When it comes to late-night delivery options—post-last call, digging through the freezer to unearth an old box of Hot Pockets late—Chicago may not be the city that never sleeps. But before you stoop to nuking food-like substances that will inevitably burn your mouth and taste like disappointment, take note: Even during the wee hours, it’s possible to enjoy a decent bite without leaving the comfort of your own home—unless you’re headed to one of those 4am bars. These spots are serving up some of Chicago’s best late-night delivery, from freshly baked cookies to fragrant biryani.
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Intensely spiced Pakistani fare dominates the menu at this Rogers Park spot, where deliveries go out until 4am. The beef seekh kabab—grilled cigars of super tender, finely ground beef bursting with ginger and lip-tingling chile—is excellent tucked into a hunk of tender garlic naan. Punctuated with chopped herbs, delicate carrot shreds, disks of fiery jalapeno and bright tomato, the aromatic boneless lamb biryani is pretty to look at and darned tasty to boot, while the beef nehari—deep, dark gravy and slow-cooked beef shank so tender it falls to bits with the merest nudge of your fork—calls to mind braised short ribs with a lingering kick.
Our city overflows with pizza slingers, but few keep the delivery party going till 4:30am. It’s tough to summon the patience—or perhaps more accurately, the wakefulness—to wait on deep-dish late-night, so we advise sticking to thin pies, which feature a crisp and crumbly butter crust, lightly dressed with sauce and cheese. Juicy, garlicky sausage, touched with caramelization, makes for an excellent topping. If the sandwich department is calling your name, consider the chicken parm, a delightfully sloppy composition of thinly pounded, breaded chicken cutlets layered with bright, chunky tomato sauce and melted mozzarella on a slab of French bread.
When late-night cookie cravings strike, this sweet little shop (locations in Lincoln Park and Rogers Park) has you covered. Up until 3am (4 on Saturdays—Lincoln Park only), Insomnia will turn up at your door with still-warm-and-gooey cookies packed into a pizza-style box. Of the 12 varieties on offer, we like the chocolate peanut butter cup, loaded with peanut butter chips and melty mini Reese’s cups, and the cinnamon-scented oatmeal raisin. Add one of eight ice cream flavors for an a la mode treat, and don’t forget the milk, available in white, chocolate or kooky strawberry.
A pile of thinly shaved beef, a tangle of grilled onions, oozing cheese tucked into a satisfying roll: The cheesesteak sandwich from Philly’s Best (made with beef and bread shipped in from the mother city, no less) may be the quintessential late-night food. You can order yours up—classic style, or with Cheez Whiz if you’re nasty—till 11:45pm on Sunday, 1:45am Monday through Thursday, and 2:45am Friday and Saturday. Lean into the cholesterol fest with a side of Philly steak roll—yep, those are crispy egg rolls filled with cheesesteak fixings—or if you insist on something marginally less debauched, try the solid smoked turkey baked oven grinder, topped with crisp bell pepper and melted mozzarella.
Pub grub is the order of the day at this Ravenswood late-night spot, which takes delivery orders until midnight Sunday through Thursday and 3am Friday and Saturday. The hefty Fireside Classic burger comes dressed with peppery, thick-cut bacon and crispy onion straws, and the creamy smoked gouda mac and cheese can be embellished with add-ins like peas, grilled onions, and andouille sausage. Perhaps best of all, Fireside delivers wine and craft brews, too, so you can order up a nightcap along with your food.
This Wicker Park spot dispatches gargantuan portions of pan-Asian fare until 3am. While the sprawling menu runs the gamut from American-Chinese greatest hits like General Tso’s chicken to the rather more esoteric sounding eel with baked rice, we’re partial to the Korean-leaning kimchi and beef rice bowl, which hits the right notes of subtle heat and fermented funk, as well as a straightforward chicken pad thai that packs just enough grease to please boozed-up appetites. Get out ahead of tomorrow’s hangover with a fresh fruit freeze; of the 20-plus varieties on offer, we like the creamy, mildly sweet avocado.