As I have always said, it's really important to eat food every day.

Sometimes when I was a kid growing up in Cleveland in the mid-'70s, my mom used to be like, "Clean your room!" or "I swear to god, you better get the hell out of my face so I can focus on my work."

And I always used to respond by telling her how important it is that she and every other human being access key nutrients on a daily basis.

Without them, I'd tell her, humans can literally die.

Did you know that? Few people do, but it's true: If you never eat food, you will eventually shut off.

In order to make sure that never happens, I recommend eating constantly. All day, every day. Pick the most caloric grub you can find and fill your lil tum with the good stuff.

You ever tried shawarma? The Smelly Deli serves the stuff all night long.
You ever tried shawarma? The Smelly Deli serves the stuff all night long. (Morguefile)

One of the challenges, though, of taking this approach to food consumption is that many purveyors of food stop serving after a certain hour. These people are slackers and American disgraces — but I won't get into that now.

Anyway, the late-night dining options in Boulder aren't many, but they do exist. Here's a rundown of a few choice eateries for the midnight nutrient-hunter.

Smelly Deli

Where: 1134 13th St., 303-449-2923

Hours: Open 24 hours

Every black-and-gold-bleeding, dyed-in-the-wool Buffalo knows about University Hill Market & Deli, aka — and really, pretty much exclusively known as — Smelly Deli. If for some odd reason you aren't acquainted with this magical bodega, you'd better ask somebody. Or better yet, get your ass over to Uni Hill and check it out.


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The Smelly Deli has a menu tailor-made for college students: cheesy fries, mozzarella sticks, chicken shawarma, chocolate cake, the steak and cheese wrap, the list goes on.

Smelly Deli doubles as a convenience/tiny grocery store, so any gas station-type food and materials you can think of are on the table here as well. This way, you can grab your evening gut-buster and a bottle of aspirin for tomorrow morning in one convenient stop.

Smelly Deli is a hive for Buffs, which adds a social element to the experience. You'll find dozens of haggard students waiting for their food at the counter, making for some great people-watching and conversations. Much respect to the cooks at the Smelly Deli — whipping up food for college kids is no picnic.

Illegal Pete's

Where: 1124 13th St. 303-444-3055

Hours: 8 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Monday-Wednesday; 8 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. Thursday-Friday; 9 a.m.to 2:30 a.m. Saturday; 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Sunday

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Where: 1447 Pearl St.

Hours: Open until 2:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights

More info: illegalpetes .com/boulder-pearl-street

Unlike those softies at similar burrito spots that close before midnight, Illegal Pete's bomb-ass burrito makers keep on rolling until 2:30 a.m. Thursday through Saturday nights, except during the summer, when they close at midnight.

Illegal Pete's has a diverse menu for a fast-paced burrito shop with many choices that aren't available everywhere: fish burritos, taquitos and the option to stuff potatoes in your burrito. Pete's is great because they mix up your burrito's guts before they wrap it up. So no sole sour cream bite. It's ... it's brilliant.

Not to mention, if you're of age, the Pete's on the Hill is one of a small and dwindling number of full-service bars in the area, with a wide assortment of beers and daily happy hour from 3 to 8 p.m.

Cosmo's Pizza

Where: 1325 Broadway St. #108, 303-447-1133

Hours: Dine in or carry out only 11 a.m.to 2 a.m. daily

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Where: 659 30th St., 303-447-3278

Hours: Dine in, carry out or delivery 11 a.m.to 2 a.m. daily

More info: cosmospizza .com

When there’s hunger pains and you need some food, who you gonna call? Boulder Baked and Insomnia Cookies will deliver long after sundown.
When there's hunger pains and you need some food, who you gonna call? Boulder Baked and Insomnia Cookies will deliver long after sundown. (Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer)

During the day, the number of customers at Cosmo's won't "wow" you. You'll find people casually filtering in like any other restaurant in Boulder. Late at night, especially on the weekends, Cosmo's on the Hill looks more like a stampede as Buffs line up well beyond the doors to get a slice or two of pizza and some of their otherworldly Spicy Ranch.

Cosmo's isn't that big of a place to begin with, but there is something to be said for waiting outside in the winter to get pizza, and believe us, it happens here and it's worth the wait.

The 30th Street store is conveniently located across from the Williams Village dorm complex and provides a good late-night option for all those neglected, off-campus slacker freshman. It also delivers until 2 a.m., which comes in awful handy no matter where you live in Boulder.

Boulder Baked

Where: 1911 Broadway St., 303-444-4999

Hours: 4 p.m. to midnight daily

More info: boulderbaked .com

Cookies and desserts delivered to your door until midnight? Could life offer anything better? Don't answer that, because it can't.

Boulder may be a city filled with quinoa and kale chips, but this town definitely has a sweet tooth. The family-owned Boulder Baked has sold mountains of fresh-baked cookies over recent years, offering flavors ranging from your classic chocolate chip to the more adventurous oatmeal white chocolate cherry, to everything. Yes, there is an "everything" option. While the cookies are unreal, don't forget the cupcakes, brownies or cakes. Or the ice cream sandwiches, milkshakes and pies.

Boulder Baked also puts together care packages, so you can send yourself one in case your mom forgets.

Pearl Street Pub & Cellar

Where: 1108 Pearl St., 303-939-9900

Hours: Open until 2 a.m. every night (bar time: 1:30 a.m.)

There's no way around it, the fried mac 'n' cheese gets people going. And by "going," I'm talking about the excitement and enthusiasm the fried masterpiece brings into the pub. The Pub's got all of the late-night bar food you need — burgers, wings and fries that are a must try. The drink specials here are on point, and we can't dismiss the fact that this place has pool tables, foosball, darts and the occasional live band to bring everything together.

Don't forget to kiss the buffalo if it's your birthday, and keep an eye out for a beautiful display of some great Denver Broncos' history hiding in plain sight in the cellar.

D.P. Dough

Where: 1622 Broadway St., 303-444-9663

Hours: Open until 1 a.m. Sunday-Thursday; until 2:30 a.m. Friday-Saturday

More info: dpdough.com/locations/boulder

This is a good option if you're A) really high, B) really drunk or C) really OK living with regrets — profound, painful regrets usually related to profound, painful visits to the restroom.

On the plus side, D.P. Dough's insane assortment of calzones makes this spot the perfect place to pick up some much-needed sustenance after a long night out. With options including your standard sausage and pepperoni, the veggie-packed Garden 'Zone, all the way to breakfasty-yet-served-all-night eggs, bacon, potatoes, sausage and cheddar-stuffed Sunny 'Zono, it's not hard to find at least one you'll dig.

Plus, that place has wings, cookies and tater tots. Score. Except for the whole bathroom thing.

We all live with regrets.

Half Fast Subs

Where: 1215 13th St., 303-449-0404

Hours: Open until 12:30 a.m. Thursday-Saturday

More info: halffastsubs.com

If you're the indecisive type, Half Fast is either your best friend or your worst nightmare. This Uni Hill staple offers more than 100 varieties of the classic American sub sandwich and claims, perhaps realistically, that it may have the largest sandwich menu in the U.S.

For those of legal imbibing age, try out — but be wary of — Half Fast's legendary 32-ounce Strong Island ice teas.

Insomnia Cookies

Where: 1203 13th Street, No. 2

Hours: Delivery and pickup until 3 a.m.

More info: insomniacookies.com

It's the wee hours and you're freaking out because you just shotgunned all 125 episodes of "Cupcake Wars" and you need baked goods, and you need them now. But you can't leave your dorm because last week you zip-tied all your bestie's drawers and scissors together, and you know she's just lying in wait to prank you back hard.

Calm down, son. Have some sugar.

You don't need to set foot outside your safe space. Insomnia Cookies will deliver cookies, brownies and ice cream until 3 a.m., and you can supplement your nervous pacing with watching the status of your order through their Cookie Tracker. And once your treats appear, you can pull an all nighter by upgrading your TV intake to "The Great British Bake Off."

Alex Burness: twitter.com/alex_burness