Although the promise of low and slow Texas-style barbecue is enough to draw foodies into the Ghost BBQ and Spirits in the Boulder Theater, the ghost stories alone lured me inside. Like the location’s predecessor George’s Food & Drink, the newly opened joint pays homage to George Paper, the alleged ghost whose spirit supposedly haunts the bathrooms, bar, and hallways of the theater. Paper, who was the manager in the early to mid 1900s, reportedly died while working on the theater’s lighting rigging. Ever since, ghostly images of him roaming the halls, turning lights on and off, messing with the water in the sinks, and opening and closing bathroom doors have scared many generations of employees and patrons.

Owners Joe and Bob Sargent, brothers who have long histories with the food scene in Boulder, embraced the legend with the eatery’s name. (Joe was manager of Pasta Jays for 13 years and brother Bob worked the burners in their co-owned catering business Savory Cuisines). No strangers to barbecue—they have long offered it on their eclectic catering menu—the duo now sells dry-rubbed brisket, smoked chicken, pork spare ribs, pulled pork, and even a decent vegetarian “pulled pork” sandwich with braised jack fruit (pictured) and sliced avocado.

Although the Ghost would do well to improve the bread selection (I know it’s Boulder, but where are the nice griddled, soft white buns?) sides like smoky baked beans, a bright slaw, and extra cheesy homemade mac and cheese add depth to each plate. Stick with the theme and order a spirit to pair with your meal—you’ll be ready to face anything.

2028 14th St., Boulder, 303-786-7030