It’s 1:30 a.m. and you’re writing that 10-pager you’ve put off until the last second. Even still, you’re looking for excuses to put it off. Your eyes are droopy and your brain is fried. “I’m hungry and I can’t think when I’m hungry,” you whine to yourself.
A quick scan through the fridge leaves you with minimal options: a bag of carrots and your roommate’s jumbo pack of vegetarian hot dogs.
Right on cue, your phone rings. It’s your sloppy drunk roommate slurring away about needing a ride from the Hill. Getting food is a win-win at this point. You hop in your car and drive to the Hill.
Time to shine.
Wendy’s and McDonalds are quick fixes, but let’s step outside the norm. Lucky for you, late-night face-stuffing is easy to do in Boulder. So check out this list of late-night eats and add them to your rotation because more times than not you’ll feel the tummy grumble long after most places have closed.
The Smelly Deli
1134 13th St.
Open 24 hours
If you’re a Buff, you know the University Hill Market & Deli, aka the Smelly Deli, fairly well. If by some odd reason you aren’t accustomed to the magical space that is the Smelly Deli, you better ask somebody.
The Smelly Deli has a menu tailor-made for college students: Cheesy fries, mozzarella sticks, shawarma, chocolate cake, the famous steak and cheese sandwich, and the list goes on. The Smelly Deli doubles as a convenience store, so any gas-station type food and materials you can think of are on the table here as well.
Not to mention, this place is OPEN 24 HOURS A DAY.
The Smelly Deli is a hive for Buffs, which adds a social element to the experience. Dozens of haggard students will wait 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 us is no day at the beach.
1320 College Ave.
8 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Monday-Wednesday; 8 a.m.-2:30 a.m. Thursday-Friday; 9 a.m.-2:30 a.m. Saturday; 10 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Sunday
1447 Pearl St.
Open until 2:30 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.
Illegal Pete’s is a good place on the Hill to get a late-night burrito. Chipotle and Qdoba close at 9 p.m. so it’s a viable option to replace those burrito kings.
Illegal Pete’s has a diverse menu for a fast-paced burrito shop with many choices that aren’t available at Chipotle or Qdoba: fish burritos, taquitos, and the option to stuff potatoes in your burrito. They even have a kid’s menu that’s available for all ages — great for snacks.
1325 Broadway St. #108
11 a.m.-2 a.m. daily
659 30th St.
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 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 Cosmo’s 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 me it happens here and it’s worth the wait.
1911 Broadway St.
4 p.m.-midnight Tuesday-Sunday
Cookies and desserts delivered to your door until midnight? Could life offer anything better? Probably not. 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 over two million cookies, in a wide range flavors. From a classic snickerdoodle to the more adventurous Oatmeal White Chocolate Cherry cookie, the cookie options will make your heart pound and mouth water. 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, in case your mom forgets.
The Gyro Stand
1100 block of Pearl Street Mall
10 p.m.-2:30 a.m. Tuesday-Saturday
For some (of-age) Buffs, bar hopping is an art. Knowing when and where to go requires a saavy acquired through many late-night adventures. The Gyro Stand is a stop Pearl Street hoppers know to visit. Hot dogs, grilled cheese, sandwiches, burgers and of course gyros are all on the menu at the local street cart. If you’re out on Pearl Street looking to get a quick snack and keep moving, look for the Gyro Stand.
Make sure you have cash, they don’t take cards.
Pearl Street Pub & Cellar
1108 Pearl St.
Open until 1:30 a.m. every night
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 — brats, 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.
And of course, please kiss the buffalo if it’s your birthday.
1509 Arapahoe Ave.
Open until 3 a.m. Friday and Saturday
Not looking for pizza or French fries? Try Pita Pit, it’s a simple, healthy late-night alternative. Just choose your pita, fillings, toppings, sauce and cheese, then you’re set with a Lebanese-style pita sandwich. Try the classic gyro or the chicken souvlaki if you’re a meat eater, and the falafel if you’re a veggie.
1622 Broadway St.
Open until 1:45 a.m. Sunday-Wednesday, 2:45 a.m. Thursday-Saturday
D.P. Dough’s ‘zones are a perfect buffer before bed. With over 50 calzones to choose from, it’s not hard to find at least one you’ll enjoy. For you overachievers, stay on top of things and get your breakfast a little early with a breakfast ‘zone.
Add some wings and cookies to your order to really round out your night.
Half Fast Subs
1215 13th St.
Open until 1 a.m. Thursday-Saturday
Half Fast is usually crowded late at night, and with good reason. Pick from one of 100 sandwiches on the menu. No doubt, there’s one on there that will catch your eye.