A foodie’s town on a student’s budget


Eating cheap in Boulder isn’t easy, but it’s possible

Most students arriving at college simply can’t wait to start cooking for themselves, setting aside some time to spend in the kitchen preparing fresh meals, lovingly attending to a hot stove to make their food.

Yep, that’s most college students. But just in case — just on an off chance that a few college students don’t want to cook all their food or maybe their dorm rooms don’t even have a kitchen — we’ve pulled together a brief guide to dining as a University of Colorado student. It’s not a review or even a set of recommendations — if you came to college to hear other people’s opinions, we have bad news for you about the idea of college — but it’s a starter into the wonderful world of eating on a budget.

Late Night

We realize CU students aren’t the type to stay up late for any reason. They’re in bed by 9 p.m. at the latest. But if for some extraordinary reason — a house fire or a particularly demanding research paper, for instance — students are up late, there are dining options in Boulder to turn to.

In particular, restaurants around CU accommodate late-night dining — though, again, we have no idea why. Pizza is the go-to option after dark; Abo’s Pizza on the Hill is open until 2 a.m. Thursday through Saturday, as is Fatty J’s, also on the Hill. Cosmo’s, both on the Hill and at Baseline and 30th next to Williams Village, is open until 2 a.m.

Calzones from D.P. Dough just off the Hill are available until 1:45 a.m. every weeknight and until 2:45 a.m. Thursday-Saturday night. Memphis-inspired wings at South Mouth, nearby at Broadway and Arapahoe, are served until 3 a.m. every night.

And for super-late food, Bova’s Market and Grill at 1325 Broadway is open until 3 a.m. on most days, 4 a.m. Thursday-Saturday; University Hill Market & Deli is open 24 hours.

Tips and Tricks

Incoming students are bombarded with material when they arrive on campus, from class schedules to codes of conduct to WiFi passwords.

We’re not saying the free coupon books you get are as important as when and where your classes are. But it’s a good idea to actually take a look at the free Campus Cash coupon books distributed to students. They’re full of discounts to restaurants that many students would go to anyway — along with tons of other businesses like barbers, clothing stores and the CU Bookstore. And considering that it’s possible to print copies of the coupons from www.campuscashonline.com, students should often be able to avoid paying full price at these establishments, which include Cosmo’s, A Taste of Philly, Firehouse, Half Fast, Salvaggio’s and The Rib House.

Then there’s technology. Lots of new apps have emerged to track restaurants’ happy hours and specials (including Boulder Weekly’s own), so that diners can check their phones from home or from the sidewalk and pick their next destination.

But restaurants around the city are quickly realizing that updating their Facebook pages in the morning about their daily specials and happy hour offerings are a great way to keep diners informed.

Bang for Your Buck

Even without a coupon, it’s important to look for ways to avoid paying full price.

On Pearl Street, two sushi restaurants offer deals that are good opportunities for college students to indulge in the wonderful but usually beyond-their-budget delicacy. At Japango, specials rotate daily, but hungry students should take note of Tuesdays’ all-you-can-eat offer for $29.95. At Hapa, twin happy hours — 2:30-5:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. – 12 a.m. — mean two sushi rolls for $7. Sushi Hana on the Hill, meanwhile, has some designated rolls always priced at two for $7, in case you’re hungry and it’s not 10 p.m.

If all-you-can-eat sounds good but you prefer your food cooked, options abound in Boulder. Aside from the usual cuisines that get the buffet treatment, Indian and Chinese, there’s the pizza buffet at Beau Jo’s, including their thick-crust Colorado pies. There are also special vegan buffets at Nepal Cuisine on Mondays and a brand-new setup on Fridays at Jill’s, as well as a lunch buffet at Ethiopian restaurant Ras Kassa’s. If you’ve got a ride, you could try the Italian all-you-can-eat at Ragazzi in Longmont.


Sadly, all-you-can-eat buffets can’t be delivered, but lots of other food can. That’s especially true as new services have sprung up that bring together multiple restaurants’ menus under one delivery service.

Restaurant Runners currently works with 27 restaurants around Boulder, representing cuisine as diverse as Mexican (100% Mexicano, Casa Alvarez and others), sushi (Japango and Hapa) and Indian (Curry n Kebob, Jaipur and Royal Clay Oven), among others. Restaurant Runners’ website, www.rrboulder.com, has menus for all the restaurants, but diners should call the restaurant directly, after which the restaurant calls Restaurant Runners and arranges the delivery, which costs $4 no matter the size of the order.

For a similar one-stop-shop setup, Hungry Buffs presents menus from around the city with an option for allonline ordering. Hungry Buffs, online at www.hungrybuffs.com, currently features 60 restaurants that offer delivery, some with a fee and some with minimum amounts for delivery. Hungry Buffs has a similar range of cuisines to Restaurant Runners and includes a category for late-night dining.

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