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  • You studied all day and got so much done. Good...

    Colorado Daily file photo

    You studied all day and got so much done. Good job! But you forgot to eat, and now the sun is hiding. Crap. It's not too late to grab a burrito or some wings.

  • Ryan Holroyd and Hsin-Fang Wu walk under the street lights...

    Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer

    Ryan Holroyd and Hsin-Fang Wu walk under the street lights on University Hill in Boulder. The Hill is one of the best places to go to deal with late-night hunger.



As Boulder’s foodie scene continues to blossom, what with its ever-multiplying food truck population lining even the city’s loneliest streets, the college populace still has shockingly slim pickings for late-night eats.

For the uninitiated, those frequented by CU alumni may still be the city’s tried and true late night joints for you. For the hardcore, we have Cosmos: settle up after a night of Hill debauchery and mow down on some oversized slices dipped into their patented “spicy ranch” concoction.

Down the street, you can find Illegal Pete’s, a good spot for a bit of light beer and tacos in the witching hour.

If more traditional restaurants aren’t your thing, you can mosey on over to a handful of late-night delis mixed with the “gas station” aesthetic over in Smelly Deli, or you can walk over a few blocks to its arch nemesis, Bova’s Pantry.

If you’re feeling truly adventurous, Lolita’s down on Pearl Street is always a good hang.

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.

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: 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday-Wednesday; 11 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. Thursday-Saturday


Where: 1447 Pearl St.

Hours: Open until midnight Sunday-Wednesday, open until 2:30 a.m. Thursday-Saturday

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 2 a.m. daily


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

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:

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.

Half Fast Subs

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

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

More info:

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.

Anthony Hahn: