10 Cures for the Late-Night Munchies
When the munchies (or inevitable drunchies) hit and that Top Ramen you’ve been stowing in the cabinet for way too long won’t cut it – it’s time to hit the town. Here, our favorite spots from coast to coast for pigging out after hours.
A Brooklyn-based writer and editor, Chelsea's work has appeared in Matador Network, The Huffington Post, the TripAdvisor blog, and more. When not planning her next trip, you'll usually find her drinking way too much iced coffee (always iced—she’s from New England) or bingeing a Netflix original series.
Empellón Al Pastor, NYC
A staple on NYC's list of primo late-night venues, Empellón Al Pastor serves up mouth-watering Mexican dishes well-beyond the city’s average bedtime. Pop in Monday through Thursday for meals till midnight (or Friday and Saturday if you’re part of the 2 am crowd). Seated under a Sistine Chapel-esque painted ceiling, side to side with your buds in a wooden booth, chow down on homemade tortillas layered with your choice of meat (or veggies), green and red salsa, pineapple and a touch of onion.
The Brooklyn Star, Brooklyn, NY
Sometimes it’s all about attitude, and at central Williamsburg’s Brooklyn Star, they’ve got sass in spades. Just check out the following from their Facebook overview: “All animals are killed humanely with five point exploding heart punch. All vegetables are yanked from the earth with extreme prejudice.” The joint’s family-style Southern and Southwestern fare migrates to a late night menu from 11 pm to 2 am all week long, so bring some friends and go all in on savory plates like molasses brined pork chop and spicy fried duck wings.
In NYC, you’re never more than a stone’s throw from dollar pizza, but why go for what’s always there when you could munch on Ukrainian specialities in a cozy little 24/7 coffee shop in the East Village? Back in 1954, when Veselka opened, it was just a newsstand, but flash-forward and the spot is slinging more pierogis than papers. Late-night bites come in the form of perfect little pillows of potatoes, cheese, mixins like arugula, and sides of applesauce and sour cream. If you’re coming down off a real rager, replace the beer sweats with the meat sweats courtesy of a plate of grilled kielbasa, tender meatballs, or slow-simmered beef stroganoff.
The Gang, Miami, FL
Ultra-hip doesn’t even begin to do The Gang justice, but we've all got to start somewhere. The joint husband and wife venture, from Romanian restauranteurs Bogdan and Jacqueline Niculae, serves up gastropub-style Euro-Asian meals, off a menu of inventive Indian and Thai twists. Like others on our list, the spot also emphasizes its grub with a dazzling design – most notably, a bar constructed from baby blue washing machines. Complementing the retro appliances are a cohesive mishmosh of vintage touches and edgy of-the-minute aesthetics (think: cozy couches, gallery walls, and exposed industrial ceilings). Roll up anytime Monday through Sunday, 5 pm to “late,” and go for the Korean beef, Malaysian lamb chops, and curry veggies.
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Wynwood Kitchen and Bar, Miami, FL
Wynwood Kitchen & Bar is a doozy (in all the best ways). The restaurant is housed in a kitted out warehouse with sky-high ceilings, walls splashed with large-scale portraiture, mammoth contemporary statues, and a leather-topped bar with graffiti art from the man behind Obama’s iconic “Hope” poster and the OBEY brand, Shepard Fairey. Once you’re finally able to peel your eyes away from the decor (pulled together by Miami-based decorator James Samson), feast on Latin-influenced fare, like 48-hour crispy pork, chicken ropa vieja empanadas with cilantro crema, and pork belly skewers with sriracha aioli, from chef Miguel Aguilar. The hotspot is open late on Fridays and Saturdays, so you can sneak in a meal anytime up till midnight.
Bob's Donuts, San Francisco, CA
Let’s be real, donuts are an anytime meal, so the fact that Bob’s is open 24/7 makes total sense. Most come for the menu of “usual suspects” – your expected sprinkled, glazed, jelly-filled, and crueler varieties. But the real pièce de résistance on the Bob’s Donuts roster? The Big One: a full-on plate-sized treat larger than the human head. Bring your appetite because customers are encouraged to go for "The Challenge" – a feat that includes eating a Big One in under three minutes. If you do it, you’ll be rewarded with a t-shirt and the bragging rights that come with a spot in their Hall of Fame. If you’re superhuman and finish it in less than 2 minutes, you’ll get a full refund, a free drink, the t-shirt and even more bragging rights. Fail the task and a photo of your defeated face will likely join the many others on Bob’s instagram.
Little Trouble, Atlanta, GA
Over on the Westside of ATL, Little Trouble is your go-to for Asian-inspired options like pork rinds, shishitos, lemongrass and pork dumplings, wonton tacos, and various meats on sticks. Open Monday through Saturday, 5 pm to “late,” the bar and lounge is as stylish as it is tasty. As for scene, think hip bartenders –with septum piercings and those Warby Parker shades not just anyone can pull off – tending to a backlit bar, while neon light fixtures that look like they’ve been pulled straight from a Soho gallery gently illuminate diners.
Marcel's, Atlanta, GA
Marcel’s oozes a refined, gentlemanly appeal with deep red tufted leather booths, geometric pendant lighting, ornate mirrors, and walls adorned with old-timey boxing gloves (the place is named for French boxing champ Marcel Cerdan, after all). The best part, however, is the late night menu, served Fridays and Saturdays from 11pm to 2 am. Every item rings in at or under $10, so you can totally ball out on a more-than-modest budget. For just one Hamilton (one!), dine on fancy dishes like king crab fondue and duck confit, or skip straight to dessert and go for a bananas foster sundae.
Devil's Dill, Portland, OR
When hunger strikes, a big honkin’ sandwich is a quick fix. That said, sammies at Devil’s Dill aren’t just a convenient solution, but a first choice. Open 5pm to 3 am – or until they run out of bread – every day, the shop’s menu is numbered 1-9 for easy ordering. Veg-friendly selections include the No. 9 – cheddar, bleu cheese crumble, kale, grilled asparagus and tomato jam, while options like the No. 3 – salami, mortadella, provolone, kale, red onion, balsamic aioli, and cherry pepper relish – fall into the omnivorous camp.
City, O' City, Denver, CO
With a happy hour from 11 pm to 2 am everyday, and a menu chock-full of vegetarian-modified bar faves like mac ‘n’ cheese, pizza, fried ravioli, poutine, and (seitan) burgers, City, O’ City does late night right. The coffeehouse and bar – known to locals as the it herbivore spot – attracts an artsy crowd of local musicians, poets, and politicians with a featured artist of the month and produce straight from their own urban micro farm.
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