Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

Restaurants lay out new welcome mats at campus doorstep

A few new flavors will greet students coming back to campus for the New Year.

Pita Jungle, a long-time fixture on the west bank of South University Boulevard, has reinvented itself to include Indian cuisine paired with its familiar Mediterranean-style fare. The moderately priced restaurant is now called Aroma Café and Grill. It sports a clean, classic look and promotes a friendly atmosphere, says co-owner Asaid Ibzae.

“We wanted to change customer service and the look of the place,” Ibzae says. “Our goal is to make the neighborhood happy.”

Aroma Café will offer fresh, homemade dishes such as chicken or beef shawarma and biryani, a rice and meat or vegetable dish with Indian spices. The restaurant will operate until 10 p.m., then serve food late at the Hookah café next door, a tobacco and tea Internet emporium.

Ibzae and his partners Mohamad Osmani and Raza Qasemi hope the Hookah will become a casual drop-in destination combining exotic-flavored tobaccos with Turkish coffee and Indian and Persian teas. They hope to have live music on weekends but will not serve alcohol.

Aroma is at 2017 S. University Blvd. near the southwest corner of Asbury Avenue. For more information call 720-570-1900.

University Sports Grill

The lineup of places near campus with sports themes continues to expand with University Sports Grill, a newcomer to the 1975-era building at 2442 S. University Blvd., previously occupied by Cherry Hills Cleaners.

The cleaners relocated to the west side of University Boulevard, giving Sports Grill co-owners Dave Seubert and Lyle Wilson a chance to create a cozy neighborhood-style gathering spot on the east bank between Harvard and Wesley avenues. The grill offers sandwiches, burgers and Mexican fare, but its specialty is Italian, Seubert says.

The signature dish is the calzone, he says, which comes in meatball, sausage, combination or vegetarian.

“We make everything from scratch — pasta, sauces, bread,” Seubert says.

There’s even a $7 blue-plate special that varies daily and is actually served on blue plates as diners in the 1920s once did.

Hours are 10:30 to 1:30 a.m. daily. For information or take-out orders, call 720-920-9611.

Illegal Pete’s

Efforts to open an Illegal Pete’s restaurant at the former Piccolo’s at East Evans Avenue and South Williams Street have been set back, says business owner Pete Turner, but not diminished.

Turner says he had expected to complete renovation of the building by last summer but was thwarted by loan problems and has had to delay the opening.

Even so, Turner insists he likes the location and is determined to open what will be the sixth edition of the Illegal Pete’s chain that began in Boulder in 1995.

“We had our best year ever,” he says. “We had all our permits and a contractor hired. We were ready to go.”

Turner says he’s hopeful he can complete the financing and open the doors to the Mexican-style restaurant sometime in the first quarter of 2009.

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