LAKEWOOD, Colorado (CBS4)– A consortium of restaurateurs, artists and enthusiasts hopes they can shape the future of Casa Bonita after the owners filed for bankruptcy earlier this month.

Casa Bonita (Image credit: CBS)

“If I bring someone who has never been here to see the look on their face when they come around the corner with their tray of food and see the waterfall; It’s like seeing it for the first time, ”said Andrew Novick, who organized Save Casa Bonita.

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Novick is hands down the biggest Casa Bonita superfan and has had more than 300 visits. He brought friends and strangers together to hopefully determine the future of the legendary restaurant.

“If there’s a restaurant that’s been around for 47 years and everyone is complaining about the food, it’s probably not about the food. There’s so much more to it, ”he said.

“I was approached by a group of restaurateurs, artists and lovers of Casa Bonita. But at first they were very secret and didn’t want to tell me. And I thought there was nothing they could say that would interest me in doing such a thing. Then they said, “Casa Bonita” and I was there, “said Josh Epps, the owner of Jelly Café.” I think it will be gangbusters when these doors open.

LAKEWOOD, CO – JANUARY 11: Casa Bonita Mexican restaurant has been a memory institution for decades, filling kids with countless sopapillas and dreams of falling from the top of an indoor man-made three-story waterfall while people eat tacos and listen to mariachi Music and see puppet shows around them. January 11, 2019. (Photo by Hyoung Chang / The Denver Post via Getty Images)

With restaurant operators like Epps and others in the group, the main goal is to improve the dining options at Casa Bonita when it reopens.

“Everyone who lives in Denver has been here at some point in their life. Everyone has a fond memory of it. Maybe not the food, ”joked Epps. “I don’t want to be negative about it, but there is definitely room for improvement and I think we can do something really exciting there.”

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While the owners seek bankruptcy protection and other investors hold onto the future of the location, Save Casa Bonita is working on getting involved.

“If there is someone who wants to take over Casa Bonita, we want to be involved. When you open Casa Bonita, we want to participate. If we can attract investors and open them up ourselves, that would be the ultimate goal. Just keep raising money and awareness is our goal now, ”said Novick.

A GoFundMe campaign has raised $ 40,000 so far. Novick says he’s not entirely sure what the money will cover but can be used for anything that helps the group secure the restaurant’s next stage.

LAKEWOOD, CO – JANUARY 11: Casa Bonita Mexican restaurant has been a memory institution for decades, filling kids with countless sopapillas and dreams of falling from the top of an artificial three-story indoor waterfall while people eat tacos and listen to mariachi Music and see puppet shows around them. January 11, 2019. (Photo by Hyoung Chang / The Denver Post via Getty Images)

“It definitely feels like there’s a real chance to save this place,” said Epps.

A rally is planned for April 24th to highlight the group’s efforts to save the historic landmark.

“I think it would be amazing to get it locally owned,” said Novick.

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