Casa Bonita is seeking to hire more than 550 people before the beloved restaurant and entertainment venue in Lakewood makes its highly anticipated re-debut in May.
The company announced Thursday it is now accepting applications for positions in the front-of-house, back-of-house, and on the entertainment staff, such as cliff divers, among other roles.
Executive Chef and Culinary Director Dana Rodriguez, who was nominated for a James Beard award this week, tells The Denver Post she will need 150 people alone to operate the kitchen. Casa Bonita will be the biggest staff she’s ever managed.
“I’ve worked in big kitchens. I worked like Cheesecake Factory and things like that, but to be in charge is a completely different thing,” Rodriguez said.
To prepare for the scale of the operation, Rodriguez is envisioning it like 10 versions of Work & Class, her acclaimed Latin American eatery in Denver, operating side-by-side simultaneously – “like an orchestra,” she said.
The menu is yet to be solidified, but longtime fans can expect to see some of Casa Bonita’s prior dishes — just “in a better way” and made in-house, Rodriguez said.
One thing’s for sure: There will be sopapillas. “I think if we don’t do sopapillas anymore, people will never come back,” Rodriguez said.
But first thing’s first: Hiring. Since the pandemic, restaurants nationwide have been hindered by staffing shortages with many owners lamenting the difficulty of finding workers. Still, Rodriguez remains optimistic. After all, Casa Bonita is known worldwide, as are its new owners, “South Park” creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker, she said.
Plus, who knows, maybe they’ll be part of her next James Beard-nominated restaurant.
“I never care if I win or not. I think to be part of that list, it feels so nice that you can appreciate your people — your staff, the people you work with all the time to make this happen,” she said of her 2023 James Beard nod for “outstanding chef” of the year, a nationally competitive category.
Those who are interested in being a part of the latest chapter in Casa Bonita’s history can peruse online job listings at casabonitajobs.com. Casa Bonita will have translators onsite during the interview process, Rodriguez said. And depending on the role, some employees may start immediately while others’ start dates may be delayed.
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