THE PETE'S STORY
THE MORE. THE MERRIER.
We celebrate humanity. We celebrate individuality. We celebrate relationships and connections. And most importantly, we celebrate every human’s need for tasty food, stiff drinks and good times. Well, maybe it’s not a need, but it’s certainly a want. Either way, it’s our desire to make each Illegal Pete’s location the kind of place where you can go to celebrate more with other humans.
When you ask Illegal Pete’s founder Pete Turner why he first opened a restaurant in 1995, he remembers his main goal: “I wanted to create a fun and energetic atmosphere with music playing, employees having fun, and I wanted to include our customers in the fun.”
Armed with an English degree from the University of Colorado, Pete started the original Illegal Pete’s on The Hill in Boulder, bringing Mission-style burritos to a bustling college neighborhood. Inspired by the name of a bar in a novel, he chose “Illegal Petes” to convey the unique, countercultural atmosphere he wanted to foster.
It was also a personal choice: “The name resonated with me for the obvious reason that my name is Pete, but of equal importance, it was my father’s name. He was also a bit of a good-natured hell-raiser in his day, and he was my moral support during the months leading to opening and the two years of operation up to his death in August 1997.”
Over 23 years, Illegal Pete’s has expanded from that original location on The Hill to include restaurants up and down Colorado’s front range and in Arizona. 2018 will also see more Illegal Pete’s open in Colorado and beyond.
The pairing of fast, healthy food with a vibrant cultural atmosphere remains the core of the Illegal Pete’s experience. In addition to being a restaurant and bar, each location is also a music venue and hangout. You’ll see a lot of diversity at Pete’s, from the diners to the employees to the playlist jamming from the speakers. At Illegal Pete’s, it’s about meeting the masses where their interests lie, and our anti-cookie-cutter, ever-changing formula enables us to achieve this. As we say at Illegal Pete’s: