What do you get when you mix a 300-pound gorilla, giant skulls, a 30-foot waterfall, battling pirates, ’50s-era carnival games, taxidermy, flamethrowers, a mariachi band and mediocre Mexican food? The Denver area’s kitschiest restaurant, Casa Bonita.
Once you enter, you’ll go through an amusement park-style line system. For some reason, the restaurant thought it would be a good idea to have guests order their food at the door, before waiting in line with a tray for food and then a separate line for a drink. Oddly, you still get an assigned waitress once you sit, to do what I’m not sure. The host will put a flag on your table, and when you need something you raise it.
While the food and service are subpar, what you really go for is the atmosphere. A mix of tacky play land, circus performance and “Alice in Wonderland” surreality, you’ll be wondering what could possibly come next as you pick at your overpriced burrito. During my meal, I saw two pirates ferociously fight over a princess, Olympic-skilled divers flipping into an indoor lagoon, fire eating dancers and a giant ape chasing a safari guide with a butterfly net. I was even serenaded by a Mariachi band. Moreover, I had a caricature drawn, was hit by a pink light saber, wandered over an indoor wooden bridge, got lost in a bubblegum pink tea room and stared out a submarine window at plastic fish bobbing in a milky man-made ocean. Basically, it’s a lot of fun, and worth a few hours just for the shock value. Just make sure to bring your inner child, and a fully charged camera.