Illegal Pete’s

A scrapping contender for burrito heavyweight Chipotle’s belt, Pete’s skews more undergrad, with a less tucked-in vibe — chalk on the specials board, tap beers at the back bar, the occasional rasta dread spilling out of a tortilla-roller’s hair net, and a mild undertow of grit and grease throughout.  The twenty-something staff are less likely than their counterparts on the mall’s West end to be visited by caliper-wielding agents from Franchise Control, perhaps explaining the sometimes dour demeanor and a rare talent, frequently demonstrated, to misremember your order seconds after you vocalize it.

Now, to be absolutely fair, 1) this is a burrito joint we are talking about and 2) Pete has at the outset quite clearly proclaimed his disrespect for the rule of law, which means he can play his own game and define victory however he wants to.  With five locations in Denver and Boulder to Chipotle’s 1,100 nationwide, we’ll assume he does not aspire to outpoint the champ on sheer volume anytime soon.   More likely, simple survival and modest growth in an environment of brutally tight margins is the prize.  And a fine one at that.

As we commend our local Vic for his perpetual rage against Starbuck’s machine, we extend to outlaw Pete the same hopes for avoiding a collapse to the canvas in Chipotle’s considerable shadow.  If there’s any expectation for a puncher’s chance KO in later rounds, however, Pete would be advised to abandon the flashbacks to Sophomore Summer, wipe down the condiment station, tuck in the shirt, and do something about that hair.  Oh, the burritos are pretty good, and as far as we can tell, perfectly legal.