Casa Bonita is somewhat a right of passage for any Coloradan. That big pink building located on Colfax is home to the assembly line of Mexican food, cliff divers, and Black Bart.

Matt Sparx
Matt Sparx

The COVID-19 pandemic has shuttered the iconic Colorado restaurant due to safety concerns and has since been closed to this day. Casa Bonita was made famous to those that live outside of the state by the long-running cartoon series, South Park.  During my time in both Florida and Oregon, when people found out that I am from the state of Colorado their very first question was always "Is Casa Bonita a real thing?". Yep, it's real.

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South Park creators Matt Parker and Trey Stone have recently purchased Casa Bonita for $3.1 million and will keep what people consider a historic Colorado dining and entertainment establishment alive.

At one point in time, the Colorado location wasn't the only Casa Bonita. I was surprised to find out today that there used to be a second location in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The Tulsa location for Casa Bonita opened in 1971 off of 21st Street and Sheridan Road.

The Tulsa location shared much of the decor and ambiance of the Colorado Casa Bonita. From having a cave room to the indoor palm trees, and even raising the flag for more sopapillas. Casa Bonita in Tulsa for three years in 2005 before reopening again in 2008. A February snowstorm in 2011 closed the restaurant, it never opened again. Tulsa World states a sign was left on the door of Tulsa's Casa Bonita saying "We thank you - for your years of visiting and dining with us" closing out with "We are sorry to say we are closed for business".

You can clearly see how the two could possibly be the same HERE. Of course, the Tulsa location is missing a few key elements like the cliff divers and the waterfall.

I know many people knock on the food and what some may consider the corniness of Colorado's Casa Bonita, but it is part of our state's history. Families have had wonderful times sharing special occasions, birthdays, and memories at that big pink building. Thankfully, we have two Coloradans that chose to feature Casa Bonita in their creation and make it a pop culture sensation. By doing so, they purchased Casa Bonita. They saved it for the children who were in awe of the cliff divers and talked about it nonstop. Some have even said, "Mommy, I want to be a cliff diver when I grow up". Some adults may not love the place, but I have never met a child that has gone to Casa Bonita and not had their eyes light up talking about it.

Source: Tulsa World

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