Matt Stone and Trey Parker: The Journey of Casa Bonita

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Matt Stone and Trey Parker, Denver natives, grew up with a deep fascination for the Mexican restaurant Casa Bonita. This local landmark, resembling a Disneyland-esque maze with live entertainment, secret rooms, and so-so food, captivated their imaginations as children. However, Casa Bonita faced challenges and eventually closed its doors in 2020 during the Covid pandemic.

Despite its closure, Stone and Parker decided to embark on a journey to revive Casa Bonita after much contemplation. Their initial goal was to undergo a quick renovation to bring joy to their children and the community alike. However, the project quickly spiraled out of control, surpassing the estimated budget of $6 million to a staggering $40 million.

Upon acquiring Casa Bonita, Stone and Parker were faced with a myriad of challenges. The infrastructure of the 54,000 square foot building was in shambles, with rotten floors, walls, and ceilings. Outdated electrical systems and hazardous plumbing added to the daunting task at hand. Additionally, the presence of a falcon dropping pigeon carcasses on the roof since the 1970s only added to the chaos.

Director Arthur Bradford documented Stone and Parker’s journey in the film ¬°CASA BONITA MI AMOR! The documentary showcases the creators’ struggles as the project faced numerous setbacks and financial obstacles. Despite the challenges, Stone and Parker remained committed to the project, even turning down other opportunities to stay on course.

After a year of renovations, Casa Bonita finally opened its doors to preview audiences. The restaurant now boasts a stunning interior, with Parker crafting the script for a puppet show and quirky dialogues for talking skeletons. However, not all elements were perfect, as Stone noted that the animatronic fortune-telling macaw still needed work.

While Casa Bonita is set to open to the general public later this year, Stone and Parker have ruled out the idea of expanding into a chain. Despite considering the possibility, they acknowledged the challenges and financial constraints involved. The duo remains focused on perfecting their flagship restaurant before considering further ventures.

Casa Bonita held a significant influence on Stone and Parker, so much so that it was featured in an episode of their animated series, South Park. The episode showcased the importance of Casa Bonita in their lives, emphasizing its lasting impression on their creative work.

Stone and Parker’s creative endeavors have earned them multiple accolades, including Emmy, Tony, and Grammy awards. Despite being nominated for an Academy Award in 2000, Stone remained modest about their chances of winning an Oscar. However, with their vast array of talents and achievements, there is no denying their impact on the entertainment industry.

The journey of Stone and Parker to resurrect Casa Bonita serves as a testament to their dedication and creativity. Despite facing numerous challenges along the way, their unwavering commitment to the project has resulted in the revival of a beloved local landmark. As Casa Bonita prepares to welcome the public once again, it stands as a symbol of Stone and Parker’s passion for storytelling and their ability to bring cherished childhood memories to life.


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