If you want to grab a quick, cheap local meal, Boulder has many options. The following are all locally owned and operated businesses which have become Boulder classics.
Favorite haunts of rock climbers, the twins Mountain Sun and Southern Sun are brewpubs with a selection of sandwiches, salads, wraps, and chili. Although the food is great, the beer is even better. Try a Raspberry Wheat in the summer heat or their Imperial Stout after a long cold hike. Also try the carrot cake — it's a little-known secret. For a fun time, borrow one of the community board games while you sit and eat. Scrabble and nachos never went so great together.
Dim Sum, noodles, and curry dishes right off of Pearl Street. Owner Edwin Zoe was nominated for the Outstanding Restaurateur 2022 James Beard Awards, and made it to the semifinals. With many options ranging from $3 to $10, Zo Ma Ma offers delicious grab-and-go food. There are a few tables if you'd like to eat in.
In 1989, the first Nick-N-Willy's pizza place opened in Boulder. Other Nick-N-Willy's have come and gone, but Boulder locals still love the old shop. You can eat a slice of pizza at the tables out front — or pre-order a whole pie to bake at home. Gluten free crust is available. Other pizza options on Pearl Street include Pizzeria Locale (1730 Pearl Street) with its wood-fired artisanal pies, New Yorkese at Avanti Food and Beverage (1401 Pearl Street), and down-to-earth Pizza Colore (1336 Pearl Street).
Born in Boulder in 1995, Illegal Pete's is a favorite spot for stuffed burritos and other Mexican fare. Place your order and watch it move down the assembly line before your eyes. The Illegal Pete's staff click like clockwork; Henry Ford himself would be impressed with the efficiency of it all. Grab a beer with your meal if you'd like. The patio in front affords a nice view of Pearl Street walking traffic.
If you're looking for healthy grab-and-go food on West Pearl, Wonder is worth a visit. Offering smoothies, avocado toasts, soups, cold pressed juices, and baked goods, Wonder will fill you up without weighing you down.
Breadworks is an incomplete name; this place could also be called Soupworks or Dessertworks. The soup-and-bread combo will remind you of grandma's home cooking — and it won't break your budget. Vegetarians and those with food allergies will appreciate the fact that ingredients are listed clearly. On cold winter days at lunchtime, you'll find this place stuffed with locals. A 15 minute walk north from the Pearl Street Mall.