Illegal Pete’s is a restaurant with a very unusual name. However, despite the name’s connotations, the owner is not about to change it.
Pete Turner read about a similarly named bar in a novel, and it apparently stuck in his mind as a way of telling its clientele that his establishment was a fun place to eat and hang out. It’s controversial enough to make you look twice, and hopefully people won’t take the name too literally.
The other inspiration Turner took for the restaurant was the way a previous establishment in Boulder, Colorado, ran its business. Upon visiting the restaurant in college, he had noticed a certain lack in customer service, as though “they were doing their customers a favor by taking their money.”
Turner’s full explanation can be found on his restaurant’s website by clicking here.
Unfortunately, the name Illegal Pete’s has been deemed offensive, especially to those who might be attracted to the food he serves. Protesters such as We Are Not Illegal have pointed out that the word “illegal” is a poor way to sell Mexican food, indicating that anyone from that part of North America is an illegal immigrant who jumped the border.
Even without the potentially racist connotation, the name could also be mistaken for a chain of restaurants used to launder money from drugs or black market gun sales. The connection would be too obvious to work though, sounding like something out of a Matt Groening or Seth MacFarlane cartoon.
— Phx Ken (@PhxKen) November 8, 2014
Turner continued to explain the name on the website’s blog.
“The adjective ‘illegal’ was an exciting part of the name for me for a number of reasons. The first reason was personal: my dad was a bit of a good-natured hell raiser when he was a younger man in that he always tried to keep the party going just a little bit longer; hearing these stories from his friends, it became innate in me to try and keep the party going a little longer too. Second, the name to me was unique and counter-cultural, which I appreciated as a younger man. Still do. It’s typically the counter-cultural places in our society that are the most accepting of individuals from all different walks of life.”
Milton Guevara, a general manager of the strangely named restaurant, told Fox News he has no problem with it.
“I’m Hispanic, and I’m very proud to be. People come to us because they love our food… The name doesn’t mean anything.”
Pete wanted to create an atmosphere which perpetuates fun, and the word being held under scrutiny was meant to emphasize the fun, not the clientele. Between that and his personal reasons, Turner is not about to change the name of his Illegal Pete’s restaurant chain, which opens its seventh location on November 13.
[Image via Illegal Pete’s Blog]