At 52,000 square-feet, Casa Bonita is the largest North American restaurant under one roof. It is probably closed now. Back in the day it was popular and of course it was criticized as being corny, silly, that it was serving bad food, (there was a rumor that the taco meat was dog), anything that the wine and cheese crowd didn’t like, they dumped on Casa Bonita. Today it would probably be accused of cultural appropriation and being racist. As I said, I don’t think it’s open but I hope it will be. For me it was one of those guilty pleasures. While I wandered around the grounds thinking how goofy it was, I also felt a childish joy in every discovery around every corner. You can walk behind an indoor waterfall off of which real divers are diving. You can go deep down into a gold mine and sit up on balconies of palaces, while mariachi bands and jugglers wandered around the grounds. You could find a quiet niche in a jail cell and eat beside a gurgling stream. It was one of those all you can eat places with the flag at the table that you ran up when you wanted more food and the waiters and waitresses would scurry and run back-and-forth to make sure you were well fed. I remember the people the tut-tutted about how silly it was, and how childish they felt being in there, never declined going back when I asked. It’s notoriety was solidified when an entire episode of “South Park” was based on it but the notoriety I was most impressed with was the wait staff who were forced to literally run everywhere. I remember one manager saying that the best runners he had ever seen were waiters.
So jump back 69 years to the rumination of a Pastor named Herbert Hohenstein meditating on ISAIAH 40:31 – But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.
“Look, stop all your running, your scurrying to and fro in frantic but futile efforts to get out of your messes and miseries. All your own schemes and devices won’t work. For even at best, no matter how hard and long you run, you are still going to drop down utterly exhausted and done in. For even youths and young men faint and become weary. No, the solutions to your problems are not in running but in waiting on Me -waiting with the sureness and confidence of those who watch for the morning. They know it is coming. There is no doubt about it. Even so you know that I am coming in My good time and according to My carefully and lovingly laid plans for your benefit, coming to rescue you from all your afflictions. Therefore wait. And if you wait with that hope, you will find your strength to endure renewed, you will get the wings of an eagle and rise and fly above all your suffering. Then indeed you will run and not be weary, you will walk and not be faint. For only waiters are good runners.”