What was once a greasy spoon to soak up a night of indulgences is now a beloved burrito joint, as Illegal Pete’s Colfax opens its doors tomorrow, Friday, May 13. Housed in the former Mama’s Café a-frame at 2001 East Colfax, the transformation is accented by signature touches of the fast casual concept, including an expansive patio and an area for live music.

The two-year build out, courtesy of Xan Creative—the group responsible for Atomic Cowboy, Ace Eat Serve, Los Chingones and more—expands on the existing structure and includes the original, albeit rebuilt, neon sign. Mirroring the original a-frame, a 130-seat patio on the east side of the building includes an accessible, outdoor bar and a 125-inch projector that will be used to show football games and movies.

Illegal Pete's

The 130-seat patio includes an outdoor bar and a 125-inch projector for football games and movies.

The interior transformation is equally impressive. The previously dark, dingy space is now sleek and inviting, thanks to added windows that allow for natural light. The industrial-modern space also includes a new second-level mezzanine, which increases interior seating to 170. “It’s probably our biggest Denver location—I think that’s safe to say,” said Virgil Dickerson, marketing director at Illegal Pete’s.

Illegal Pete's Colfax

New windows allow for natural light.

Those familiar with Illegal Pete’s can expect a similar menu and happy hour that runs everyday from 3:00-8:00 p.m. Illegal Pete’s Colfax is open for breakfast 7:00-10:30 a.m. Monday-Friday and 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Additionally, the spot closes at 2:30 a.m. on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, allowing for late-night music, movie and event programming.

Illegal Pete's Colfax

Founder Pete Turner.

According to Dickerson, the concept is looking to expand to 25 locations over the next five years, with eyes set on Tempe and Flagstaff, Arizona. Additionally, the group will continue to promote the Starving Artist Program, Greater Than Collective record label and events such as the High Plains Comedy Festival.

Illegal Pete's ColfaxTrue to its roots, the fast casual joint will celebrate its opening with a weekend of local bands and beers. On Friday, May 13, between 3-5 p.m., patrons can enjoy free pints of Upslope Brewing draft beer with the purchase of an entrée. And between 11:30 p.m.-1 a.m., local artist 888 will be spinning records. The grand opening party on Saturday, May 14, will feature a New Belgium beer tent, Dulce Vida Tequila tastings and live music courtesy of Mile High Soul Club.

All photography by Kim Baker.