Colorado can claim to be the birthplace of more than a few restaurant chains, but Illegal Pete's has a way of standing out.

Is it the name? It does bring a feeling of "rebellion." Maybe it's just the cool vibe they put off. Perhaps it's the margaritas?

Something is definitely clicking because 2024 is going to see them have more than a dozen spots.

MyHandleBar Team building at Illegal Pete's
Dave Jensen, TSM

What is With That Name, Anyway?

Pete Turner graduated from CU Boulder, and being someone from Boulder you can see that he has a "love everybody" vibe, no matter where they're from. The "Pete" in the name is actually Pete's dad, Pete Sr. He was a rebel.

RELATED: There's a New 'Underground' Mexican Restaurant in Fort Collins

Where/When Did the First Illegal Pete's Open in Colorado?

It only makes sense that the first Illegal Pete's would be in Boulder; it's on what they call "The Hill" off of 13th and College, and opened in 1995.

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Opening in Arizona Sparked a Petition

When Illegal Pete's opened in Tucson in 2015, a student organization at the University of Arizona began a petition for Illegal Pete's to change their name.

Over 2,700 people signed the petition. There are now two Arizona locations: Tucson and Tempe.

Did You Know They Give Touring Bands Free Food?

I once saw an up-and-coming act at the Fort Collins Illegal Pete's; I had thought that the record label had paid for the food. Looking back now, Pete probably picked up the tab.

They have a "Starving Artists" program that offers free food to bands who are in from out of state. Again, that is "so Boulder."

Where Are These Three New Colorado Illegal Pete's Going to Be?

  • Colorado Springs - 32 S. Tejon Street in Downtown (1st location in Colorado Springs)
  • Boulder - On South Broadway in the Table Mesa shopping center. This will be the third location in Boulder; Denver has the most, with six.
  • Wheat Ridge - They'll be a part of Gold's Marketplace - a revitalization project with the city of Wheat Ridge.

More Colorado Mexican Food: This Spot is One of Colorado's BEST

After opening in 2008, Las Palmeras Mexican Restaurant has become one of the area's very best locally-owned places to get delicious, and authentic Mexican food. We found this place by accident years ago while driving hungry down Main Street in Longmont and have been regulars ever since.

Gallery Credit: Big Rob TSM

30 Of Northern Colorado's Top Rated Mexican Restaurants

One thing to know about Northern Colorado... there is no shortage of Mexican restaurants in our area - great ones too.

If you've got a craving for a seriously mouthwatering Mexican meal, consider checking out one of the 30 highest-rated Mexican restaurants in Fort Collins, Loveland, and Greeley - according to TripAdvisor - to best satisfy your craving: 

Gallery Credit: Maxx

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