15 Of The Best Late-Night Restaurants For Night Owls And Other Party Animals

By Staff in Best Of on Aug 6, 2015 10:10PM

Let's face it, we've all been there. Whether we're coming home from a late-night work shift, fueling up for a night on the town or caught with a serious case of the munchies after 11 p.m., it can be really hard to find decent late-night grub in the city. The options can seem few and far between to the hangry Chicagoan with an empty fridge. But some of our favorite places to grab a beer, chow down on barbecue, stock up on groceries and recharge after an evening of music at Thalia Hall or Metro are open into the wee hours of the morning—just how we like it.

Stagger home hangry no more with our list of 15 of the best late-night eats in Chicago:

Hopleaf
(Closes at 3 a.m. on Sunday morning, 2 a.m. otherwise)
Hopleaf is an insanely popular Andersonville gastropub, and there is good reason for that. This place has the power to make you squeal with delight over its mammoth beer selection from the world over, but it also has a late-night kitchen open until midnight on Friday and Saturday to delight as well. A perfect nightcap is to share their stand-out Pommes Frites and a selection of charcuterie, or to opt for something more substantial such as their sinfully delicious CB&J sandwich or an entree of wood-grilled prawns or a steak. The woody pub atmosphere of this neighborhood staple just adds even more to make this a must-do weekend stop, early or late, or if you’re compelled to linger there for hours (and you probably will be).
—Carrie McGath

Hopleaf is located at 5148 N. Clark St.

Jim’s Original
(24-hour)
Jim's Original is a Chicago hot dog mainstay on the Near West Side. We've described Jim's Original's Vienna beef hot dogs and complimentary fries as the perfect hangover cure. Whether you've found yourself in the area after a night of drinking or before one, head to this 24-hour no-frills hotdog stand on South Union Avenue for a famed original Maxwell Street Polish sausage. —Rachel Cromidas

Jim's Original is located at 1250 S. Union Ave.

Simone's
(Closes at 3 a.m. Sunday morning; 2 a.m. otherwise)
As a music writer, I often will find myself getting out of a show incredibly late at night and absolutely starving. So, where to go? Well, if I'm in Pilsen, I usually go to Simone's. Simone's is a place that’s a few blocks removed from Dvorak Park and Thalia Hall. It's not particularly fancy, and that’s kinda why I enjoy it. They serve well portioned meals at reasonable prices as well as having an impressive collection of beers on tap. After a late night out, the burgers and empanadas they serve are stellar and the people there are generally pretty friendly without being annoyingly so. Simone's is a dependable and affordable late night place and I enjoy it for that. —Justin Freeman

Simone's is located at 960 W. 18th St.

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Simone's. Photo credit: Kymberly Janisch

Falafel and Grill
(Closes at 3 a.m. Saturday and Sunday morning; midnight Monday through Thursday; 10 p.m. Sunday night)
Nothing says late-night food love like a cup of lentil soup (yes, even in the summer; it's that good) and shawarma, and you can't do much better than Falafel and Grill for these very things. The menu is diverse and everything is superb while keeping meat lovers and vegetarians content. As a bonus—the price: For five to ten bucks, not only will your late-night hunger be satisfied, you may also have leftovers to enjoy the next day. It is a no-frills space that is open till 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, so it's a great post-bar destination. However, anytime is a perfect time for the incredible taste of Lebanon they consistently deliver.
— Carrie McGath

Falafel and Grill is located at 1317 N. Milwaukee Ave.

Fatso’s Last Stand
(Closes at 4 a.m. Saturday and Sunday morning; 2 a.m. Friday morning; midnight Monday through Wednesday; 10 p.m. Sunday)
I try to keep late-night eats to a minimum, but if I happen to be out around bar close to the Ukrainian Village/Humboldt Park area, I’m going to be very tempted to head over to Fatso’s Last Stand. Formerly known as Phil’s, this fried food oasis is open until 4 a.m. (!) on the weekends. Inside you’ll find delicious Chicago-style char dogs, cheese fries, burgers and fried shrimp that will either fuel the rest of your late night adventures or help ease some of tomorrow’s hangover. The staff is always super friendly, but be warned, this is a cash only joint. So maybe skip that last-call drink and save some cash for fries?
— Gina Provenzano

Fatso’s Last Stand is located at 2258 West Chicago Avenue.

Foodsmart
(24-hour)
Local grocery store Food Smart is my go-to late-night spot because of its extensive selection of delicious prepared vegan and vegetarian options. Unlike a restaurant, you don’t have to settle for one kind of cuisine. Want dolmas? Check. Barbeque? Check. Burritos? You got it. There is something for everybody, and the prices are great. Plus, if you’re not ready to turn down just yet, you can pick up a six pack or a bottle of wine while you’re there. Foodsmart is open 24 hours a day, every day. —Carrie Laski

Foodsmart is located at 2901 W. Armitage Ave. and 3415 W. Diversey Ave.

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via Chi Cafe

Chi Cafe
(Closes at 5 a.m. Saturday and Sunday morning; 2 a.m. Tuesday through Friday; midnight Sunday)
Chi Cafe is nestled deep within Chinatown Square that closes at 2am. You walk in and you are greeted with muted white fluorescent lights as well as muted shades of white, tan and red adorn the walls and furnishings. You sit in a cozy chair and the sound system plays random K-Pop and Rihanna songs at a reasonable volume as you look through the menu. After receiving a freshly brewed black lemon tea and an avocado smoothie, my girlfriend and I decided to share an assortment of entrees. We ordered the XO sauce rice noodle rolls, salt and pepper pork chops on a rice platter and spicy fish fillets served in a hot pot. Everything arrived quickly in hearty well portioned servings and was fantastic after a night of drinking with friends. They're also inexpensive as the entire meal with tax and tip was only a little over $30. —Justin Freeman

Chi Cafe is located at 2160 S. Archer Avenue.

Goose Island Shrimp House
(Closes at 5 a.m. Saturday and Sunday morning; 4 a.m. Wednesday through Friday)
Tucked away on the industrial stretch of Division across from Restaurant Depot, this one might be in a less traveled location but the shrimp are worth the detour. A Friday or Saturday night visit, possible until 5am (4am Tuesday-Thursday), reveals a horde of hungry night owls waiting their turn to order or for their freshly fried dish to be called by one of the friendly folks behind the counter. Your choice of sauces meets a pound of shrimp that stay hot until the last bite at home - no seats or room to spare - or get weird and try their oft-mentioned scallops. Either way, eating seafood after hours is much more fun than an ordinary something else.
— Kristine Sherred

Goose Island Shrimp House is located at 1011 W Division St.

Punch House
(Closes at 3 a.m. Sunday mornings; 2 a.m. otherwise)
Punch House, the retro bar in the basement of Dusek’s Board & Beer, is known for its delicious cocktails, funky decor and awesome fish tank. But not everyone knows it’s a great source for late night food. Whether you’re just in the neighborhood or coming out of a show at neighboring Thalia Hall, Punch House has some delicious food items that are served until 1 a.m. on weekends. These include the Juicy Lucy (a burger with the cheese INSIDE), beef fat fries and, our favorite, a fondue plate for two that includes a huge pot of cheese, charcuterie, bread and tempura veggies for dipping. At $25, it’s just about the best late night snack ever.
—Anthony Todd

Punch House is located at 1227 W. 18th Street.

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Image courtesy of Punch House's Facebook page.

Big Star
(Closes at 3 a.m. Sunday morning; 2 a.m. otherwise)
Yeah, it’s a little bit obvious, and yeah, it’s often packed solid until 2 a.m. But that’s why we love it, and if you’re looking for an amazing taco at that hour, there’s not really a better place to go in that neighborhood. On Saturday night, they serve food until 1 in the morning, and it’ll be bright and busy. Grab one of Chef Tom Van Lente’s tacos, a glass of single-barrel bourbon and defy the darkness.
—Anthony Todd

Big Star is located at 1531 N. Damen.

Au Cheval
(Closes at 1 a.m. Tuesday through Sunday; midnight Sunday night)
Best burger, long lines, yada yada yada. Forget all that - after dark, it’s all about the chilequiles. Don’t get us wrong, you can still get your favorite burger, fried bologna sandwich, and roasted bone marrow. But the chilequiles, you see, are only available after midnight - late night eaters get a special bonus. The big plate of delicious chips, scrambled eggs, guac, pickled onions, cilantro and tomatillo salsa is the perfect food after about four drinks, and will send you off to bed (or your next destination) right.
—Anthony Todd

Au Cheval is located at 800 W. Randolph St..

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Redhot Ranch
(Closes at 5 a.m. Saturday and Sunday morning; 4 a.m. otherwise)
Rightfully renowned as the place for fast food done really really well. Of course one of the best things is the Depression Dog, a classic Chicago hot dog bundled with a mountain of fresh hot crispy brown fries. The burger is also incredible and don't miss the deep fried shrimp.
— Melissa McEwen

Redhot Ranch is located at 2072 N. Western Ave. and 3055 N Ashland Ave.

Three Aces
(Closes at 3 a.m. Sunday morning; 2 a.m. otherwise)
From 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. Three Aces serves their special late night menu with items perfect for the hungry late night reveler such as duck fat chips and their crispy pizzas topped with things like salami calabrese. If you're really hungry and daring you can grab their late-night only "Unholy Trinity" - their double-double burger paired with PBR and a shot of Old Crow bourbon. —Melissa McEwen

Three Aces is located at 1321 W Taylor St.

Dimo's
(Closing hours vary between 2 a.m. and 3:30 a.m.)
Where else can you get all the other late night foods you want on top of a pizza? Like Philly cheese steak, chicken and waffles, mac and cheese, or buffalo wings? It might sound more like stunt food than something satisfying, but Dimo's somehow manages to make it work. —Melissa McEwen

Dimo's is located at 3463 N. Clark St. and 1615 N. Damen Ave.

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Lem's Bar-B-Q

Lem's Bar-B-Q
(Closes at 3 a.m. Saturday and Sunday morning; 1 a.m. otherwise)
Lem's is the home away from home to so many of Chicago's barbecue fans, as we wrote on our Best Of Barbecue list, but did you know it's also open until 1 a.m. on weeknights and 3 a.m. on weekends? This "aquarium smoker"-style institution, located on Chatham's East 75th Street, has been serving up renowned rib tips, hot links, tangy sauce and more since 1954. Lem's old-school style of cooking rib tips has made it a mainstay of the city’s barbecue scene for over 60 years, and it’s well-worth a late night trip, whether you’re in the neighborhood or making it your night-owl destination. —Rachel Cromidas

Lem's Bar-B-Q is at 311 E. 75th Street.