Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

Construction for Mexican eatery to begin in September

Illegal Pete’s, a California Mission District-style Mexican restaurant, is inching its way toward opening in late December.

The restaurant will be in the former Piccolo’s at the southwest corner of East Evans Avenue and South Williams Street.

After lengthy delays, owner Pete Turner got the green light to schedule renovations when the city of Denver in late July approved plans for an outdoor patio on the east side of the building.

“We anticipate swingin’ hammers in late September,” says Turner, president of the chain that began in Boulder 13 years ago. The Evans Avenue restaurant will be the sixth location. Construction will take about 10 weeks.

The work will be to upgrade the building’s systems in addition to constructing the patio and a pass-through from the bar area, Turner says.

Permits for the patio come with restrictions. The patio will be limited to 36 seats — about 6 or 7 tables — and outdoor speakers or patio parties will not be allowed, according to a Board of Adjustment document. Lighting must be limited to prevent intrusion into neighbors’ property, and outdoor hours will be limited to 10 p.m. on weekdays and 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

The patio will be fenced but not enclosed, although Turner says he would consider installing a heated enclosure “down the road.”

The menu at Pete’s will be similar to that at other locations, where the chain specializes in “fast, fresh, healthy” burritos, tacos, nachos and salads. The restaurant will open at 7:30 a.m. for breakfast, he says.

“It’s been challenging [to open] given the economic climate,” Turner says. “But we’re really excited. The area is very underserved. There’s a great opportunity there.

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