DENVER - Denver's iconic Casa Bonita Mexican restaurant, one of the state's largest tourist attractions, is about to celebrate its 40th anniversary.
The Colfax Avenue landmark, with its unique entertainment options including Acapulco cliff divers, Black Bart's Cave, western gunfights and a mischievous 500 pound gorilla name Chiquita, opened its doors on March 27, 1974, and is enjoying a resurgence of fame after being featured on the Comedy Central show "South Park."
Since its opening at 6715 W Colfax Ave., in what was once a Joslin's department store, Casa Bonita has been host to millions of guests and has become a favorite destination for both kids and adults alike.
According to restaurant officials, the name Casa Bonita has a special meaning: "beautiful house." In order to build the beautiful house, Casa Bonita officials said they brought in some of the most renowned architects to design the layout we know today without a single blueprint -- the architects and carpenters constructed as they went.
The Book of Mormon, as well as other famous productions, have held cast parties in the restaurant and popular local bands such as The Fray, have held CD release parties within its walls.
Casa Bonita Facts:
-The Casa Bonita tower stands 85 feet tall and is capped with a gold leaf dome. On top of the dome stands Cuauhtémoc, the last Aztec emperor.
-The 20-foot wide by 20-foot high fountain was shipped in pieces from Guadalajara and is surrounded on three sides by authentic Mexican décor.
-There are three levels totaling 52,000 square feet, making the facility the largest restaurant under one roof on the North American continent.
-The restaurant's waterfall stands 30 feet tall, and features a 14-foot deep lagoon surrounded by rocky cliffs reminiscent of those in Acapulco Mexico.