First Look: Illegal Pete's Comes to Colfax Avenue

The new Illegal Pete's in the old Mama's Cafe building.EXPAND
The new Illegal Pete's in the old Mama's Cafe building.
Mark Antonation

Illegal Pete's took over an abandoned former IHOP at 2001 East Colfax Avenue two years ago and converted it into a towering cathedral of Colorado-style, fast-casual Mexican. The eighth Colorado Illegal Pete's — and the ninth overall, including a new Tuscon, Arizona, outpost — opens to the public tomorrow morning (May 13) at 7 a.m.

Mama's Cafe was the last occupant of the address, and Illegal Pete's founder Pete Turner has preserved much of the sign out front as well as the original IHOP A-frame architecture. But the roof is clad in new sheet metal, and there's a second A-frame perpendicular to the main building that serves as the entryway and open framework above much of the spacious patio.

The interior has been expanded to 3,500 square feet,  and the design, by Xan Creative, includes a new mezzanine suspended between the main dining room and the vaulted wooden ceilings, which were exposed after decades of being hidden by drop-panel ceilings. New windows and skylights were added to bring in the Colorado sun, and a new commissary kitchen was built in the back so that Denver locations of the burrito chain will no longer need to rely on the Boulder location for food prep.

Other features include an indoor-outdoor bar, more than twenty beers on tap and a custom-made tap handle from Pabst Blue Ribbon — a one-of-a-kind that's kind of creepy. Otherwise, expect the same beloved menu of overstuffed burritos, tacos, quesadillas and cocktails.

Illegal Pete's opens tomorrow at 7 a.m. for breakfast and will host a number of celebratory events all weekend. For more photos, see our complete slideshow.

There's a new Pete on East Colfax: Pete Turner.EXPAND
There's a new Pete on East Colfax: Pete Turner.
Mark Antonation
Assorted soft tacos.EXPAND
Assorted soft tacos.
Mark Antonation
The new Illegal Pete's fits in well on Colfax.EXPAND
The new Illegal Pete's fits in well on Colfax.
Mark Antonation
Yikes! A custom-made PBR tap handle.EXPAND
Yikes! A custom-made PBR tap handle.
Mark Antonation
Looking up the stairs to the mezzanine.EXPAND
Looking up the stairs to the mezzanine.
Mark Antonation
A view from the top.EXPAND
A view from the top.
Mark Antonation
Use Current Location

Related Location

miles
Illegal Pete's

2001 E. Colfax Ave.
Denver, CO 80206

www.illegalpetes.com


Sponsor Content

Newsletters

All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories
    Send:

Newsletters

All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >