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The Hustle

There are millions of reasons why dogs are man’s best friend, but here’s another: They also like snacking because, well, it’s something to do. Two veterinary experts theorize that dogs eat grass because they get bored and gnawing on some lawn linguine passes the time.

In today’s email:

  • Casa Bonita: A Colorado legend returns thanks to… “South Park.”
  • Vow right now: How Vegas became the quickie wedding capital.
  • Alternate reality: Bravo stars make bank beyond their shows.
  • Around the Web: Time wasters, time travelers, and more.

👇 Listen: We sing “Happy Birthday” to Grimace (not really, but we wish McDonald’s big purple oaf many more)

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The Big Idea
Casa Bonita

A Colorado institution’s $40m+ anti-renovation

Despite notoriously bad food and lingering odors, Casa Bonita in Lakewood, Colorado, was a legendary local landmark.

The 52k-square-foot Mexican restaurant was bonkers, with themed dining areas, magic and juggling shows, a “haunted” cave, and cliff divers who careened from a 30-foot indoor waterfall.

Casa Bonita achieved some national notoriety after a 2003 “South Park” episode in which Cartman schemes just to be invited to a birthday party there.

Two decades later, “South Park” creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker own it.

Casa Bonita was once a chain…

… that originated in Oklahoma City in 1968. The Lakewood location opened in 1974, and is the last one standing — yet it hasn’t been an easy ride.

Casa Bonita had long been in disrepair before it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2021. That same year, Parker and Stone bought it for $3.1m. They’ve since dropped $40m+ on restorations, per The New York Times, and opened for a test run last week.

So, what’s new?

Well, the cliff divers are back, but with an improved pool exit that isn’t a narrow underground tunnel that, perilously, leads to an electrical room. Also:

  • Four new bars
  • A ticketing plaza to improve wait times
  • Chef Dana Rodriguez, who was rejected when she applied at Casa Bonita in ‘98; she’s since been nominated for six James Beard awards
  • The kitchen, which apparently had no ovens because everything was steamed

It’s also ADA-compliant, with new plumbing and no more weird odors.

But perhaps most important…

… is what hasn’t changed.

Parker and Stone kept the building’s pink exterior, and its mariachi bands and puppet shows, and sopapillas with honey — the one menu item people seemed to enjoy at the old Casa Bonita.

That dedication to the OG has earned them a waitlist of 100k+ hopeful customers.

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eyeball wearing a hat

Nobody needs reason to celebrate the weird purple blob that is Grimace, but McDonald’s is doing a whole birthday thing for him next week, anyway. This includes a limited-run milkshake that tastes like… whatever “purple berry-flavored” is?


TodAI in AI: Mayo Clinic adopted a new Google Cloud tool — Enterprise Search on Generative AI App Builder — to build a chatbot that lets medical professionals quickly locate patient info.

Meanwhile… AI remains the talk of the billionaire class. Ken Griffin thinks AI hype is “a huge disservice” — and Marc Andreessen (a major AI investor) added way more hype, saying kids will find “the machine version of infinite love” with AI tutors.

Wish you could spend more money on TikTok? You’re in luck. TikTok’s Series feature — a way for creators with 10k+ followers to put a collection of videos behind a paywall — completed its limited test run and is now available in 94 countries.

That’s a lot of bread: Subway plans to open ~4k stores across China over the next 20 years. It currently has ~37k locations in 100+ markets globally.

A raw deal: Taco Bell is expanding its vegan menu with a Vegan Crunchwrap. Initially available in LA, NYC, and Orlando for a limited time, it will cost the same as an original Crunchwrap.

Saw it coming: A radio host filed a libel suit against OpenAI after ChatGPT falsely claimed he was accused of embezzlement. It’s not the first ChatGPT fib, and likely won’t be the last lawsuit.

Broken news: Wanna run CNN? The CEO job is now open, after Chris Licht’s departure. Applicants be warned: The network’s ratings are in decline, lagging behind both Fox News and MSNBC.

Hmm: Fresh off its Vision Pro announcement, Apple has reportedly acquired Mira, an AR startup and US military contractor that made the headsets for Super Nintendo World’s “Mario Kart” ride.

Coca-Cola’s latest experimental Creations flavor is “Ultimate,” a partnership with Riot Games’ “League of Legends.” It hits shelves June 12 and, once again, has no specified flavor, only vibes.


Always wishing you had a few extra hours in the day? We spoke with a Harvard Business School professor who shared her research-backed tips on how you can reclaim your time to live a happier life.

Altar’d State
Wedding Capital video

Watch: How Las Vegas became the quickie wedding capital of the US

Ah, Vegas — where the sacred bond of matrimony can be as quick and efficient as a McDonald’s.

Today, weddings are an integral part of the Vegas economy: Wedding-related tourism accounts for nearly $2B of the city’s annual $58B tourism industry and generates ~18k jobs.

The casual, kitschy 10-15 minute ceremonies are the industry’s bread and butter.

So, how did Las Vegas become the quickie wedding capital of the world? Are shotgun weddings still a moneymaker today? And is there a future for 15-minute weddings in the growing wedding economy?

And do you, in the presence of YouTube’s vast library, filled with cat videos and epic fails, solemnly swear to click that play button, to indulge in the captivating pixels of our latest video?

I do →
Free Resource

How to be more productive

You can mull, moan, mourn… but there are 24 hours in a day.

If you find yourself wishing for more, consider us facilitators. *ahem*

Operate at work like a bona fide titan of industry with this free productivity kit by ClickUp and HubSpot. It has tips and templates to help you purge procrastination and punch the metaphorical workplace clock with pride.

Amplify your output:

  • Respectably work from home
  • Maintain flow-state efficiency
  • Two templates to visualize goals and progress
  • A labor hours calculator for long projects
  • A PIE scoring prioritization chart

Stop slackin’. Get crackin’.

Up your productivity →
Reality Checks
Bravo TV stars

Fake drama, real money on reality TV

When Bravo TV stars aren’t busy cheating, scheming, lying — or getting caught — they make time for entrepreneurship.

Bravolebrities have launched some lucrative side hustles over the years, most of which have nothing to do with their respective shows:

  • Kyle Cooke and Amanda Batula of “Summer House” run beverage company Loverboy, which has generated $38m in sales.
  • Former “Real Housewives of New York City” cast member Bethenny Frankel’s Skinnygirl brand hit ~$50m in annual revenue in 2020.
  • Aspiring-lawyer-turned-reality-star Craig Conover from “Southern Charm” founded pillow brand Sewing Down South.
  • Kandi Burruss — a former member of girl group Xscape and “Real Housewives of Atlanta” star — is worth an estimated $35m, due in part to her sex toy line Bedroom Kandi.

Other B-listers came to reality stardom with businesses already established, using their 15 minutes of fame as free advertising:

  • Lisa Vanderpump of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills owns multiple restaurants in LA and is worth an estimated $90m.
  • Leah McSweeney of “The Real Housewives of New York City” founded clothing brand Married to the Mob.

If you’ve seen a lot about Bravo lately…

… it’s probably because of “Scandoval.” The Sparknotes version? “Vanderpump Rules” cast member Tom Sandoval cheated on his longtime partner and castmate Ariana Madix with their mutual bestie.

While this is bad news for their nine-year relationship (spoiler: it’s over), it’s been great news for Madix’s wallet and her new LA sandwich shop, Something About Her.

Madix and co-star/co-founder Katie Maloney made a reported ~$200k selling merch ahead of the store’s opening.

And big brands have taken note, with Uber, Bic, Lay’s, and more tapping Madix for sponsorships since Scandoval broke.

Moral of the story: Heartbreak hurts less when cushioned by a couple hundred grand.

View on site

🏎️ On this day: In 1948, the first Porsche prototype, known as “No. 1,” was completed. It was made of aluminum and built by hand.

Useful: If you’re a coffee nerd (or would like to be), this interactive tasting wheel is a pretty cool tool for identifying flavor notes.

🙅 How to: Save your team from overextending themselves by helping them say “no.”

📎 Cure boredom: A very simple game in which you make, market, and sell paper clips.

Aww: And now, time travel.

email meme

Anyone know an orthopedic surgeon specializing in “Mark as Read” injuries? (Link)


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Today’s email was brought to you by Jacob Cohen and Juliet Bennett RylahSara Friedman, .
Editing by: Ben “Food and fun in a festive atmosphere” Berkley.

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