Get All Access for $5/mo

South Park Creators Spent 'Infinity Dollars' Renovating Iconic Colorado Restaurant, Set to Reopen Soon Casa Bonita, a long-time favorite of South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, went bankrupt during the pandemic. The duo purchased and painstakingly renovated the Mexican spot "like a piece of art," Stone said.

By Madeline Garfinkle

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Hyoung Chang | Getty Images
Casa Bonita on June 16, 2022 amid ongoing renovations by South Park founders who purchased the restaurant in 2021.

For decades, Casa Bonita had been more than a restaurant to Colorado locals. Spanning over 52,000 square feet in the Denver suburb of Lakewood, the Mexican restaurant featured waterfalls, a pool, puppet shows, and faux gold and silver mines. While it originally opened in 1974 and is relatively well-known among Denver residents, the spot gained worldwide attention after being featured in a South Park episode in 2003.

In a story published this week, South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone told the New York Times that after the episode aired, people would ask them all the time if such a wild establishment actually existed.

"Oh, that's a place," Parker told the outlet he would respond. "It's crazy. It's weird."

So, after the iconic restaurant went bankrupt during the pandemic and news of the closure garnered widespread attention from Colorado residents who rallied to help salvage the institution (from gathering outside to starting a GoFundMe that raised nearly $69,000) — Parker and Stone ended up purchasing the restaurant in August 2021 for $3.1 million.

Now, nearly two years later, the restaurant is expected to reopen in the coming weeks after the duo funneled "upwards of $40 million dollars" into renovations, The Times reported.

"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 outlet.

Related: South Park Creators Raise $20 Million for Deepfake Company 'Deep Voodoo'

The revamped Denver restaurant will feature a new executive chef, James Beard Award nominee, Dana Rodriguez, whose kitchen staff of nearly 110 will make everything from scratch — including 198 gallons of mole sauce fresh every night, green chile-braised brisket, enchiladas, and sopaipillas with honey to name a few.

The original renovation cost was estimated at $10 million, Stone and Parker told The Times, which then turned to $20 million, and eventually added up to what Stone said was "infinity dollars."

Ahead of the opening, the team is still assessing prices for the restaurant. "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 outlet.

Related: Here Are the 7 Traits You Need to Get Rich in the Restaurant Industry

Madeline Garfinkle

News Writer

Madeline Garfinkle is a News Writer at Entrepreneur.com. She is a graduate from Syracuse University, and received an MFA from Columbia University. 

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Business Solutions

Increase Productivity with This Microsoft 365 Subscription, Now $25 Off

It can make the entrepreneur life a lot easier.

Business News

Apple Pay Later Is Ending. Here's What's Taking Its Place.

The program was available for less than a year.

Leadership

This Artist Answered a Businessman's 'Powerful' Question — Then His Work Became 'the Poster Child for Juneteenth': 'Your Network Really Becomes Your Net Worth'

Reginald Adams was the executive director of a Houston-based art museum for more than a decade before he decided to launch his own public art and design firm.

Leadership

Harvard Business School Professor Says 65% of Startups Fail for One Reason. Here's How to Avoid It.

Team alignment isn't nice to have -- it's critical for running a successful business.

Business News

Here's What Companies Are Open and Closed on Juneteenth 2024

Since it became a holiday in 2021, Juneteenth has been recognized by some major corporations as a paid day off.

Growing a Business

I Hit $100 Million in Annual Revenue by Being More Transparent — Here Are the 3 Strategies That Helped Me Succeed

Three road-tested ways to be more transparent and build relationships that can transform your business — without leaving you feeling nightmarishly over-exposed.