Monday, February 9, 2009

Casa Bonita….A Mexican Bandido Birthday Dinner...A.K.A. The finale to Kyle’s 30th birthday

The Pink Mexican Castle

Finally, the story of our venture to Casa Bonita…..When we were kids, this was the place you went, albeit birthday parties, girl scout trips or because we wanted to. A restaurant in which the entertainment cost was included in the price of your entrée. Back then, the menu had two options, The Beef Plate or The Chicken Plate. Once seated, your waiter would rattle off the details of the restaurant, the distance from your table to the kitchen, so be patient, and….the best part, bottomless chips and salsa and sopapillas. All you have to do is raise the red flag on your table. You could sit and gorge yourself. We would eat and then run all over the place, Black Bart’s cave, the arcade, the Muppet or magic show. The place was huge and a kid’s delight.

The Evite said it all:
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Casa Bonita
"The Taste Magic of Mexico"
• Witness our brave fire juggling cliff divers plunging from a spectacular
30-foot waterfall into our 14 feet deep pool.
• Watch the "gorilla trainer" chase down Chiquita - our 500 pound gorilla
• Gold and silver mines
• Caverns and caves filled with stalactites and stalagmites
• Black Bart's Cave
• Amusement arcade
• Gran Vista Casa El Mercado - a shopper's delight
• Strolling Mariachis
• Puppets, magicians, games and prizes
• Authentic Mexican dancers

DISCLAIMER: Party planners are not responsible for side effects.
Most common side effects: Indigestion, diarrhea, stomach discomfort, excessive bowel movements, vomiting, and ingestion of chlorine.
Other side effects include: Cold sweats, headache, bumps, bruises, temporary loss of hearing, soreness, raw skin, weakness and fatigue. If symptoms persist, please consult your doctor.


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Here’s the problem (or a good thing, depending on who you’re talking to)…..it hasn’t changed one bit! I’m not kidding, the carpet hasn’t been replaced, the tile needs a power washing, the arcade needs all new games to be cleansed of the germs, the air is being re-circulated which means they need a new HVAC system, the kitchen….I won’t even go there. It opened in 1974 and literally hasn’t changed since, 35 years of grime; I’d consider it on the same level as a petry dish!

After researching my question “Has Casa Bonita ever been renovated or updated?” What I found is humorous, astonishing and disturbing. First and foremost, NO, it has never been updated. Secondly and what I find amusing……the man behind the Mexican castle with pink stucco, had FIVE LOCATIONS!!!!! The first one opened in 1968 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and closed in 1993. The second location in Little Rock Arkansas was alive from 1969 to 1993 and a location in Ft. Worth Texas with an unknown opening date closed in 1986. Tulsa Oklahoma, was the second most successful, opening in 1971 as Casa Bonita only to close in the fall of 2005 due to the end of their lease. The founder reopened the restaurant under his other venture, Casa Viva in spring of 2006 and went out of business in December of 2007. Casa Bonita opened their doors once again under the original name in summer of 2008.

This Mexican style Disneyland has been called “tourist attraction”. Casa Bonita is going on 35 years of serving some of the world’s worst food in one of the dirtiest environments I’ve ever eaten. Parents, bring your wipes and anti-bach for an adventure of a life time in Colorado’s most repulsive tourist trap!

Okay….so enough of the drama, we really did have a good time. This all started while Kel, Dan, Jaime, Andrew Kyle and I were at the rodeo. I can’t remember how it came up, but somehow, we were going to Casa Bonita for Kyle, Dan and Angela’s (Kelly’s roommate) birthdays. Ang was the only one who had not previously been there. The rest of us had been there numerous times as kids. When we walked in, it was a blast from the past….literally nothing had changed. We had a great time reminiscing about the food and its still terrible, the shows and attractions. A local columnist had written about the place about two weeks before our trip and he noted to order the nacho salad, and nearly all of us did. A party of nine, with 7 salads and Dan and Andrew were adventurous ordering a #2 and a #3. It was a good laugh, and a great end to a big birthday! I pray this is my last trip for another 20 years!

The group, a table right by the waterfall.....we couldn't have planned it better

2 comments:

Rich said...

Its really a castle?!? OH MAN! Kentucky is lame.

Jill (& Bob) said...

Too funny...and since you mentioned it, I do recall going to the one in Tulsa for a sorority event. I don't think that one was quite as nasty, though!