A group of concerned citizens met in Ft. Collins, Colorado, Wednesday night to urge a local business owner to change the name of his burrito restaurant because they feel the name is offensive.
The group asked Pete Turner to change the name of his restaurant Illegal Pete’s because, for some, the word “illegal” carries negative connotations.
KDVR reports Illegal Pete’s currently has six locations in Boulder and Denver. The restaurant mostly serves oversized burritos, inspired by Mexican food in the Mission District of San Francisco.
Turner plans to open a new location in Ft. Collins in just a couple of weeks. He travelled to the city Wednesday to hear residents’ concerns.
“Since I know the context, and I have been labeled with (the word illegal), it makes a huge difference to me,” said 25-year-old Lucy Gonzalez.
Gonzalez and others said that any use of the word “illegal” to describe people should be stopped.
Some in the group of about 30 residents refused to even say the word, referring to it instead as the “I-word.”
Turner said the name was inspired by a restaurant in a novel he read while in college in Boulder. The name “Pete” simply refers to his name and pays homage to his father, he said.
A team of representatives from the company passed out leaflets before the meeting, according to The Associated Press. The sheets provided information about the company’s fundraisers and charitable contributions. Turner said he was committed to running an “inclusive” business.
“This is all very near and dear to me,” he said. “I've helped pay for citizenship for some of my employees.”
Milton Guevara, who works as a general manager for Turner in Boulder, said he never thought the name was a problem. Guevara moved with his parents to California from El Salvador when he was young. He was once undocumented, he said.
“I'm Hispanic, and I'm very proud to be,” Guevara said, according to The Coloradoan. “People come to us because they love our food ... The name doesn't mean anything.”
When asked by the discussion’s moderator if he would consider changing the name of the restaurant in Ft. Collins to Pete’s Mexican Restaurant, Turner said simply he had a lot to consider in changing the name of his business.
Photo Source: Associated Press, Meetin.org