Casa Bonita will reopen.
But exactly when the Lakewood landmark that was featured in an episode of Comedy Central’s South Park in 2003 will reopen is up in the air.
“We really can’t reopen until we are legally able to do so at a capacity level that makes sense for us to operate,” Bob Wheaton, the president of Summit Family Restaurants Inc., told The Denver Gazette.
“But I don’t expect us to open until late spring of next year when a vaccine is widely available and restrictions that the state has imposed are removed.”
Casa Bonita has been closed to public since the pandemic sent the country in a nationwide lockdown in March.
Wheaton said that after shutting the doors and being forced to dismiss around 350 employees, he thought they’d reopen in the summer.
But due to the ongoing battle against COVID-19, and regulations persisting throughout the state, “it never happened,” he said.
Currently, Wheaton and all of Summit Family Restaurant Inc., which has owned Casa Bonita since 1996, remain cautiously optimistic about potential vaccines.
“There’s been awfully good news in the last week about the vaccine, and that could change the regulatory restrictions put in place,” Wheaton said.
Despite not knowing when Casa Bonita will be able to reopen its doors, Wheaton said when it happens, everyone around town will know.
“If and when we reopen, it will not be a big celebration, it’ll be a major celebration,” Wheaton said. “Our customers are looking forward to it, we’re looking forward to it, and we just can’t wait for that day to come.”