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Casa Bonita plans safety, crowd control plans for reopening

As Casa Bonita marks its 49th anniversary, 9NEWS has obtained public documents describing the restaurant's focus on security and anticipated crowds expected in May.

LAKEWOOD, Colo. — From active shooter training to a search for overflow parking, an email obtained by 9NEWS reveals how Casa Bonita managers are communicating with the city and preparing for large crowds when the iconic restaurant reopens in May. 

Monday marked the restaurant’s 49th anniversary. The Mexican restaurant opened in Lakewood on March 27, 1974. It became even more famous thanks to a South Park episode that aired in 2003.

So far, an exact opening date hasn’t been announced, but the new owners, Matt Stone and Trey Parker who created South Park, announced late last year the restaurant will open sometime in May. 

9NEWS has reported the pair have poured millions of dollars into repairs and renovations into the restaurant. 

“We still hope to connect with our neighbors about parking as we want to only have a positive impact on the neighborhood as we bring 500 new employees, and millions of guests a year,” reads part of an email by sent by Casa Bonita Human Resources manager Elisabeth Nietch to Lakewood Mayor Adam Paul. 

The message, obtained by 9NEWS through a records request, was sent to address concerns the restaurant wasn’t communicating enough with the city. 

The email was sent in February and outlines the restaurant’s efforts for safety, overflow parking, transit and potential impacts to the surrounding neighborhoods. 

The email indicated Casa Bonita managers have been meeting regularly with city police and other officials to address security and crowds.

Some highlights from the email: 

  • Police officers, including the SWAT team are expected to tour the restaurant. 
  • Casa Bonita employees are also expected to undergo active shooter training and fire drills. 
  • Overflow parking and increased transit may be needed. The restaurant is looking at surrounding parking lots open on the weekends, including the Colorado Department of Revenue and a Park and Ride at 14th and Wadsworth. 
  • Casa Bonita plans to meet with surrounding neighborhoods.  

A city document titled “Patrol Division Staff Notes” provided to 9NEWS was heavily redacted, but referenced Casa Bonita’s plans to open in May. 

The City of Lakewood told 9NEWS on Monday the restaurant still has not disclosed an opening date, but acknowledged the police department is working on plans. 

9NEWS reached out to a Casa Bonita spokesperson, but did not hear back at the time of this publication. 

If you have any information about this story or would like to send a news tip, you can contact jeremy@9news.com.



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