By Jeff Todd

LAKEWOOD, Colo.(CBS4) – On Flag Day, enthusiasts of Casa Bonita gathered to honor one of the most beloved traditions from arguably Colorado’s most iconic restaurant — raising the flag to get more sopapillas.

“Our mission to make sure Casa Bonita doesn’t disappear from this area,” said Danny Newman, the co-owner of My Brother’s Bar. “We’ve got to keep a lot of these old amazing places that really are the heart and soul of Denver and surrounding areas.”

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Fans of Casa Bonita came to the community event at My Brother’s Bar on Monday to raise a flag and raise more awareness to the effort to save the Lakewood entertainment destination.

Newman joined a diverse group to set up SaveCasaBonita.org. An accompanying online fundraising campaign has raised more than $65,000. Recently the organization hired an attorney to monitor Casa Bonita’s Chapter 11 Bankruptcy case, and even purchased some of the debt to become involved in the case.

“We’ve been interacting with ownership for the past year at varying levels of interest,” Newman said. “This just gets us closer to part of the bankruptcy proceedings, so we’re included in all the updates and hearings and everything.”

The organization hopes to either buy the restaurant and its intellectual property, or at least be involved to set it back on a solid foundation. Creditors say they haven’t been paid in more than a year.

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Newman has saved a Denver institution once before. He and his parents bought My Brother’s Bar in 2016 to save it from demolition and gentrification. It’s the oldest continuously operating bar in Denver with a beloved cheeseburger.

“We haven’t changed the menu, we haven’t done a thing, but we did things like add air conditioning and a computer system, accepted credit cards. These are things that don’t detract from the experience,” he said.

For Newman, helping save Casa Bonita is personal. He has many memories from growing up and going to parties or dinners. His mom worked at Casa Bonita before leaving to start working at My Brother’s Bar decades ago, and his father was one of the first cliff divers ever hired at Casa Bonita, but collegiate athletic eligibility kept him from taking the job.

“We just want to make sure that what makes this city unique, historically, maintains,” he said.

Jeff Todd