Step into the bathroom at Cosmic Pizza with the light on and it's an underwhelming scene. A tattered, oversized print of a Moby album cover featuring a lone alien on a barren planet hangs on a one wall, surrounded by pale plastic cut outs of stars and aliens. Turn out the lights, however, and it's a scene to behold as it becomes a glow-in-the-dark spacescape.
The bathroom, as is often the case in restaurants, epitomizes an experience at Cosmic Pizza. At lunch the space kitsch is cute and the food fine. It's not until the sun has firmly planted itself below the horizon that the place starts to glow.
Housed in a building that was most recently a Cajun restaurant, Cosmic Pizza did the space right by refusing to fight the building's era. The low-sloped roof and shiny brown wall tiles ache for the days of disco, an effect only enhanced by the addition of an old-school, only slightly functional Atari gaming system. Hanging from walls and stuffed in corners is original Star Wars memorabilia, space posters and '80s-era robots. Throw in some tacky plastic serving dishes and the pastel disposable napkins you might find on your grandma's table, and you have a place that in any other city would be so utterly hip it hurts. But in Boise, it's just another semi-empty joint waiting for the crowd to find it.
Cosmic has a few minor faults--the sandwiches aren't really out of this world and the service staff could use some training. Even so, it's almost unbelievable that despite a few visits, I have yet to see the place wall-to-wall with college students. With $6 salads, a burger for less than $5 and pizza starting at $7, it's priced for the Boise State crowd. And if a student needed more prodding, pizza toppings like mini corn dogs, mac and cheese, and chicken tenders in wing sauce read like a college food pyramid on a slice.
Don't dig weird pizza? Don't worry, Cosmic also does a few variations on the traditional red-sauce, red-meat, white-cheese pie. An all-natural, hormone-free burger ($4.95) comes build-your-own, which is dangerous with a bevy of pizza toppings as options. The patty itself, though, is well seasoned, and a smart diner would refrain from loading it up with nonsense.
The more adventurous options--listed as the Star Fleet on the menu--beg to be ordered. Mini corn dogs make for awkward pizza toppings, but the Craters of the Moon ($10.75-$17.85), with eggs over easy that spill yolk when the pizza is cut, salty applewood bacon and potato chunks makes for excellent breakfast leftovers. The biggest problem is deciding which crazy combo to take a chance on.
Regardless, you can bet on the crust, which is lightly herbed and some magic mix of perfectly pliable and totally durable. Next on my list is the Blue Thunder ($12-$19.80), with deep-fried chicken tenders, bleu cheese, wing sauce, carrots and celery. And while I wait for that bad boy to time warp through the pizza oven, you'd better bet I'll be taking on my date for a rematch at the ping pong table.