needed to ease in order to get the restaurant back open: it would reportedly also require significant financial resources to get things going again.
Indeed, Casa Bonita was hit by some scandal when the pandemic started, as workers reported serious issues with paychecks when the restaurant suddenly closed doors. As one worker, Felicity Akers told the Denver Post:
“At this point, I don’t see myself returning” to work at Casa Bonita, Akers said. “It’s hard to go back to a place that doesn’t respect you enough to pay you for the work that you’ve done. A lot of people in my family were questioning why I stayed... We’re really just a big (restaurant) family, and all of us are such close friends. I stuck around so I could see all of them."
In the end, it's not hard to speculate that the Summit Family Restaurants Inc. simply looked at the math and determined that the cost of getting Casa Bonita going again was greater than the financial benefits of filing bankruptcy. It's not hard to speculate that because its a situation that restaurant owners all over the United States are having to face, after what was the worst year for the industry in our lifetime.0comments
The future of Casa Bonita is now very uncertain. Maybe South Park can help?
Source: Fox 31 News Denver