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A double cheeseburger.
Photograph: Hannah Bourne

The best late-night restaurants in Chicago

Satisfy your after-hours cravings with tasty burgers, tacos, hot dogs and classic diner fare.

Jeffy Mai
Written by
Jeffy Mai
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No matter the hour, Chicago restaurants never stop serving great food. For those who work late shifts or have spent a night out on the town, the following spots are life savers. They offer delicious bites into the early morning and are here for you when you need them the most. You can devour one of the city’s best burgers from Redhot Ranch or feast on affordable Indian cuisine at Ghareeb Nawaz. Local greasy favorites like Jim’s Original and The Wieners Circle are also nocturnal haunts. Just as important: these places are among the finest cheap eats in Chicago, too. So the next time you find yourself out past your usual bedtime, check out our guide to the best late-night restaurants for a satisfying meal before heading home.

RECOMMENDED: The best late-night delivery restaurants

The best late-night restaurants

  • Restaurants
  • Hot dogs
  • Logan Square
  • price 1 of 4

Greasy favorite Redhot Ranch’s menu is simple yet utterly delicious. The jumbo fried shrimp and Depression Dogs won’t disappoint, but the double cheeseburger is the true star of the show. Hailed by many as the best in Chicago, it sports two smashed patties, LTO, melty cheese and special sauce. Every order includes fries, too. At $7, it’s an unbeatable deal.

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Jeffy Mai
Assistant Editor
  • Restaurants
  • Hot dogs
  • Little Italy, UIC

Although it’s no longer open 24/7, Jim’s Original is still a beacon for late-night eats. The UIC-adjacent stand is famous for its Maxwell Street Polish sausages, as well as the bone-in pork chop sandwich. When you’re in the area and hungry, find salvation by following the smell of grilled onions.

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Jeffy Mai
Assistant Editor
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  • Restaurants
  • Hot dogs
  • Lincoln Park
  • price 1 of 4

Chardogs and late-night antics by staff members draw locals to this legendary Lincoln Park stand. A remodel in 2021 improved things by adding more patio seating plus a bar that slings beer and cocktails. Your experience may include some sassy banter, and certainly an eyeful if you order a chocolate shake.

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Jeffy Mai
Assistant Editor
  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • West Ridge
  • price 1 of 4

The only thing better than a place that’s open late is a menu with budget-friendly prices. Indian stalwart Ghareeb Nawaz checks both boxes at its West Rogers Park location, which doesn’t close its doors until 4am. So when you’re winding down your night, stop by for some lamb biryani, butter chicken and garlicky naan.

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Jeffy Mai
Assistant Editor
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  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Armour Square
  • price 1 of 4

In a neighborhood full of after-hours choices, Chi Cafe sits near the top. The Chinatown Square restaurant offers a massive menu and you can expect everything from shrimp-studded fried rice and sizzling beef tenderloin to fried pork intestines. If you’re craving something on the lighter side, a homey bowl of congee—available plain or with proteins—should hit the spot.

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Jeffy Mai
Assistant Editor
  • Restaurants
  • American
  • Lake View
  • price 1 of 4

A night out on the town should always end with some greasy goodness. At Diner Grill, the menu offers reliable breakfast fare, burgers, sandwiches and more all day long. First-timers need look no further than the Slinger for sustenance. The signature dish features hash browns, two burger patties and over-easy eggs all smothered in homemade chili. It’s a gutbuster that’ll send you to bed happy and full.

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Jeffy Mai
Assistant Editor
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  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Armour Square

As the name implies, South Side staple Lawrence’s Fish and Shrimp is known for fried seafood. The restaurant has been in business since 1950—a testament to its quality—and Gulf crustaceans are its best seller. There are a couple of varieties to choose from, such as coconut and popcorn shrimp, but we favor the original large shrimp breaded using a family recipe. Other highlights include fried scallops, pollock fillets and catfish strips.

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Jeffy Mai
Assistant Editor
  • Restaurants
  • Pizza
  • Armour Square
  • price 2 of 4

Old-school Italian-American joint Ricobene’s delivers approachable items like pizzas, burgers, ribs and wings. But the main reason to come here is for the breaded steak sandwich. It’s a gloriously messy combination of fried steak, mozzarella, giardiniera and bright tomato sauce on a French roll. It’s sure to put you to sleep afterwards.

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Jeffy Mai
Assistant Editor
Advertising
  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • Lower West Side
  • price 1 of 4

It’s hard to say no to tacos, especially after last call. This local mini-chain serves up cuts of steak, al pastor, chicken, crispy fish and more on corn tortillas until the wee hours of the morning. Tortas, burritos and large plates like carne asada round out the menu.

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Jeffy Mai
Assistant Editor
  • Bars
  • Avondale

Laid-back New York cocktail bar Mother’s Ruin arrived in Chicago this past year, giving us a dependable spot for brunch every day of the week and late-night bites. You can pair your boozy slushy or sbagliato with intriguing items like a falafel burger and red velvet Oreo bombs. The kitchen accepts orders until 1:30am (2:30am on Saturdays).

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Jeffy Mai
Assistant Editor
Advertising
  • Restaurants
  • Delis
  • Lincolnwood
  • price 1 of 4

Enjoy the best bagels in Chicagoland at any hour of the day, as this Lincolnwood shop is open 24 hours. It’s located just off I-94 so take the short trip up north for a variety of breads and Jewish specialties. We recommend getting a lox bagel with all the fixings but there are also options like pastrami, chicken salad and breakfast sandwiches.

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Jeffy Mai
Assistant Editor
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