Colorado Daily file photo
Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer
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.
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.
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.
Where: 1325 Broadway St. #108, 303-447-1133
Hours: Dine in or carry out only 11 a.m.to 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.
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.
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.
Anthony Hahn: twitter.com/_anthonyhahn