South Park creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, are on a mission to buy the iconic Casa Bonita restaurant. The focal point of South Park season 7, episode 11, “Casa Bonita,” the Mexican eatery served as the catalyst for one of Eric Cartman’s most diabolical schemes and frenetic episode climaxes. What many viewers did not know at the time was that South Park’s Casa Bonita was based on a real restaurant of the same name.
The classic episode centers around Cartman as he goes to extreme lengths to get himself invited to Kyle’s birthday party at the Casa Bonita restaurant known for lavish Mexican dinners, cliff divers, and live entertainment. Excluded from the festivities due to his constant harassment and rivalry with Kyle, Cartman concocts a scheme to get rid of Butters Stotch (his replacement on the guest list) by convincing the gullible Butters that a meteor will soon destroy the Earth. Cartman stashes Butters away in a bomb shelter and successfully gets invited to the party, but is forced to make a mad dash while escaping the police after Butters is discovered.
Today, Parker and Stone have set their sights on potentially saving the real-life Casa Bonita, which opened its doors in 1974. Speaking with THR, Parker revealed that the creative partners intend to purchase the restaurant and improve many of the elements of the restaurant that eventually made their way into the episode, such as the food and Black Bart’s Cave. Parker and Stone have a long relationship with the restaurant that predates South Park itself, and they now want to become more active in its survival. Parker said, “We want to buy Casa Bonita and treat it right. I feel like it was neglected even before the pandemic.”
Part of the rationale to purchase Casa Bonita seems to be a mission to return the restaurant to its former glory. The real Casa Bonita’s current owners, Summit Family Restaurants, filed Chapter 11 earlier this year amid the Covid-19 pandemic, and a series of ongoing legal battles have prevented the finalization of a sale. However, Parker’s comments make it clear that they are interested in pursuing this until a conclusive outcome is reached, as he and Stone do truly love the restaurant. In fact, in the years since the premiere of “Casa Bonita” on Comedy Central, the restaurant has been repeatedly referenced in subsequent episodes, South Park tie-in video games, and more.
Whether or not Parker and Stone manage to buy Casa Bonita, it’s not difficult to understand why some fans may get excited at the notion of it coming under their ownership. Not only is “Casa Bonita” one of the best Cartman and Kyle episodes of the series, but it also stands alongside the legendary “Scott Tenorman Must Die” from season 5 as one of the most unflinching depictions of how evil Cartman can be. If the South Park creative team manages to purchase the restaurant, it could become a legitimate brick-and-mortar temple to the show’s lasting legacy among its fans.