I raised the flag at the Casa Bonita on South University more than a few times. Food was pretty average, as I recall (although my palate for TexMex was pretty undeveloped at the time), but the atmosphere was fun.
Have very fond memories of eating at Casa Bonita… My Dad called the sopapillas “hollow biscuits” … we ate our share of those…
I have ate at the one they used to have in Tulsa . Good place.
Back in the days I visited Arkansas as often as I could, I ate there and always liked it. Hated to see it gone.
I was in band in high school. We marched in the state competition at War Memorial and ate there.
Raise the flag for more food. Great memories of Casa Bonita. Had dinner there one night at the table next to Bobby Duckworth.
Great memories of the Little Rock location and the Denver one (went there in 1978). Went back to the Denver location a couple of years ago (I think it is the only one still open), it was, well, not what I remembered.
But I still have great memories from the 70’s and 80’s!
I used to eat at the one in Tulsa. It was pretty darned good.
I think it was about $3 when I was going there in late 70’s. That included the punch. As I recall, punch was the drink of choice there at that time.
A movie next door at the Cinema 150 after dinner made for an enjoyable evening.
I was born in Fort Smith but my family moved to El Paso when I was an infant, and I stayed there through my college years (UTEP) - though I was always a rabig Hog fan from as far back as I can remember.
I mention this because there were no Casa Bonitas there. However, El Paso was the original home of Pancho’s Mexican Buffet, which started up sometime in the 50’s. We ate there frequently (well - frequently for those days, when Mom normally cooked almost all of our meals; I’d say we went there every 2-3 months) and it was excellent. When I first remember going in the early to mid-60’s, I vividly remember that the buffet was “$.99 for adults and $.50 for children”. And believe me, my family got our money’s worth!
I know that in it’s final days, Pancho’s had - sadly - gone down hill quite a bit. But in the 60’s through the 90’s, I had many a good meal there. LOVED the hot sopapillas, but really like almost everything on their menu. I wouldn’t call it “upscale” Mexican food by any means, but then again, Mexican food has always been kind of “blue collar” for me anyhow - not fancy, but satisfying!
I miss it.
Update Just did some research and see there is now a location in North Richland Hills. I’m going to make a field trip over there soon to see if they still sell the same fare or if someone’e just using the name to draw folks.
I took Jean Ann to Casa Bonita for our first date. It was quite the affair. Not the food. It was a triple date. I don’t remember all the details, but the other two couples – at least half of them – were Leo Crafton and Ricky Harrell. Leo’s dad was Hippo Crafton, the owner of United Motors in Conway. It was the oldest Chrysler Dealership owned by the same family at that time. Hippo was always generous to me (and probably others). For Friday night dates, he’d loan us a new car to drive. This particular time we took a Chrysler New Yorker off the show room floor, easily big enough for three couples. Hippo would ask who Leo’s date was to be that night. Often, if it was a girl he really liked, he’d slip a $50 into my pocket and demand, “Make sure my son and his date have a good time.” The $50 covered everything at Casa Bonita that night.
Jean Ann and I had a great time. They had characters dressed in costume come to your table for entertainment. They’d pull the flags down and point to servers to bring more food. I raised the flag and pointed to Jean Ann (who didn’t want any more food) for fun and she got mad at me, although she tried to hold it. The date was interesting in that she called me Henry throughout the night. I thought nothing of it. College kids called each other by their last names routinely in those days, probably still do.
Then, a few dates later I was in her house waiting for her to finish getting ready and noticed a chalk board on the refrigerator on which she and her three roommates left each other phone messages. It said she was going on a date again with Henry Clay. She had my name backwards up until that point. We all got a kick out of that when I showed her my Driver’s License to get her corrected. She wasn’t going to believe my first name was Clay without proof. For a long time after that she’d address me with my full name – like the Subway song, Clay Henry, Clay Henry – just to prove she had it correct. We both knew early on that we would be married. Leo introduced me after getting to know her in his Sunday school class at the baptist church in Conway. His explanation to me, “Clay, Jean Ann is the marrying kind.” There was a prediction that she would be my last date and he was right.
We revisited Casa Bonita in Tulsa during our days living there. Family always enjoyed it. We loved telling our girls that this is where the family started – first date stuff. There was a McDonald’s out front with a train caboose. Kids would like to go there to play after Casa Bonita.
Family favorite for us, Little Rock and Tulsa. After we retired and moved back to Arkansas, sad to find they had both closed. Great family restaurant.
Henry Clay doesn’t work as well as Clay Henry. After all, Clay Henry has a Subway commercial and Clay Henry is a beer drinking goat.
When I lived in El Paso from 58 to 61, Pancho’s was a local family owned place and their Chii Verde was great.
Can’t find Chili Verde in Georgia.
I was working for Oklahoma Tire and Supply in the 70s and 80s. The company annual meeting was in Tulsa each year. My wife, Mary and I got acquainted with the place and every time we were in Tulsa made it a stop. We really enjoyed it.
There was enough cheese served on everything to start another Wisconsin … of course that’s what made it so good.
Don’t see how it could beat the Mexico Chiquita in Protho Junction back in the early 60’s. Just walk in they started serving. I don’t even remember how many courses between chips and ice cream. Haven’t found as good Mexican since. /b]