Decades of graffiti decorate walls of iconic Colorado eatery

Thomas Hinojosa, Darielle Durieux, and Carter Bryan, right, grab a bite to eat at The Sink in Boulder last month. Photo Credit: Chancey Bush, The Gazette.

The popular image of the food scene here is of a bright, boujee atmosphere with small, fanciful servings and a big check.

None of this applies to The Sink. Well, that last one could happen — if like many a patron you can’t help yourself.

Occupying a corner of downtown off Broadway, the family-owned landmark pays no mind to aesthetics. No leafy plants. No staffers in collared shirts. No chandeliers. There’s artwork, if you consider graffiti artwork.

Multicolored signatures and doodles consume every spot of the cavernous enclosure. A beatnik artist brought the walls’ rowdy, counterculture scenes to life beginning in 1950.

And the artwork seems fitting today. The Sink rages against the norm.

Still, the joint abides by Boulder’s credo of locally sourced and scratch-made. You’ve had burgers and pizzas and many of the other staples here, but you’ll taste the difference.

Decades of graffiti decorate walls of iconic Colorado eatery

The Sink is an iconic Boulder restaurant. Photo Credit: Chancey Bush, The Gazette.

It started as Somer’s Sunken Gardens in 1923, a fitting name that was swapped for something simpler and even more fitting.

“This place has a certain ‘Sinkness’ to it, and in that place lies our story,” reads the greeting from the Heinritz family in the menu’s opening flap. It’s a story of generations who’ve come and gone, all of them finding the perfect place to chum up and chow down.

Also in the menu you’ll find Guy Fieri. The Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” host stopped by, of course. As did then-President Barack Obama, whose visit in 2012 inspired a new specialty pizza, the one he ordered with pepperoni, Italian sausage, green peppers, black olives, red onion and mozzarella.

Pizzas here are beloved for their “ugly crust.” Believe one of the messages on the wall: “Ugly is a term of endearment.”

It’s big, doughy and crispy, and the secret is to eat it with honey. While Obama had his, Fieri went with the Buddha Basil, a grand marriage of pesto-marinara sauce, basil, spinach, chunks of tofu, artichoke hearts, garlic and tomatoes.

The Sink knows pizza goes best with beer, and the craft offerings from the bar are impressive. But the food doesn’t start or end with pizza.

The Sink

Address: 1165 13th Street in Boulder, Colorado



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