2012 Student Guide | Tasting the local restaurant scene

A guide to eating on a budget, around the clock, finding secret treasures and getting them delivered

Mike Goettsche at Deli Zone on the Hill

A new school means new people, a new home and a lot of new restaurants to choose from. While eating at a new restaurant isn’t the most heart-pounding exploration, it’s an adventure that can be taken every day. Here’s a guide to help you get started exploring the vast restaurant selection Boulder has to offer.



One of the most important parts of college is learning how to budget your money. Knowing where to eat cheap will allow you to enjoy a restaurant with friends without breaking the bank.

Deli Zone, located at 1322 College Ave., offers one of the best breakfast sandwiches for the price. The sub shop serves breakfast all day, a perfect fit for a college student’s schedule.

The sandwich to look for is a Baby Kong. The two-egg version of the sandwich is amazingly affordable and comes with sausage, American cheese and hash browns. The sandwich is hearty and will keep you filled up well into the day.

Thai Avenue is hidden inside the food court in the heart of the Hill at 1310 College Ave., almost directly across the street from the Colorado Bookstore. Its lunch special is a full meal for around $8, more than enough to keep you going until dinner. For the location and the price, its Pad Thai is the best.

Gurkhas, an Indian and Nepalese restaurant, is located right next door to Thai Avenue, also at 1310 College Ave. If you want a quick and affordable snack, the $3 samosas are perfect. These potato-filled pockets will more than satisfy.


Rather than let you take four years trying to pick up the secrets of the Hill, here are a few places to discover well before graduation.

One of the best-kept secrets is the super taco available at Illegal Pete’s, located at 1320 College Ave. The unlisted menu item is basically a high-quality version of Taco Bell’s cheesy gordita crunch. Illegal Pete’s takes its famous queso dip and lathers it on the inside of a flour tortilla before wrapping it around a taco shell.

Another secret of the Hill is how to get a Qdoba (1119 13th St.) burrito for $5. The burritos are usually around $8 apiece, more if you want to customize an order with extra ingredients. But a coupon from the campus cash coupon books that are distributed at the beginning of each semester makes any burrito $5. Why choose between queso and barbecue for your pinto bean and pork burrito when you can have both?

Every Tuesday, Japango, at 1136 Pearl St., provides a great reason to make a trip down to Pearl Street by offering all-you-can-eat sushi. For $29.95, that bottomless appetite for sushi can be indulged. There are usually few restrictions, which allows you to take full advantage of the menu.


Whether you’re coming home from a late-night study session, a sports team practice or recreational fun, you’re bound to find yourself hungry and searching for a late-night snack at some point.

There’s rivalry for the best Boulder late-night food between Bova’s Market and Grill (1325 Broadway) and University Market and Deli (1134 13th St.), or “Smelly Deli,” as the locals call it, which share similar menus. The “Smelly Deli” serves sandwiches, including Philly cheese steaks and gyros, 24 hours a day. But Bova’s has frozen custard.

Tra-Lings Oriental Café (1305 Broadway) is your classic late-night and wallet-friendly Chinese restaurant.

D.P. Dough (1622 Broadway), located a little farther north of the Hill, provides what is probably the heartiest meal you’ll find late at night. If you’re looking for a big meal before bed, their calzones will put you in the right place — no dessert necessary, even though they have some great cookies.

Both Tra-Lings and D.P. Dough deliver, which brings us to our final category…


After a serious night of studying, it’s often hard to get the motivation to cook or walk to a restaurant, so delivery becomes the preferred option. While Domino’s is a classic, food delivery services abound in Boulder. Don’t be afraid to dial a new number and try something different.

Restaurant Runners makes almost any restaurant available at home. The service picks up food orders from a variety of restaurants and brings it to your dorm or house. Imagine how easy Harold and Kumar would have had it if someone delivered White Castle to their home?

Hungrybuffs.com also puts a plethora of delivery restaurants before your eyes, and offers exclusive deals that will help you save a lot of money. Some standouts on their list include Golden Sun, which takes the gold, no pun intended, for Chinese delivery. Their meals are great, not too greasy, and always affordable. South Mouth Wings offers a variety of delicious Memphis-style hot wings. When you want to go wild with your meal, enjoying every bite in the messiest fashion, sometimes it’s better to stay within the comfort of home.

Silver Mine Subs has some of the best sandwiches in Boulder. The bread is baked in the store, and the variety of menu options is guaranteed to provide satisfaction for even the pickiest of eaters.

The best way to get used to a new place is to go out and explore. Don’t be afraid to leave the dorm room to find the best deals, your favorite spot to eat, or the Thai restaurant you’re convinced serves the best Pad Thai.

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