Casa Bonita Actually Being Reopened By South Park’s Trey Parker And Matt Stone

The real-life Casa Bonita was the basis for a classic South Park episode, and now the show's creators are re-opening the legendary restaurant to the public.

By Jennifer Asencio | Updated

One of the greatest episodes of the South Park series was Season 7 Episode 11, “Casa Bonita,” in which Cartman tricks Butters into disappearing long enough for the chubby con artist to attend Kyle’s birthday party. The party is held at the real-life Mexican-themed restaurant Casa Bonita, which co-creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker had both visited as kids, and the duo purchased it in August 2021. In a tweet shared today by the venue, it was announced that the restaurant would reopen in May 2023 after renovations.

Casa Bonita has been a staple of the childhood of many Denver residents, as illustrated by Cartman’s extreme desire to go there in the South Park episode. While it was already popular with locals, the episode propelled the restaurant into the national spotlight. Stone, Parker, and much of the crew of the show had been there many times and were able to reproduce the inside faithfully for the episode.

The restaurant closed in 2020 due to pandemic restrictions and then had to file for bankruptcy. Afraid that it would close its doors forever, loyal patrons tried to amass a fund to save it, but the South Park creators managed to further tribute the restaurant they helped make famous by purchasing it from its previous owners in August 2021. Nevertheless, it has still taken time to return the restaurant and its attractions to operating order.

In their video, the South Park creators and chef Dana “Loca” Rodriguez offer the news of the reopening as a gift for the holidays, barely able to contain their excitement. It seems like they love the restaurant as much as Cartman does, given their childlike excitement at revealing the news. Since the episode managed to be so faithful to the real thing, fans of the show can probably understand why.

Eric Cartman from “Casa Bonita” on South Park, Season 7, Episode 11

In the episode, Kyle is allowed to invite three friends to go to the restaurant with him for his birthday party, and he chooses Butters instead of Cartman because he’s tired of Cartman being mean to him. Cartman spends the next few days trying to be extremely nice to Kyle and manages to convince him to allow the “big-boned” kid to go if Butters backs out. Naturally, Cartman is just playing his angles, so he convinces Butters that South Park has been struck by meteors to get the timid boy to hide long enough to be absent from the party.

In true South Park fashion, things go awry when Kyle, out of sympathy for his friend’s disappearance, postpones the party for a week. Faced with having to keep Butters hidden all this time, Cartman escalates his story to keep his spot at the Casa Bonita party, showing that he is willing to go to great lengths to make the trip. The episode ends with a mad dash to sample all the delights Casa Bonita has to offer.

While the idea for Cartman to con Butters this way was always on the table for the South Park writing staff, the idea to center the episode on the restaurant was only developed the week before it aired. Much of the crew’s fond memories of their own experiences at Casa Bonita are reflected in Cartman’s fantasies about it. When the restaurant was in trouble, it was only natural that Trey Parker and Matt Stone step in.

Now, with its opening finally announced, we can all see why Cartman was willing to kidnap Butters to go.