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Cheers! Pete’s Patio reopens after year and a half; wins national bronze award

  • By Adriana M. Chávez
  • 575-646-1957
  • adchavez@nmsu.edu
  • Jan 11, 2022
Person pouring a drink into a boot-shaped glass filled with ice
Two people eating burgers while seated on a patio

Before COVID-19, Pete’s Patio inside the Corbett Center Student Union was a popular place in the campus community, serving up delicious cold drinks and hot food.

Due to the outbreak of the pandemic, however, Pete’s Patio had to close its doors and, like many other bars and restaurants, faced an uncertain future.

But in fall 2021, patio staff reopened to much fanfare not only among the campus community, but nationally, as winners of the National Association of College and University Food Services Loyal E. Horton bronze award for retail sales-single concept.

“The staff at Pete’s Patio are ecstatic to be working at a location that has received such an esteemed award,” said Candice Nanco, director of marketing for NMSU Dining Services.

The Loyal E. Horton awards recognizes retail locations at colleges and universities with exemplary menus, presentations, special event planning and new dining concepts.

Pete’s Patio can be described as a cantina-style oasis nestled in the heart of Corbett Center, featuring outdoor seating, a fire pit and a bar area featuring drinks like Pistol Pete’s green chile martini, bourbon apple pie sweet tea and more.

The bar also serves NM State’s official alcohol partnerships including Bosque Brewing’s Pete’s 1888 ale, D.H. Lescombes’ Crimson Legacy, Dry Point Distillery’s Six Shooter rye whiskey and Cantera Negra tequila.

The patio also hosts special theme nights, like an open mic night in partnership with campus radio station KRUX, and Trivia Tuesdays hosted by The Round Up campus newspaper.

“Pete’s Patio’s popularity reached a new level in fall 2021,” Nanco said. “The addition of daily events and specials has really boosted attendance.”

The patio was proposed about three years before making its debut in 2019, with the goal of creating a space on campus that allowed for students, faculty and staff to come together in a relaxed, casual setting, Nanco said.

“Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, Pete’s Patio was closed for over a year and a half” beginning in spring 2020, Nanco said. “Our crew is thrilled to be back to work and taking care of all of our visitors.”

And to make up for lost time, Pete’s Patio has introduced a new menu, featuring customizable pizzas with a non-dairy cheese option, a variety of burgers and “nibbles” such as fried mini tacos, wings, nachos, fried mozzarella sticks and chile cheese fries.

Pete’s Patio has morphed from not just a gathering place for the campus community, but a gathering place for the Las Cruces and alumni communities as well.

“Our open mics seem to be bringing in a lot of our Las Cruces community, and bringing back alumni who haven’t visited campus in years,” Nanco said.

Along with open mic night and Trivia Tuesday, Pete’s Patio hosts Monday Night Football and Thursday Night Football viewing parties, and $5 pizza nights every Friday.

This story first appeared in the fall 2021 issue of Panorama magazine. To read more, visit https://panorama.nmsu.edu/.