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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Controversy aside, Illegal Pete’s is worth a visit

    Tom Price
    Illegal Pete’s, a new restaurant on University Boulevard on Thursday. The restaurant’s recent opening caused controversy due to its name.

    In a class last semester, I remember having to do a writing exercise that changed simple syntax into savory sentences. One sentence was about a person eating a giant burrito and I recall having a difficult time deciding how to depict this. Quite literally, the problem was: What’s in the burrito?
    Now when I crave a burrito, I know exactly what I want in it and it’s not always the same thing. Like sentences, my burritos can be plain with beans, or have nacho cheese with spiced veggies and juicy meat. That’s just one way to have your meal at Illegal Pete’s.
    I first heard of Illegal Pete’s from the protests over the insensitivity of its name. After all, there’s no such thing as bad press, right? My dream of an authentic Mexican food restaurant closer to campus seemed to be fulfilled. In reality, that’s not quite accurate.
    The Tex-Mex restaurant first opened in 1995; in other words, it’s about as old as many students. Offensive or not, owner Pete Turner’s intentions to create an “illegal” atmosphere proves conducive to University Boulevard. Often measured against the more well-known chain across the street, Chipotle.
    “I’ve had nachos and a steak burrito; it’s great. Possibly better than Chipotle,” physiology senior Mike Abrahamson said. “I really enjoyed getting a beer and sitting on the balcony with friends in perfect weather.”
    Illegal Pete’s is open until 2:30 a.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights and has a full service bar on both floors of the two-story eating area. When busy, it’s loud inside like a bar although the music isn’t overpowering and gets my stamp of approval on trendiness. Some students are taking notice.
    “The line’s out the door every time I go there,” communications senior Lexi Lightfoot said. “I love ending a night out at Illegal Pete’s.”
    “The more the merrier” could be the motto of Illegal Pete’s. When it comes to employees, all were friendly and appeared to be genuinely enjoying themselves the entire time I was there. The restaurant is dedicated to providing a living wage to its workers, along with its commitment to natural food and live music performances.
    Illegal Pete’s has its own record label with various bands and comedians and provides free meals to hungry artists coming through town. Even not-so-starving favorites like Weezer and Morrissey have enjoyed a free meal from Illegal Pete’s.
    With burritos, nachos, tacos, quesadillas filled to the brim with beef, chicken, carnitas or fish served along with different types of veggies—in addition to alcohol—there really is something for everyone.
    My personal favorite: the breakfast offerings during early opening hours. Even if you show up bright and early, expect a crowd any time.

    Follow Gretchyn Kaylor on Twitter.

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