Food News

Casa Bonita Chefs Will Take Over SAME Cafe on July 22

Casa Bonita employee Cruz Tovar has been staying busy at SAME Cafe.
Casa Bonita employee Cruz Tovar has been staying busy at SAME Cafe. SAME Cafe
Casa Bonita is still in the midst of its makeover under its new owners, South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. But in the meantime, many longtime staffers have been keeping busy through a unique program in which they are being paid to help at local nonprofits including Project Angel Heart, We Don't Waste, the Action Center and Habitat ReStores in Denver and Wheat Ridge.

Chefs Cruz Tovar and Hugo Calberon are two Casa Bonita employees who have been keeping their skills sharp at SAME Cafe, 2023 East Colfax Avenue. The restaurant's name stands for So All May Eat, and it operates on a donation-based model, with meals available on a pay-what-you-can basis. Guests can also "pay" for meals by volunteering time.

"People come in and start talking to each other like they've been friends forever," Calberon says of his experience at the cafe.

Tovar adds that she is “amazed by how the cafe utilizes so many vegetables in so many ways."

Now they'll get to show off their own skills as they take over the menu on Friday, July 22, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. They'll be cooking up pork posole, vegetarian garbanzo bean soup, salad with posole toppings (cabbage, cilantro, onion, radish, lime and tostada mix), mixed greens fruit salad and huarache-style "pizzas” (masa dough flatbread topped with refried beans, meat, veggies, pico de gallo and cheese).

With a menu that appetizing, we can't wait to see what they'll do when Casa Bonita finally reopens. But in the meantime, this charitable program that the new owners plan to continue until that day is very, very satisfying.

SAME Cafe is located at 2023 East Colfax Avenue and is open from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, visit
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Molly Martin is the Westword Food & Drink editor. She’s been writing about the dining scene in Denver since 2013, and was eating her way around the city long before that. She enjoys long walks to the nearest burrito joint and nights spent sipping cocktails on Colfax.
Contact: Molly Martin