I Can’t Be the Only One Who Will Miss the Old Casa Bonita Food, Right?

By Shawn Patrick on April 10, 2023
Photo by Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post via Getty Images

As a Colorado native, of course I am pumped for the reopening of Casa Bonita, but I am also a little sad…

Sure, the food the iconic restaurant used to have was far from chef-quality, but it had it’s charm. After all, we don’t go to Taco Bell for gourmet food either, right? For me, it’s those cheese enchiladas that’ll be missed most. A blob of cheap shredded cheese inside a corn tortilla and smothered in watery nacho cheese sauce was just part of my childhood, and into my young adulthood, and it makes me sad knowing I’ll never get that again.

I know I’m not alone because of a series featuring trips down memory lane with longtime Casa Bonita fans and former employees who shared their memories with The Denver Post.

“The food was never a problem for me,” said Justin Jones, a 41-year-old Colorado native who had visited Casa Bonita since he was a toddler. “A lot of people complain about the food, but a lot of comments are that the food isn’t worth the price. I explain to them you’re not just paying for food, you’re paying for the atmosphere.”

Becky Nazzaro of Parker took it one step further, calling the food “GOOD” in an email. She began working at Casa Bonita as a high school student in 1975 making $2.25 an hour as a server. Her favorite item to order was the Beef Deluxe Dinner, a combo plate with enchiladas and tacos served with rice and beans. Best of all, the deal was all-you-can-eat.

“Most people that worked there loved the food. The longer we worked there the more of a discount we got on our food when we had our breaks,” Nazzaro said. “Either we always got the sopapillas for free or they were the cheapest thing,  because we ate a lot of sopapillas.”

Thornton resident Alicia Bush agrees. Bush, an educator and mom, estimates she visited the pink palace more than 50 times on field trips and for birthday parties or special events. Her go-to order was the chicken fried chicken paired with a margarita.

“I’ve heard so many people say the food was so gross, but my kids never experienced that. They always said it was really good, and so did I,” said Bush. “Their chips and salsa were always amazing. The salad was super good. So I think you either love it or hate it.”

As I mentioned above, I am pumped for the reopening next month, and the new chef-created menu, but the “new” Casa Bonita, no matter how great it is, will always leave a little hole in my heart.

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