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A gathering place

Award-winning Pete's Patio offers catina-style oasis on campus

Before COVID-19, Pete's Patio inside 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,” says Candice Nanco, director of marketing for NMSU Dining Services. 

The Loyal E. Horton awards recognize 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 the official Aggie Athletics Department collaborations including Bosque Brewing Co.’s Pistol Pete’s 1888 ale, Lescombes Family Vineyards’ Pistol Pete’s Crimson Legacy, Dry Point Distillers’ Pistol Pete’s Six-Shooter 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 has reached a new level this semester,” Nanco says. “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 says. 

“Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, Pete’s Patio was closed for over a year and a half beginning in spring 2020,” Nanco says. “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 into 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 says. 

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. 

Pete's Patio, which opened its doors in 2019, received the 2021 Loyal E. Horton bronze award from the National Association of College and University Food Services for its unique concept.
The cantina-style oasis features cold drinks like the Pistol Pete's green chile martini.
Naomi Ramirez (left) and Jose Muñoz enjoy burgers at Pete's Patio.


Cute robots serve hungry campus community

NMSU’s Las Cruces campus has been swarmed by cute, fast and efficient robots promising delicious meals with the swipe of a phone app. 

The Kiwibot food delivery service – featuring compact food storage compartments and expressive digital faces – launched in fall 2021 at NMSU. Kiwibots are a quick option to get fresh meals delivered from Sodexo-serviced locations on campus. Meals are ordered through the Sodexo Bite+ app and paid for as part of a meal plan subscription or a la carte. 


While the service was developed with students’ needs in mind, it is also available to NMSU faculty and staff. Meal options are limited to Sodexo offerings, but there are plans to expand to various campus eateries. 

Kiwibots deliver food via a locked compartment that only the recipient can openthrough the Bite+ app. Each robot is thoroughly sanitized between deliveries. Average delivery time is 20 to 35 minutes, depending on distance and peak meal delivery times. 

“We are excited to grow our robot food delivery service with Kiwibot and provide customers with a safe, convenient, contactless and innovative solution,” says Aurelia Valot, Sodexo vice president of Digital Transformation and Innovation. 

Kiwibot, a company based in Berkeley, California, has been met with great success at the University of Denver, downtown San Jose, Calif., Medellín, Colombia, and Taipei, Taiwan. 

David Rodriguez, director of strategy and business operations at Kiwibot, says Kiwibot launched in 2017 in Colombia. Kiwibot’s popularity grew when the COVID-19 pandemic created a demand for delivery services, and was also used to deliver food for food pantries at several locations. 

Kiwibot delivery hours are dependent on regular Sodexo location business hours. 

Adriana M. Chávez ’19