We’ve all had that late-night work shift that seems like it carries on for days. You know, the one where you end up so exhausted, that the thought of cooking dinner is simply not an option. When that happens, I have two go-to late night options.
The first is an In-N-Out Double Double with extra grilled onions, extra spread, and extra crispy fries. A tried and true fast food order. The second, if I’m too lazy to drive to In-N-Out, is breakfast at any 24-hour diner chain that serves eggs, bacon, and pancakes. I’m sure I’ve mentioned my love of breakfast at least once in these past six years.
That’s what a food writer’s go-to late night eats is. But have you ever wondered what professional chefs like to indulge in after a long dinner shift?
These nine amazing chefs from around the country share with us their favorite late night go-to’s.
Jason Fullilove (Barbara Jean| Los Angeles, CA)
Photo: Peter Pham
“In Mid-City, my go-to late night spot was El Carmen — great tequila and mezcal selection and tacos,” says chef Jason Fullilove of Barbara Jean LA. “If I feel like balling out I will take my staff to Pizzeria Mozza.”
Chef Fullilove also shares one of his go-to spots when he’s not on the clock.
“I live in Palms, a bit west of Culver City. I like to hit up Boardwalk 11, they have great burgers and will do them lettuce wrapped if you’re trying to cut weight!”
Eric Renz (Clinton Hall | New York, NY)
Photo: Andrew Werner
Chef Renz of NYC’s creative gastropub Clinton Hall says he always caps his nights at West Village’s Waverly Diner. There, he likes to order the Waverly Melt Sandwich which he pairs with a vanilla egg cream soda.
“The cheesy, greasy sandwich and the the slightly carbonated sweet egg cream always makes me feel genuine happiness after a night out.”
Tony Galzin (Nicky’s Coal Fired | Nashville, TN)
Photo: Danielle Atkins
Nicky’s Coal Fired is probably best known for their pizzas and pasta. Being around pies all day, chef Tony Galzin probably wants to end the night with something a bit different. His preference: fried buffalo wings.
“They can’t be breaded or boneless though, and I’ll only eat them with traditional buffalo sauce. M.L. Rose in Nashville has the best buffalo wings in my opinion!”
Louis Tikaram (EP & LP | Los Angeles, CA)
Photo: Richard Guinto
EP & LP Asian restaurant and rooftop bar combines Thai cuisine with overtones of Chinese, Fijian, and Vietnamese fusion. The popular Los Angeles restaurant and rooftop bar is run by Australian native Louis Tikaram.
“My favorite late-night spot to take the EP crew post service is Ruen Pair in Thai Town,” the executive chef shares. “Its multi-region Thai menu is spicy, funky, and perfect with a cold beer after a busy week in the kitchen.”
Nick Korbee (Egg Shop | New York, NY)
Photo: Egg Shop
Chef Nick Korbee of Egg Shop in NYC is a man of two cities. Balancing his time between New York City and Los Angeles, Korbee has two late-night loves that he frequents.
“When in L.A., I can’t resist a late night danger dog. I’m not talking about a tourist trap spicy sausage. I’m referring to the bacon-wrapped version, grilled over a trash can on a steel plate.”
While in New York, however, he likes to indulge himself with a large slice of Sicilian pizza topped with tons of chili flakes.
Jeff Axline (Bobby Hotel | Nashville, TN)
Photo: The Bobby Hotel
You’ll find Chef Jeff Axline of the new Bobby Hotel, in Nashville located in Boutique Row, hunting down some spuds after a long shift.
“Any diner with good old-fashioned seasoned curly fries are my late-night staple,” says the executive chef of the boutique hotel’s Bobby’s Tavern. It’s as simple as that.
James Reamy (Meatzilla | Los Angeles, CA)
Photo: James Reamy
Chef James Reamy, known for slinging pizza-topped burgers to the hungry masses in Downtown Los Angeles, says that when he’s off from work super late and looking for cheap comfort food and alcohol, his favorite spot is Nodaji in Rowland Heights.
“It’s nothing special, you won’t see Jonathan Gold chillin’ there or kids who have Eater favorited on their web browser — how I usually like it.”
Reamy says he was introduced to Nodaji by a friend a few years ago and instantly fell in love with the place.
“It’s just a good low-key spot that serves casual Korean/Japanese food late and soju even later to the local community,” Reamy tells FOODBEAST. “They have these trashy bulgogi fries — crinkle cut, canned nacho cheese, you know the drill — that were actually the inspiration for the bulgogi fries I put on the menu at Meatzilla!”
Esther Choi (mŏkbar | New York, NY)
Chef Esther Choi of NYC’s mŏkbar specializes in Korean cuisine with a modern approach. When she’s ready to unwind after a long shift or some drinks, however, she says not much holds a candle to Chinese food.
“Let’s be honest, nothing soaks up late night booze like Chinese food.”
Choi says that her favorite late-night spot is Wo Hop City in Chinatown.
Chef Dave Anoia (DiAnoia’s Eatery | Pittsburgh, PA)
Photo: Hannah Schneider Creative
DiAnoia’s Eatery is an Italian restaurant in Pittsburgh that’s an Italian deli and cafe during the day and a full-on restaurant at night. Chef Dave Anoia, who’s also the owner of DiAnoia’s, likes to treat himself to a little fast food when he closes his doors for the evening.
“My go-to order is the Cheesy Gordita Crunch,” says Anoia who likes to hit up Taco Bell’s drive-thru. “It’s my ultimate guilty pleasure.”