9 Killer Late-Night Bites Across the US

By Gabi Porter  |  August 2, 2013

It used to be that late-night eating, usually after a few (or more) drinks, involved nothing but 24-hour diners, grabbing a slice from a pizza joint or maybe a half-decent taco from a food truck. But the trend of gourmet restaurants offering late-night menus is on the rise. Here are some spots around the country that are taking night owls' appetites seriously.

  • Von Trapp's (Seattle, WA) - Flammkuchen

    We love a good kitschy beer garden, and this place is up there with the best of them. Situated in the heart of super-trendy Capitol Hill in Seattle, this is a place to knock back oversized steins of good beer and play some bocce. But the key to longevity in drinking is eating, and these guys serve up some delicious Austrian treats to soak up the beer. If it's pizza you're after, why not try one of their flammkuchen, a crispy Austrian flatbread. Options include the "Traditional" that comes with smoked bacon, onions and sour cream - or how about a "Tyrolean" with a tomato paprika sauce, fontina, fresh basil and a trio of housemade sausages?

  • Luc Lac (Portland, OR) - Luc Lac

    Andy Ricker and Pok Pok might be a hipster fave with long, long lines and creative Thai food, but, man, do they close early over there. If you find yourself in need of an Asian food fix and are willing to "settle" for Vietnamese, head over to Luc Lac. You won't be sorry if you order the fish sauce wings and a bowl of pho, but our money's on the namesake dish. Luc Lac is a beef tenderloin dish marinated in Cognac and sautéed in black pepper, French butter, garlic and more Cognac. More, please! Plus, even with a line out the door all night long (they close at 4 AM), magically there never seems to be longer than a 15-minute wait, even if you're a party of 12. And the food hits the table at lightning speed.

  • Trick Dog (San Francisco, CA) - Brandade Scotch Egg

    Everyone who knows, knows that Josh Harris and Scott Baird, also known as the Bon Vivants, are some of San Francisco's best drink slingers, and world-class drink slingers are up late and in need of world-class late-night dining. Trick Dog is their newest project, and while they ply you with cocktails, order some snacks to keep the party going. We're in love with their brandade scotch egg. What's that, you ask? It's mashed potato and salt cod goodness replacing the traditional sausage.

  • Euclid Hall (Denver, CO) -  Pig Ear Phad Thai

    This place doesn't need any more attention - everyone in Denver is talking about it ever since Andrew Zimmern stopped in to sample their Rocky Mountain Oysters - but these kids are no one-trick ponies. They do some rad things with offal from a variety of beasts. Case in point: they have a "Phad Thai" on their menu in which they've replaced the glass noodles with slivers of crispy and chewy pig ear, which is served with a tamarind chile sauce, scallions, peanuts, egg, mint and cilantro. We dare you to ask for regular pad Thai after trying this one. Bonus: this is another spot with a wide selection of housemade sausages.

  • Au Cheval (Chicago, IL) - Crispy Potato Hash With Duck Heart Gravy

    When it's diner food you want, it's diner food you need, and they understand this at Au Cheval in Chicago, but this sure is some fancy diner food. They have a famous chilaquiles dish that isn't served until the clock strikes midnight, but we'll settle for their version of hash. It's a crispy potato hash with nary a whisper of red flannel nor spam nor corned beef in sight. Instead, it's served with a duck heart gravy that makes our hearts race just a little.

  • Gourdough's (Austin, TX) - Mother Clucker

    This place is a little bit naughty - all their menu items have racy little names that sound like Beavis and Butthead grew up and opened a spot. Everything on the menu comes with some form of donut, and we're happy to go along with that. You want a burger? It comes in a donut. You want chicken and dumplings? The dumplings are made from donut holes. You want...?  You get the picture. We turned to the Mother Clucker for our late-night craving, because it's like chicken and waffles, but chicken and donuts instead. Spicy fried chicken is chopped up and served on top of a donut with honey butter. You can even get a Breast Lift sandwich here.

  • Gigi (Miami, FL) - 'Shroom Buns

    In a town famous for meat-centric Cuban food, one of the best late-night offerings is actually an Asian vegetarian dish. If you find yourself hungry in the trendy Design District after hours, roll over to Gigi for noodles, Asian BBQ and a selection of "buns." Interesting takes on these little mini-sandwiches are popping up everywhere. Although there are lots of options for the meat eaters on the menu here, a customer favorite is the 'shroom buns with hoisin, tahini and sweet chile. Hold the meat, please.

  • Arang (New York, NY) - Ddeokbokki With Cheese

    Picking just one place for late-night eating in New York City, the city that truly never sleeps, is a near impossible task. But a recent favorite has been this little Korean makgeolli pub in the heart of K-Town. Situated on the second floor, this spot specializes in pub-style food, so don't expect to find any sizzling tabletop BBQs. The house specialty - and what brings us back at 2 AM more often than we'd like to admit - is the Kimchi Jaeyook Ddukboki with cheese. Say that five times, fast. It's spicy and saucy and porky and full of ddeokbokki, a Korean "rice cake" that's similar in texture to gnocchi, but just a little gummier, in a delicious way. We've heard this sizzling cast iron skillet referred to as "Korean nachos" or "Korean lasagna" - neither is very accurate, but we'll accept "Korean deliciousness" as an accurate term.

  • Root (New Orleans, LA) - Cohiba Smoked Scallops

    Trust New Orleans to knock this out of the park. The Big Easy is arguably the culinary capitol of the whole damn world - there, we said it, and we like controversy. But a town for late-night eating it was not, until recently. Chef Philip Lopez opened the super-ambitious Root in the increasingly fashionable Warehouse District in Downtown New Orleans. It's a temple to experimental cooking and unusual techniques and tasting menus. On the weekends it stays open until 2 AM - meaning even late at night you can indulge in dishes like Cohiba smoked scallops with chorizo dust, caramelized cauliflower, pimentón patatas bravas and black garlic choucroute. Or for the sweet tooth, opt for a "Yorkie," chocolate-covered, housemade peppermint patties with mint chocolate chip ice cream, "Coco Puffs" and minted milk.