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Illegal Pete's Owner Refuses to Change Restaurant's Controversial Name

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Protestors feel the term "illegal" is a negative stereotype.

Illegal Pete's/Facebook

The owner of a burrito chainlet in Colorado will not change its controversial name despite serious protests. According to KDVR, Pete Turner, the owner of Illegal Pete's, wrote an open letter on the restaurant's website defending the name. Last month, activists took issue with the term "illegal" because they feel it is a negative stereotype referring to immigrants who crossed the border into the United States without official paperwork. Others likened the term to a "racial slur."

Turner published a lengthy post on the restaurant's website stating that he "will not change the name" of the company. He spends the majority of the letter detailing the company's 20 year of business practices. He notes that "over the last twenty years we've built our brand more and more through responsibly sourcing the food we serve from community-based businesses, providing above average wages, tangible benefits, and support to our employees, and giving back to our communities."

He also explains the name: Turner claims that the name is a "literary reference to a bar in a novel he read as an English major" and that pete refers to his and his father's name. Turner opens the seventh location of Illegal Pete's on November 13.