one of the other unique Denver experiences on our list: a trip to Casa Bonita. one of our party was rather adamant about the experience and I will say this: a trip to Casa Bonita truly is unlike anything else in the world. I’ve never seen the South Park episode that made it (in)famous, but having now seen the place myself, I have some idea what that episode might have looked like.
founded in Oklahoma City in 1968, the Casa Bonita chain spread through neighboring states in the early 1970s, known for it’s all-you-can-eat beef and chicken plates, as well as its sopapillas. only two locations remain — one in Lakewood and one in Tulsa. the restaurant in Lakewood opened in 1974 in a space formerly occupied by a large retail store (I heard someone say something along the lines of a Ross?).
|what your food looks like
|where you pick up your food
the food is horrifying and prices astronomically overblown. it may be all-you-can-eat, but who would want to? there was no vegetarian option that coincided with “cheapest item on the menu” and we all ended up picking up taco salad plates, some with beef, some with chicken. none of us were terribly interested in doing anything but carry the plates to a table near the diving pool where we might fill our bellies with sopapillas instead. I don’t quite understand how or why people make a family night of the place. surely there are much cheaper places to find entertainment and bad Mexican food in Denver? ah, but, enthusiasts counter, do any of those places have cliff divers? well, no. I guess you come for the cliff divers. and the sopapillas. the divers are swim/dive team members who want to practice during the off season, apparently. there are also strolling mariachis, an arcade, a haunted tunnel (which was rather creepily dark), and a puppet theater. there is really nothing else like it.
|cliff diving pool