7 things you may not know about Casa Bonita

Posted at 6:17 AM, Feb 09, 2017
and last updated 2021-08-13 13:44:53-04

DENVER — Chances are you have probably heard of Denver’s Casa Bonita, the Mexican restaurant known for its elaborate décor, the sopapillas, a gorilla on the loose, as well as its indoor waterfall and cliff divers.

Defined by Urban Dictionary as the “Disneyland of Mexican restaurants,” here are 7 little known tidbits about this Colorado attraction:

1. The cliff divers were an afterthought

Construction began on Denver’s Casa Bonita in 1972 and the pool underneath the waterfall was dug by hand. The waterfall feature was standard for the Casa Bonita brand, but the idea of cliff divers came after the pool was built.

Casta Bonita_waterless pool

2. Faces in the rocks

Three faces can be spotted carved into the cliff. Look to the upper left corner for one. It has a bright shrub under its nose.

Another is under the waterfall, sporting a scowl beneath yellow roses.

We’ll let you find the last one.

3. Different regions of Mexico represented inside

The waterfall area is modeled after the seaport of Acapulco, located in the west coast of Mexico in the state of Guerrero. Upstairs, near the golden towers, the architecture is representative of the resort town of Puerto Vallarta. There’s also a gold and silver mine downstairs.

4. Sopapilla specialty

The sopapillas are special. The Denver restaurant has a different recipe than any other Casa Bonita in the country. Why? The sopapillas were created with a recipe specifically designed for the altitude of Colorado.

5. The honey comes from Boulder

The sweet honey poured over the endless sopapillas comes from a company in Boulder.

6. South Park’s only real business

Casa Bonita is the only real business that’s featured in Comedy Central’s “South Park.”

Show producers called the restaurant to see if they could use Casa Bonita in future episodes -– mentioning to management that the restaurant is the only real business they’d used in the show.

Casa Bonita was featured in the eleventh episode of the seventh season on Nov. 12, 2003. The plot of the episode involved Cartman misleading Butters into going missing in order to get invited to Kyle’s birthday party.

7. The South Park table

The table Cartman visits in the Casa Bonita South Park episode is found upstairs, under a golden dome, facing the waterfall. If you ask to sit at the “South Park table,” staff will usually know what you’re talking about.


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