Casa Bonita: Denver Restaurant’s Beta Test Opening & New No Tipping Policy
The wait is almost over. Casa Bonita will be officially opening soon, but there will be some changes.
No matter if you're a fan of the animated comedy series, South Park, or you actually had the pleasure of visiting the famed restaurant prior to its closure during the COVID-19 pandemic, be prepared for an all new experience.
Here's What You Need to Know First.
As of right now, Casa Bonita is open, but not to the general public. Currently, they are in a "beta-test" phase. According to the official Casa Bonita websites:
Want a chance to be among the first to experience Casa Bonita?
While beta-testing Casa Bonita, we will be opening with limited dinner hours. Our first guests will be pulled EXCLUSIVELY from our email list. No walk-ins.
Did you catch the South Park reference earlier? That was not just a cheeky, little joke about the episodes that featured the restaurant. Casa Bonita is now owned by South Park creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone. Their goal is to make the Denver landmark even better than it was before.
How Do They Plan to Do This?
There is no tipping at Casa Bonita (which means "pretty house" in Spanish, in case you were wondering). Earlier this week (Wednesday, June 28th, 2023), The Denver Post reported that the restaurant is eliminating tipping. The articles states:
Higher-ups made the decision to eliminate tips — and raise the service staff’s base pay — after a soft opening period during which “we found guests simply weren’t tipping,” according to an emailed statement from Casa Bonita management.
Apparently, due to the new $39.99 pre-paid ticket pricing, test patrons did not feel the need to include a tip. Because of that, the establishment's management team doubled the service staff's base wages from $14.27 to $30.00 an hour.
What About the Food Quality?
While Casa Bonita is a restaurant, it's notoriety comes from their live shows, which includes things like brawling pirates, wild west shootouts and more, all of which you can experience whilst enjoying your meal. There are also cliff divers (yes, you read that correctly) a haunted tunnel and an arcade with giant skee-ball.
While all that is fun (I did have the chance to witness it myself first hand a few times in the early 2000s), the food was not the high point of the experience.
To combat that negative stigma, Parker and Stone hired Executive Chef Dana “Loca” Rodriguez to revamp the menu.
Casa Bonita truly is a place like none other and I am not-so-patiently awaiting their official grand opening to try their new food and experience the wonder of Lakewood's most iconic restaurant.