LAKEWOOD, Colo. (KDVR) — One of Colorado’s most iconic establishments is being revamped in more ways than just aesthetics.
Casa Bonita was bought by the creators of “South Park,” Trey Parker and Matt Stone, more than a year ago and they’ve been making major changes since. One of the first big announcements was the hiring of executive chef Dana Rodriguez. The most recent improvement is the restaurant’s language program.
Twenty-nine staff members finished a 16-week program to cross-train, not in different positions in the restaurant, but in English and Spanish. Employees are now versed in both languages as it’s a part of the culture at the Mexican eatery.
“Casa Bonita, it’s a Spanish Mexican restaurant and many customers expect you to speak Spanish and English too,” longtime staff member Alex Perez said.
Employees are able to become bilingual compliments of their employer as part of the new look and feel of the Lakewood dining spot.
“It’s very exciting to see people that take the time to go to the school and learn a different language so they can be better at their job, they can communicate better,” Rodriguez said about the program.
Rodriguez moved to Colorado in 1992 from Chihuahua, Mexico, and has worked in numerous kitchens around Denver with some of the top chefs in the state. After years with James Beard Award-winning chef Jennifer Jasinski and Crafted Concepts restaurants, Rodriguez opened her own places that include Work & Class and Super Mega Bien.
Casa Bonita has been around since 1974 but hasn’t reopened since the spring of 2020 after it closed because of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. An opening date has not been set as of yet, but patrons are waiting anxiously for some cliff-diving entertainment.