Denver resident visits Casa Bonita resident 308 times – And here’s why he may quit going
As a self-proclaimed ‘biggest fan’ of Casa Bonita, Denver-based artist Jason Novick celebrated his 300th visit to the iconic Mexican restaurant in a grand fashion in 2019. Unfortunately, just days after his 307th visit in March 2020, the pandemic hit, and restaurants were forced to close across the country. Casa Bonita never reopened under its previous owner, Summit Family Restaurants, who had acquired it from founder Bill Waugh and eventually filed for bankruptcy protection in April 2021.
While Jason Novick enjoyed his visit to the newly renovated Casa Bonita, he couldn’t help but notice that some of the beloved features of the restaurant had been removed, including the iconic dragon’s mouth where patrons could pose for photos. Despite catching a glimpse of the famous gorilla’s head in the museum near the exit, Novick felt that the new owners had missed an opportunity to integrate more of the restaurant’s rich history into its new design.
As a passionate fan of Casa Bonita, Novick has a clear vision for how the restaurant could be improved, and it starts with bringing back the original, albeit kitschy, elements that made it so special. As he reflects on the South Park episode that popularized the restaurant 20 years ago, Novick believes that the unique charm of Casa Bonita lies in its quirkiness and irreverent humor.
However, despite his close proximity to Casa Bonita, Novick is uncertain if he’ll venture inside for a 309th visit.