I love food of all different kinds of shapes, sizes, colors and tastes—which is why I feel so lucky to be living in such a unique and tasty foodie Mecca. But as much I like sampling new menus items and frequenting my favorite restaurants, I also like doing things like paying my bills and buying things like toilet paper, laundry detergent and socks. (I’m always losing socks). So I love it when my favorite restaurants offer up deals for the frugal foodie. Whether it’s a weekly special menu, a lunch deal or a killer happy hour, there are plenty of ways to sample a variety of the best local cuisine while still keeping your wallet full with sock fund money. (Seriously, tell me you can find matches for all of the socks in your sock drawer!)
SALT the Bistro | 1047 Pearl St. | Boulder
Farm to Table Lunch Menu
Monday – Saturday | $9 per person
SALT is always one of the busiest restaurants in downtown Boulder, and it’s really no secret why. They’re preparing incredible food, fresh from the farm, and pairing their menu items with expertly designed cocktails. Even though most of the dinner entrees on SALT’s menu are pretty pricy, customers can still sample their delicious cooking by paying SALT a visit a lunch. For $9 per person, diners can choose a ½ sandwich, cup of soup or side and a “tiny treat” dessert from the Farm to Table Lunch Menu. When’s the last time you had a Roasted Pork Belly Rueben for under $10?
Dagabi Cucina | 3970 N. Broadway | Boulder
Tapas Happy Hour
Daily from 5-6:30 & all night on Tuesdays | $3-$7 Tapa Menu
It’s embarrassing how many times I’ve left work early just to catch the awesome happy hour that this North Boulder gem offers up on a weekly basis. A typical Dagabi happy hour for me involves great friends, a surprisingly delicious house red wine ($4), a table filled with a variety of tapas and a surprisingly low bill. I’ve been digging on the Pisto Manchego and the Steamed Mussels in a Tomato-Chili Broth lately, but you should probably make Dagbi Cucina your next happy hour destination so that you can pick which of their 33 happy hour tapas is your favorite.
Niwot Tavern |7960 Niwot Road | Niwot
Dinner for Two for $20
Tuesdays | $20 per two people
I’m still full from just thinking about the last time that I dined at this cozy, small-town restaurant on a Tuesday. For $20, two people can choose one appetizer (to share), a soup or salad and an entrée from Niwot Tavern’s “Two for $20 Tuesday” menu. I can still taste their creamy, spicy artichoke dip. (On the appetizer menu). Entrée selections include a crispy Eggplant Parmesan, Single Petit Filet of Beef, Fish and Chips, a tasty Asian Chicken salad and a few other items that are found on the Tavern’s much-loved dinner menu. Amazing deal, but I warn you, go hungry—because you will definitely leave this frugal foodie location with a full stomach and wallet.
Pizzeria Locale | 1730 Pearl St. | Boulder
Daily from 4:30—5:30 p.m. | $2-$5 Appetizer Menu
Who doesn’t love Pizzeria Locale? The East End eatery has been blowing foodie minds since it opened its doors two years ago. Most people walk out of this restaurant with a full stomach and an empty wallet—which is a shame, because the food that is coming out of this kitchen is good enough to leave me speechless—which is kind of a rarity. But have no fear, Pizzeria Locale is offering an Aperitivo (appetizer) menu composed of delicious small bite appetizers, and even a few of their tasty pizzas. Special pricing for select beer, wine and espresso are also offered.
Arugula | 2785 Iris Ave. | Boulder
Monday Night First Bite
Mondays | $26 per person
First Bite Boulder is a November thing, but the folks at Arugula chose to keep their special First Bite Menu pricing year-round. For $26 per person, every Monday, you get a three-course menu comprised of two appetizers and one main course. I’m not going to lie, I often dream of Arugula’s seared polenta. When a typical dinner entrée costs around $20, it definitely behooves you to check out this three-course frugal foodie deal.
Lucky Pie Louisville | 637 Front St. | Louisville
Daily from 4-6 p.m. | $3-$5 Appetizer Menu
I love Lucky Pie. I make excuses to go to Louisville just so I can post up in the inviting LP bar area for a pint of good beer and a happy hour pizza (and other happy hour menu items). With 21 rotating tap handles and a healthy selection of good wines and creative cocktails, it’s hard not to find something to drink in this place. Pair one of those delicious drinks with a discount item from the happy hour menu and you, and your wallet are set.
Café Aion | 1235 Pennsylvania Ave. |Boulder
Wednesdays |$35 per two people
Read this. Go here. Pay $35 for two people to share a family style Paella dish with an expertly paired bottle of wine. Now, I’m not a math person, but I know that $35, split between two people, for dinner and a bottle of wine… is a steal—and a tasty one at that. Go here. Trust me.