View Full Version : Casa Bonita

04-25-2011, 09:53 PM
Is it reopened, I heard it came back.

Larry OKC
04-26-2011, 02:36 AM
Did a quick google search hoping you were correct but the only thing I could find was about it reopening after the failed Casa Viva incarnation. Anyway, here is the closing story

Casa Bonita closes doors again

Tulsa's Casa Bonita, the open-again, closed-again mix of Tex-Mex restaurant and theme park, closed its doors again this month.

Although Scottsdale, Ariz.-based operator Star Buffet Inc. could not be immediately reached, a sign on the door of the restaurant at 21st Street and Sheridan Road reads: "We Thank You For your years of visiting and Dinning (sic) with us. We Are Sorry to say that we are closed for Business."

A Wikipedia history of the restaurant notes the Tulsa location opened in 1971. The interior was designed to create the outdoor nighttime atmosphere of a Mexican village. Its various themed dining areas, with seating for more than 500, include a village square with fountain, a two-level lantern-lit cave, a tropical garden with a 20-foot waterfall and stream, and a room resembling an aristocratic dining hall with strolling mariachis.

Founder Bill Waugh opened the first Casa Bonita restaurant in Oklahoma City in 1968. By the mid-1970s, the chain had expanded to locations in adjacent states and was known for its "all you can eat" beef or chicken plates and offering sopapillas* small squares of fried bread served with honey with every meal.

In 1982, the company (including Taco Bueno fast food restaurants) was sold to Unigate. In 1992, Unigate sold the restaurants to CKE Restaurants, owner of Carl's Jr. In 1997, the two remaining Casa Bonita restaurants were spun off by CKE as part of Star Buffet.

The Tulsa location closed in September 2005, then reopened for a two-year run under the name Casa Viva, which went out of business in December 2007. Casa Bonita was reopened by Star Buffet under the original name in late July 2008.

I emailed Denver asking about the decor etc (my dining room is done in Casa Bonita/Taco Bueno) and they basically said they have nothing to do with the Tulsa location and as far as they knew, the owner of the strip mall has possession of the contents (was told Casa's founder Bll Waugh, was the owner).

If you find out that they are reopening PLEASE post! Thanks in advance!

04-26-2011, 07:15 AM
Don Sharp was the designer for them. Does anyone know whatever happened to him?

Larry OKC
04-29-2011, 01:22 AM
For some reason that name isn't ringing a bell at all. Don't doubt it and I know I have something at the house that mentions the designer (couldn't find anything on the net). Will try to find it this weekend.

Larry OKC
04-29-2011, 07:25 AM
Don Sharp was the designer for them. Does anyone know whatever happened to him?

Found the article I was thinking of "Casa Bonita Getting Ready to ...". It ran in the Oklahoman (7/1/86), the year of the OKC location remodel. After reading it, I recall seeing his name on the Dedication plaque of either the Tulsa location. Fairly certain I have a pic of it somewhere from the closing weekend. I haven't found anything referencing Don Sharp. Anyone have any other info?

When officials decided to fix up the original Casa, they sought out their former restaurant designer, Phil Phillips. He had created the right Mexican theme look for Casa stores in Little Rock, Ark., Denver, Colo., and Tulsa.

Phillips returned as a consultant. Casa planners budgeted $350,000 for the Oklahoma City renovation...

04-29-2011, 11:03 PM
So basically no one is sure?

Larry OKC
04-30-2011, 02:17 AM
Not saying they couldn't be reopening it, but there hasn't been any announcements to that effect. Without driving by to check first hand...

05-10-2011, 11:10 AM
Casa Bonita's food is the worst on the planet. It makes Taco Bell seem gourmet.

Larry OKC
05-12-2011, 03:58 AM
When they did it right, it couldn't be beat ...but when they did it wrong, I am afraid you are pretty close

Can't speak to the non-all-you-can-eat menu, but my favorite things were the Sour Cream Chicken enchiladas (sinfully rich and creamy), tacos (beef or chicken), the cheese enchiladas, fruit punch and of course the sopapias(sp). Sadly the Casa Viva and latest round of Casa Bonita incarnations were failures on the food front (despite the promises that the quality would return).

06-23-2011, 11:12 AM
My family lived in Pawhuska in the early '70s and a trip to the CB in Tulsa was a RED-LETTER DAY lemmetellya! As a family of 7, we sometimes were seated in the cave with the round table - the ultimate! Then there was the volcano and the sopapilla cart. We loved that place.

Larry OKC
01-31-2012, 08:17 PM
Has anyone heard anything about an auction of Casa Bonita in the past couple of weeks? I looked online and couldn't find a match. There is a guy selling a portrait (that I didnt recognize) on EBay that he said he bought from a sale at the Tulsa Casa Bonita a couple of weeks ago. He didn't know which room it was hanging in either. last I had heard, when they closed it for the final time just over a year ago, everything was supposedly put into storage. The Denver folks know little to nothing about it. There was a Tulsa World article from last year where some former employees were looking to see if they could get any investors to open it back up as it appears that the current owners of CB (the same parent company that owns Hometown Buffet, Ryans, Fire Mountain etc filed for bankruptcy protection not very long ago. There are quite a few items I would be VERY interested in acquiring to add to my existing CB/TB collection.

01-31-2012, 10:15 PM
There was an auction not long ago, the place is being converted into what I am sure will be a lame night club called "The Caves".

It's really not a good part of town anymore.

Larry OKC
02-04-2012, 11:03 PM
Dagnabit! Very disappointing to hear

Larry OKC
02-06-2012, 06:52 PM
Just when i was getting over the thought of missing the sale by a couple of weeks, i just found out this morning (Mon) that I missed it by 2 an email from the guy that had bought the drawing I mentioned of a Craigslist ad advertising the sale was Saturday Feb 4th 2012, 9 am...entire building decor/equipment liquidation sale (not even an auction)...was upset right now...RIP my friend, you will be rembered