And yet, it’s all too easy to get stuck in the cycle of student-oriented eateries like Jimmy John’s and Qdoba. In foodcentric Boulder, there is no reason to follow such monotony. This guide offers a sampling of some of Boulder’s best deals for the quality-seeking diner. The restaurants featured below were chosen because of their accessibility, reasonable prices and most of all, their irresistible food. It’s just a matter of making the effort to branch out.
Off the beaten path
It’s easy to find the road more traveled when it comes to dining out. Take a step off and you could discover a better bite. Try a healthy pizza at Modmarket, located in the 29th Street Mall. Their whole-wheat flatbreads are a nutritious alternative to greasy, doughy pizzas found elsewhere, and their toppings are unmatchable. The sleek café also offers hearty, made-toorder salads in numerous varieties and prime customer service.
Head north from there to reach Dish, the gourmet sandwich joint that almost puts Half Fast to shame. With expert chefs and an emphasis on locally produced ingredients, the friendly shop offers a gourmet fast-food experience.
Head west on Pearl and find The Cup between 15th and 16th streets. This ultra-Boulder café has numerous waste receptacles and compostable cups, and boasts fair trade coffee by Conscious Coffees. It also offers a full menu of breakfast and lunch items; especially delicious are the bagel sandwiches that cost around $6.
Stroll farther west and, at Broadway, turn right. Between Pearl and Spruce streets sits Oliv You & Me, an olive oil store that will take you around the world. From Italy to California, the olive oils are a gourmet journey in themselves. Snack on an authentic Italian prosciutto sandwich and a cappuccino for a mid-day meal.
When your parents gift you the Flatirons Meal Plan at the start of the semester, it’s hard to dine anywhere that won’t accept the card. It may get tiresome, however, visiting the same carousel of eateries each week.
Indulge in a burger at The Dark Horse, a college-y, laid-back restaurant that’s served Boulder since 1975.
The multi-room saloon has as much character as Disneyland. It’s either a short drive or a 15-minute walk from Kittredge, but well worth the travel.
Forgo a sub-standard sandwich in favor of one at Salvaggio’s. The award-winning deli serves hearty sandwiches made with grilled steak, onions, peppers, fresh mozzarella and more. Soft, flavorful bread sets Salvaggio’s apart from other shops, and for around $7, lunch is a steal.
Treat your body well at Sunflower Market. This natural foods grocery store is a mere hop down Folsom, and it has everything you need for a healthy life. Hungry during class? Munch on some dried cranberries or chocolate almonds from the bulk bins. In need of a nutritious lunch? Pick up some sushi or prepared foods from the upstairs deli area and leave the store for less than $10.
If you’re on the Broadway side of campus, head down to Arapahoe for a classic meal at Mustard’s Last Stand. Here in Boulder since 1970, the café must be doing something right. Chicago-style Vienna hot dogs are the specialty, but it also offers Bratwurst, chicken sandwiches and vegetarian options.
Sit down and savor
Perhaps you have a date you’d like to impress. Perhaps you’re plain sick of dorm food. If so, look no further than the following options. They’re not ideal for an in-between-classes lunch, but are perfect for a night out.
Up north, try Proto’s Pizza. It’s easy to access this Neapolitan-style pizzeria via the Skip, and worth the ride. Try the classic pizza Margherita with fresh basil. Thin crust reigns at the popular joint, and prices are reasonable, especially if you split a pie with a friend. Right off Pearl Street lies the 14th Street Bar & Grill, a laid-back but classy restaurant that serves something for everyone. From luscious chicken sandwiches to woodfired pizzas, not even the pickiest eater will go hungry at this likeable locale. Most dishes are around $15.
For a fun ethnic experience, try Sherpa’s. It’s nestled on 8th and Walnut inside a former house, and serves Tibetan, Nepalese and Indian food. Dishes include Saag and Tikka Masala, and don’t miss the puffy Naan bread. If you’re of age, sample the Sherpa Ale, a tasty beer to complement the meal. Prices at Sherpa’s can’t be beat; most of the entrées are in the $10 range and are so huge they’ll feed you tomorrow as well.
Finally, savor Southwestern fare at Zolo. Owned by the famed Big Red F restaurant group (other properties include Jax and the West End Tavern), Zolo has some of the tastiest food in town. Prices may be slightly upwards of the regular student budget, but at around $20 an entrée, it won’t clean you out for the entire semester, either.
Student dining in Boulder need not be monotonous. All it takes is a few steps off campus to discover the town is rich with flavor.