View Full Version : Casa Bonita closing



Patrick
10-03-2005, 07:44 PM
I'll never forget going to Casa Bonita as a kid. Raising that Mexican flag when you wanted to served on. Eating in the various theme rooms. I've missed Casa Bonita ever since it closed here in OKC. For those of you that may not remember, Casa Bonita was located near 39th and Portland where Taste of China us currently located. Recently, I went to Tulsa and at at their Casa Bonita. I was just as I had remembered it as a child.
I know this landmark restaurant will be missed.

------------
"Landmark restaurant in Tulsa closes
By Tricia Pemberton
The Oklahoman

TULSA - Friday afternoon, Mitch Richter was eating what might have been his last all-you-can-eat Mexican meal at Casa Bonita in Tulsa.
The "might" was because he was lobbying his wife to return to the landmark Tulsa restaurant for dinner -- his last meal at the restaurant before it closed for good.

"It's our anniversary, and we have other plans, but it looks like we might be coming here," Denise Richter said.

The idea was no surprise to Richter's father.

"He's been coming here since he was 5 -- every birthday party, this is where he wanted to come," Ed Richter said.

On Friday, Mitch, 36, sat in the damp, cold cave room alongside his son, Wesley, 5, sticky from sopapillas.

"I just love it -- the food, the atmosphere," Mitch Richter said.

The Richters were lucky. They got to the restaurant about 10:30 a.m. Friday and only had to wait about an hour for lunch. About 150 people stretched outside the garish Pepto-Bismol pink building at 21st and Sheridan. No one seemed to mind the more-than two-hour wait to be seated in one of the restaurant's theme rooms -- the waterfall, the nighttime Mexican village or in the ever-popular cave.

"I've been coming here since I was 3," Karen Shufeldt said. She and her husband, Rodger, made the 80-mile trip from Coffeyville.

"We had to come since it was the last day," she said.

Others in line had come from Bartlesville, Briartown, Broken Arrow, some from Oklahoma City.

They reminisced about the restaurant's funky decor, the piping-hot sopapillas that were brought to the table after little flags were raised, the Treasure Room where game tickets were redeemed for small prizes.

By Friday afternoon, the gift shop was bare of any Casa Bonita merchandise.

Bill Garrison, who now lives in Broken Arrow, said he came to say good-bye to a special place from his past. Garrison, 57, said he was the first floor manager at the restaurant when it opened in 1971.

"I worked on putting up these trees in here and tying on the flowers. I helped put the finishing touches on the cave. I had to hire, train and schedule about 140 kids that worked here," Garrison said.

About 10 of the 100 employees have been there since the restaurant opened, said a manager, who didn't want to be named.

Others who have been there less time said they were caught by surprise by the closing.

"We didn't know until Tuesday we were closing," said Dianne Bishop, who's worked at the restaurant about three months. "Now we've got no jobs, no notice, no anything."

The restaurant's owner, Salt Lake City-based Star Buffet, did not return calls Thursday or Friday about why the restaurant was closing.

Leasing Manager Jim Gonders with McDowell and Associates, did not answer that question either.

Casa Bonita restaurants in Oklahoma City and Little Rock, Ark., closed in 1993, with then-owner Black-Eyed Pea Management Corp. cited declining revenues.

A Casa Bonita in Lakewood, Colo., will remain open, a manager there said Friday. "

swake
10-04-2005, 11:03 AM
I'll never forget going to Casa Bonita as a kid. Raising that Mexican flag when you wanted to served on. Eating in the various theme rooms. I've missed Casa Bonita ever since it closed here in OKC. For those of you that may not remember, Casa Bonita was located near 39th and Portland where Taste of China us currently located. Recently, I went to Tulsa and at at their Casa Bonita. I was just as I had remembered it as a child.
I know this landmark restaurant will be missed.

------------
"Landmark restaurant in Tulsa closes
By Tricia Pemberton
The Oklahoman

TULSA - Friday afternoon, Mitch Richter was eating what might have been his last all-you-can-eat Mexican meal at Casa Bonita in Tulsa.
The "might" was because he was lobbying his wife to return to the landmark Tulsa restaurant for dinner -- his last meal at the restaurant before it closed for good.

"It's our anniversary, and we have other plans, but it looks like we might be coming here," Denise Richter said.

The idea was no surprise to Richter's father.

"He's been coming here since he was 5 -- every birthday party, this is where he wanted to come," Ed Richter said.

On Friday, Mitch, 36, sat in the damp, cold cave room alongside his son, Wesley, 5, sticky from sopapillas.

"I just love it -- the food, the atmosphere," Mitch Richter said.

The Richters were lucky. They got to the restaurant about 10:30 a.m. Friday and only had to wait about an hour for lunch. About 150 people stretched outside the garish Pepto-Bismol pink building at 21st and Sheridan. No one seemed to mind the more-than two-hour wait to be seated in one of the restaurant's theme rooms -- the waterfall, the nighttime Mexican village or in the ever-popular cave.

"I've been coming here since I was 3," Karen Shufeldt said. She and her husband, Rodger, made the 80-mile trip from Coffeyville.

"We had to come since it was the last day," she said.

Others in line had come from Bartlesville, Briartown, Broken Arrow, some from Oklahoma City.

They reminisced about the restaurant's funky decor, the piping-hot sopapillas that were brought to the table after little flags were raised, the Treasure Room where game tickets were redeemed for small prizes.

By Friday afternoon, the gift shop was bare of any Casa Bonita merchandise.

Bill Garrison, who now lives in Broken Arrow, said he came to say good-bye to a special place from his past. Garrison, 57, said he was the first floor manager at the restaurant when it opened in 1971.

"I worked on putting up these trees in here and tying on the flowers. I helped put the finishing touches on the cave. I had to hire, train and schedule about 140 kids that worked here," Garrison said.

About 10 of the 100 employees have been there since the restaurant opened, said a manager, who didn't want to be named.

Others who have been there less time said they were caught by surprise by the closing.

"We didn't know until Tuesday we were closing," said Dianne Bishop, who's worked at the restaurant about three months. "Now we've got no jobs, no notice, no anything."

The restaurant's owner, Salt Lake City-based Star Buffet, did not return calls Thursday or Friday about why the restaurant was closing.

Leasing Manager Jim Gonders with McDowell and Associates, did not answer that question either.

Casa Bonita restaurants in Oklahoma City and Little Rock, Ark., closed in 1993, with then-owner Black-Eyed Pea Management Corp. cited declining revenues.

A Casa Bonita in Lakewood, Colo., will remain open, a manager there said Friday. "



Wait, the news is NOT bad here, it's good.

Casa Bonita is not really closing, the current owners were not allowed to renew the lease on the building, and the founder of Casa Bonita is taking the over business. It will be rename Casa Viva and will be the same as before, except for the food, which had gotten pretty bad over the years, will be improved. There will also be related Taco Viva fast food resturants in the Tulsa area, just like Taco Bueno was at one time related to Casa Bonita. no opening date has been report, yet.

Casa Viva already exists in Little Rock in a former Casa Bonita location.

karlanee
10-04-2005, 11:37 AM
I have to agree, the food was not as good the last time I ate there as what I remember it used to be.

That's good news about it not closing. My girls love eating in the cave room.

escan
10-04-2005, 01:36 PM
Wow! Really??? I thought it was all going away...yippeee.