Business

Save Casa Bonita Files Objection to Sale to South Park Creators

Casa Bonita has been a towering pink presence on West Colfax for nearly five decades.
Casa Bonita has been a towering pink presence on West Colfax for nearly five decades. Evan Semón
In a last-ditch attempt, a group of Casa Bonita lovers just went all-in to buy the pink eatertainment palace.

On October 18, Save Casa Bonita, an advocacy group spearheaded by Casa Bonita superfan Andrew Novick, filed an objection in federal bankruptcy court to the proposed plan for the owner of Casa Bonita to sell the restaurant to the creators of South Park, Coloradans Trey Parker and Matt Stone, for $3.1 million, plus an undisclosed amount for the intellectual property. Instead, the Save Casa Bonita group wants to purchase the restaurant itself.

"Save Casa Bonita proposes to purchase Casa Bonita for $3.5 million under all of the same terms and conditions as stated in the Sale Motion. Accordingly, the Sale Motion reflects a purchase price that is $400,000 lower than what Save Casa Bonita is ultimately willing to pay," the group's lawyers wrote in the October 18 objection filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of Colorado.

On September 23, Summit Family Restaurants and Parker and Stone came to an agreement for the sale of Casa Bonita. The restaurant at 6715 West Colfax Avenue in Lakewood closed in March 2020, when all dining rooms shuttered because of the COVID pandemic, and has not reopened the kitchen since. Casa Bonita's owner, Summit Family Restaurants, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in April of this year.
A favorite of Colorado families for decades, Casa Bonita became an international sensation thanks to a 2003 South Park episode named after the 52,000-square-foot Mexican-themed restaurant, which boasts a thirty-foot indoor waterfall and a pink stucco tower.


While the owner of Casa Bonita and South Park's creators have an agreement in writing, Judge Michael E. Romero still has to sign off on the deal before it can be finalized.

And Novick and Save Casa Bonita are now arguing that Summit Family Restaurants is selling Casa Bonita for less than what it could garner from the advocacy organization. "A key pillar of Chapter 11 is to maximize value of assets for the benefit of creditors and other parties in interest," their motion reads.

In particular, Save Casa Bonita claims that BSV Lamont JCRS, the landlord of the Casa Bonita restaurant, placed "undue influence" on Summit Family Restaurants by telling Summit "that it would not consent to the sale to Save Casa Bonita." In other words, the "landlord strong-armed the Debtor into selecting the Landlord’s preferred buyer for Casa Bonita," the motion says.
Andrew Novick leads Save Casa Bonita. - COURTESY ANDREW NOVICK
Andrew Novick leads Save Casa Bonita.
Courtesy Andrew Novick
The objection notes that in July, Save Casa Bonita sent a letter of intent to purchase Casa Bonita: "The Debtor’s representative, Bob Wheaton, indicated that he was interested in working with Save Casa Bonita, and requested a few changes to the Letter of Intent, but otherwise maintained that he would move forward to sell Casa Bonita to Save Casa Bonita."

In late July, however, Wheaton emailed Save Casa Bonita to let the group know that the landlord wasn't willing to agree to the sale of Casa Bonita. Just two weeks after that email exchange, during a sit-down with Governor Jared Polis to celebrate the 24th anniversary of South Park, Parker and Stone broke the news that they planned to buy Casa Bonita. "I think everyone knows what the potential of that place can be, and we certainly do. I think it's going to be awesome," Parker said. They said they would be working with an experienced restaurant group — reportedly Zeppelin Development, which created the Source and Zeppelin Station, among other projects.


Novick says that he's talked with the attorney for the South Park creators, and "I listed all of the reasons why our group would be better, and the Zeppelins are not restaurateurs. ...The attorney said he didn't want to get our hopes up, but he would talk to Matt and Trey. Several days later, he left a message stating things like, 'They don't want to make any changes to what they're doing in their current plan.' ... At least we got to make our case."

Westword has reached out to the lawyers representing Parker and Stone, Summit Family Restaurants,and BSV Lamont JCRS for comment.

Novick wrote a declaration that's attached to the objection filing, which further lays out his theory of the case:

"Counsel for the landlord previously represented the operating partners of the new buyers and has a close and intimately entwined prior relationship with the new buyers. The group that I am working with strongly believes that the currently proposed sale was not, in fact, an arm's-length deal, and that the landlord pressured Mr. Wheaton to sell to a preferred buyer instead of finalizing an agreement with our group or otherwise allowing a public opportunity to present competitive bids for the restaurant," Novick says. "Our group stands ready, willing and able to purchase Casa Bonita for $3.5 million today, $400,000 more than the current offer presented within the Sale Motion."
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Conor McCormick-Cavanagh is a staff writer at Westword, where he covers a range of beats, including local politics, immigration and homelessness. He previously worked as a journalist in Tunisia and loves to talk New York sports.