Top Restaurants - 16 min read

15 BEST Fast Food Places That Are Open Late (Midnight Munchies!)

Sheryl Cooper

Sheryl Cooper, Updated October 8, 2022

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Late night often brings out your best (or worst) habits. Night owls who have the hankering to satisfy their midnight munchies have multiple food choices that don’t require them to cook at all hours of the night. 

From drive-thrus to the abounding on-demand delivery apps, grabbing a late-night snack (or meal) or eating before the sun rises en route to work is very accessible. Some restaurants have developed specific late-night menus, while others have instilled later hours of operation to appeal to this customer. 

Fortunately, today’s fast food places serve various cuisines after hours. It’s not only burgers and fries or pizza. Think tacos, fried chicken, gyros, freshly baked cookies with ice cream, and even Filipino fare.

This article defines late night as any time after 11 p.m. Always check the local hour listings of your favorite fast food place.

1. Wendy’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers

Credit: NRDC

Address: Find a Location | Phone Number: (888) 624-8140 

You might be old enough to remember Dave Thomas, the founder and recognized face from Wendy’s TV commercials. Thomas opened Wendy’s in Columbus, Ohio, in 1969, where square hamburgers first caught on.

What to eat at Wendy’s: The perfect tasting cheeseburger at Wendy’s is Dave’s Double. This simply constructed burger has two beef patties, cheese, ketchup, mustard, onion, and pickle. Suppose you are feeling late-night extra, try the Baconator, which is a doubly layered sandwich. The Baconator has two quarter-pound beef patties, six strips of bacon, and two slices of American cheese. A Wendy’s original Chocolate Frosty shake is classic.

Why should you eat here: Wendy’s beef patties are not frozen. Patrons are served a freshly cooked burger. On top of cooking with fresh ingredients, Wendy’s restaurants are working to reduce their global footprint in multiple ways, such as reducing packaging, conserving water, and food waste.

·       Yelp Rating: ⭐️⭐️ 1/2

·       Cost: $

·       Specialty Dish: Dave’s Double

·       Cuisine: Burgers

2. Domino’s Pizza

Credit: Penn Live

Address: Find a Location | Phone Number: (734) 930-3030

Domino’s Pizza is THE pizza household name. What started as a small pizza joint in 1960 in Ypsilanti, Michigan, is today’s go-to late-night pizza delivery. Its range of pizza includes custom toppings for everybody’s pizza needs.

What to eat at Domino’s Pizza: When you are in the I want everything on my pizza crowd, Domino’s ExtravaganZZa is the one to eat. It is topped with four types of meat, green peppers, mushrooms, black olives, and extra cheese. For the no red sauce population, Domino’s has a Spinach & Feta square pie that is quite delicious. For the purist — pepperoni pizza.

Why you should eat here: Domino’s encourages personalizing your pizza, so they make it suitable for you. Its menu includes several crust choices, cheeses, and sauces. This restaurant also offers tons of deals and coupons, so go online and get that discount code.

·       Yelp Rating: ⭐️⭐️1/2

·       Cost: $

·       Specialty Dish: Pepperoni extra cheese

·       Cuisine: Pizza

Related Read: 15 Best Fast Food Salads in America

3. Taco Bell Cantina

Credit: Taco Bell

Address: Find a Location | Phone Number: (800) 822-6235

For late-night and late late night tacos, Taco Bell is your best choice. Owner and founder Glen Bell opened his first fast food cantina in 1962 in Southern California. Taco Bell was best known for Glen Bell’s original Crunchy Taco recipe, which appealed to every generation. Fun fact: did you know weddings are on the Taco Bell menu at the Las Vegas location? Since 2018 more than 500 couples have been married there.

What to eat at Taco Bell: Taco Bell via Doja Cat and TikTok recently and permanently brought Mexican Pizza back to its menu. This Italian-Mexican pizza-quesadilla is made with savory beef and refried beans layered between 2 fried flour tortillas and then topped with pizza sauce, cheese, and diced tomatoes. Don’t ever sleep on the Crunchy (or Soft) tacos. The OG taco has beef, cheese, and lettuce, but add-ons, including chicken, beans, steak, and potatoes, are also tasty.

Why should you eat here: Taco Bell hits the mark with its menu when it comes to fast food Mexican-American (with the emphasis on American). The fresh tomatoes and lettuce that accompany all of their tacos are a gratifying addition. And most importantly, Taco Bell always creates exciting menu items such as Doritos Locos Tacos, Chalupas, and its Gordita Crunch taco.

·       Yelp Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️

·       Cost: $

·       Specialty Dish: Crunchy Taco

·       Cuisine: Mexican

4. Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen

Credit: DoorDash

Address: Find a Location | Phone Number: (877) 767-3937

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen gives guests a fast food Southern food experience. In 1972 founder Alvin C. Copeland Sr. knew he had something special with his New Orleans spicy fried chicken recipe. Popeyes marinates the chicken in buttermilk for hours, coating it with signature Louisiana herbs and spices.

What to eat at Popeyes: The Signature Chicken. Available in spicy or mild, this chicken is crunchy on the outside and juicy on the inside. The Signature Chicken Sandwich comes with a piece of white meat and pickles on a brioche bun slathered with spicy mayo. The best sides are biscuits, mashed potatoes with Cajun gravy, red kidney beans and rice.

Why should you eat here: USA locations source all chicken, eggs, and red beans from American farms. Popeyes has the initiative to eliminate flavor enhancers like MSG, artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. This change has become somewhat of a supply and demand issue. You should phone ahead to your local Popeyes to ensure the kitchen has what you want to eat.

·       Yelp Rating: ⭐️⭐️1/2

·       Cost: $

·       Specialty Dish: Signature Chicken

·       Cuisine: Southern food

Related Read: 15 Best & Most Popular Buffet Restaurants in America

5. In-n-Out

Credit: Eater

Address: Find a Location | Phone Number: (800) 786-1000

Since 1948 In-N-Out Burger has continued to sate late-night hamburgers and shake cravings. This burger institution opened as a hamburger stand in SoCal. It has since grown with drive-thru and stand-alone restaurants throughout the West Coast and Southwest. Serious In-N-Out fans know how to order using “secret menu” burgers such as Animal Style, Wish Burger, and the Goldilocks Burger.

What to eat at In-N-Out: The Animal Style burger is a popular choice which is a mustard-cooked beef patty, pickle, extra sauce (an In-N-Out concoction of ketchup, mustard, vinegar, and spices), and grilled onions on a bun. Protein Style burgers are two beef patties and two slices of cheese, lettuce, and tomato between two pieces of lettuce. The In-N-Out Shake is blended with real ice cream and is a must-order.

Why should you eat here: In-N-Out knows what makes their burger a home run. It’s the ratio of ingredients built within the bun or lettuce. Each layer has just the right component making every bite perfect. This drive-thru is a California favorite.

·       Yelp Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

·       Cost: $

·       Specialty Dish: Double Double Animal Style

·       Cuisine: Burgers

6. Jack in the Box

Credit: GQ

Address: Find a Location | Phone Number: (858) 876-0461

Jack in the Box’s ping pong clown head is the fast food chain’s calling card for late-night eats. It started in 1951 in San Diego, California when Robert O. Peterson introduced his hamburger drive-thru concept. In 2013 the restaurant debuted its Jack’s Late Night Munchie Meal and Late Night Menu, available from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.

What to eat at Jack in the Box: The Late Night Menu’s best option is the Stacked Grilled Cheese Burger Munchie Meal with tacos, half Curly fries, half French Fries, and a 20 oz. drink. Jack’s Spicy Chicken sandwich, Crispy Chicken Strips, Tacos, and a Jumbo Jack are top picks.

Why should you eat here: Jack stays open late. You can rely on the quality of this fast food and its availability. There is a reason Jack named their late-night menu options Munchie Meals.

·       Yelp Rating: ⭐️⭐️1/2

·       Cost: $

·       Specialty Dish: Jumbo Jack (with or without cheese), Tacos

·       Cuisine: Burgers

Related Read: 15 BEST Mexican Restaurants Chains in the US

7. Wingstop

Credit: ezCater

Address: Find a Location | Phone Number: (877) 411-9464

In 1994, Wingstop was a single location specializing in frying buffalo-style chicken wings in Garland, Texas. The menu has expanded by offering chicken tenders and thigh meat bites. When you want to skip the pizza, a late-night date with chicken wings stands on its own.

What to eat at Wingstop: The sauces here change the whole wing game. One fan favorite is the Spicy Korean Q wings with balanced sweet and spicy flavors. Garlic Parmesan’s dry rub gives a flavor boost to your meal. Mango Habanero is also sweet and spicy, and Original Hot has tang and heat. Wingstop’s Chicken Sandwich is a winner.

Why should you eat here: 12 unique sauces satisfy every palette and give you options. Wingstop’s online wing calculator makes it easy for late-night party ordering. The “Find Your Flavor” scale helps newbies figure out no flavor or spicy hot.

·       Yelp Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

·       Cost: $

·       Specialty Dish: Original Hot Wings

·       Cuisine: Chicken Wings

8. McDonald’s

Credit: Food and Wine

Address: Find a Location | Phone Number: (800) 244-6227

The Golden Arches has been an American icon since the late-1940s when Richard and Maurice McDonald began serving hamburgers, french fries, and milkshakes. In 2005 the fast food chain decided to keep its stores open 24 hours. Of course, it thrilled fast food fans.

What to eat at McDonald’s: Big Mac and a side of fries are satisfying and tasty throughout the night. Crispy Chicken Sandwich gives foodies a taste of southern fried chicken on a potato bun with McD’s spicy pepper dressing. As of October 6, 2022, patrons can order from the new breakfast all-day menu, which has favorites, including the Egg McMuffin and Biscuit sandwiches. And a McFlurry is the ultimate in fast food desserts.

Why should you eat here: Chances are, wherever you are (nationally and internationally), McDonald’s has a location near you. This reliable, fast food restaurant gives you precisely what you think you’re getting.

·       Yelp Rating: ⭐️⭐️1/2

·       Cost: $

·       Specialty Dish: Big Mac

·       Cuisine: Burgers

Related Read: Fast Food Restaurants That Serve Breakfast All Day

9. Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers

Credit: Mashed

Address: Find a Location | Phone Number: (833) 442-2637

Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers is one of the newer fast food chains on the block. A dream come true for founder Todd Graves, Cane’s opened in 1996 as a chicken fingers specialty from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Graves has become a cult favorite on Instagram and Twitter and has a “Restaurant Recovery” series on Discovery+ about his philanthropic endeavors in the restaurant industry.

What to eat at Raising Cane’s: Chicken Fingers are marinated, hand-dipped, breaded, then fried. The chicken is tender on the inside and has the perfect crunch on the outside. Any one of the box combos is a crowd pleaser. The best side is Texas Toast, which has the precise amount of butter and garlic.

Why should you eat here: Chicken Fingers are made to order. Freshly fried chicken fingers taste exceptional. Leaving chicken fingers sitting under a heat lamp all day is a no-no at Cane’s. It will dry out the chicken.

·       Yelp Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

·       Cost: $

·       Specialty Dish: Chicken Fingers with a side of Cane’s secret sauce

·       Cuisine: Chicken Finger meals

10. Cook Out

Credit: Delish

Address: Find a Location | Phone Number: (866) 547-0011

Cook Out opened up in 1989. Morris Reaves and his son, Jeremy Reaves, run the fast food chain. This Southeast-based fast food place was first introduced to customers in Greensboro, North Carolina. Today it resides in many other states, including South Carolina, Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee, and Maryland.

What to eat at Cook Out: North Carolinians will tell you to order Cook Out’s char-grilled hot dog with a side of Quesadilla, and White Cheddar Bites a la cheese curds. Don’t get overwhelmed when selecting one of 40 different milkshake flavors, such as Peanut Butter Banana, Peach Cobbler, and Orange Push Up.

Why should you eat here: The food portions are abundant. Cook Out is one of the few late-night restaurants serving hot dogs. The sides are fantastic, and the menu features a range of what you would consider a meal, such as a quesadilla, corn dog, and chicken nuggets.

·       Yelp Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

·       Cost: $

·       Specialty Dish: Char-grilled Hot Dog and a Milkshake

·       Cuisine: Hot Dogs, Burgers, Shakes

11. Insomnia Cookies

Credit: Postmates

Address: Find a Location | Phone Number: (866) 547-0011

When University of Pennsylvania student Seth Berkowitz realized insomnia was a problem for himself and many others, he couldn’t find great late-night food options. So, in 2003 he baked the idea of Insomnia Cookies, which today stays open until 3 a.m. Cookies and ice cream – an ideal snack in the middle of the night. PS Most US colleges have Insomnia Cookies around the corner from campus.

What to eat at Insomnia Cookies: The peanut butter cookies are the bomb. The base of this recipe is peanut butter with an abundance of peanut butter chips. Chocolate lovers will make any effort to take a bite of Insomnia’s Double Chocolate Chunk, a chocolate chewy chocolate chip delight. The traditional chocolate chip cookie is also a must-order, especially with one (or two) scoops of ice cream.

Why should you eat here: These cookies are a bite of heaven. The best part is that the bakery will deliver any menu item to you, including ice cream. The bigger party packs are a great surprise when it’s the last call.

·       Yelp Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

·       Cost: $$

·       Specialty Dish: Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich

·       Cuisine: Cookies and baked goods

12. MOE’s Southwest Grill

Credit: Atlanta Magazine

Address: Find a Location | Phone Number: (877) 663-7411

Authentic southwest grill flavors are rocking at MOE’s (Musicians Outlaws and Entertainers). This Atlanta, Georgia-based fast food opened in 2000. Moe’s is an easy place for dine-in or take-out, recognized as the Tex Mex fast food restaurant cooking with the freshest ingredients. While some locations close by 10 p.m., some restaurants stay open past Midnight.

What to eat at Moe’s Southwest Grill: The Homewrecker Burrito is probably the most ordered burrito on Moe’s menu. Packed with a protein (sirloin steak, white meat chicken, ground beef or pork, and tofu), rice, beans, cheese, lettuce, pico de gallo, and no extra charge for guacamole. Moe’s housemade Queso is a great add-on and has a tasty blend of cheeses and diced jalapenos.

Why should you eat here: Moe’s Kit Meals to make-your-own Tacos, Fajitas, and Nachos are easy late-night orders for a gang of 6. Moe’s also makes it worth your while to spend your cash here. Every order includes complimentary chips, salsa (housemade), and guacamole and accommodates vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free special diets.

·       Yelp Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

·       Cost: $

·       Specialty Dish: Homewrecker Burrito

·       Cuisine: Southwestern Tex Mex

13. The Halal Guys

Address: Find a Location | Phone Number: n/a

The Halal Guys are famous for unique American Halal food cooked from a street food cart. Three Egyptian founders and immigrants initially took a stab at selling hot dogs. Ultimately, Mohamed Abouelenein, Abdelbaset Elsayed, and Ahmed Elsaka landed on the brilliance of selling street meat to Muslim taxi drivers in NYC. The Halal Guys have built a late-night food cart phenomenon that continues to grow nationally.

What to eat at The Halal Guys: Falafel Sandwich served in a warm pita, lettuce, tomato, and topped off with the cart’s famous white sauce, a tangy yogurt secret ingredient sauce. The Platter satiates late-night eating. It consists of a chicken and beef gyro on a plate of rice with pita, lettuce, tomato, and all of their sauces.

Why you should eat here: The Halal Guys take a unique spin on late-night grub. The lines to get your pita pocket of choice can get long after a Saturday night out, a late night at the office, or a craving you can’t ignore. But the aromatic flavors and excellent fast food is innovative and priceless.

·       Yelp Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

·       Cost: $$

·       Specialty Dish: Your choice of gyro or falafel sandwich with the white sauce

·       Cuisine: Mediterranean, Halal

14. Jollibee

Address: Find a Location | Phone Number: +63 (917) 131 8000

Jollibee is a Philippines-based fast food chain that arrived in California in 1998. This food concept pulls together the exciting flavors of traditional Filipino foods with some of the popular dishes from its home country. Jollibee plans to open hundreds of these restaurants in North America within the next few years.

What to eat at Jollibee: 100% go with Jollibee Chickenjoy buckets. The fried chicken meal is savory and satisfying, accompanied by gravy and a spicy sauce. Palbok Fiesta is the traditional champion noodle dish tossed with garlic sauce, pork, shrimp, and egg. If you need those carbs, you’ll be in for a surprise with Jolly Spaghetti, a unique-tasting spaghetti dish with a Filipino sweet sauce, sliced ham, ground meat, and hot dog. There’s more: Adobo Rice, Peach Mango Pie, and the Pineapple Quencher.

Why you should eat here: The international trends in fast food are paramount. Jollibee is an excellent Filipino concept offering an alternative to burgers and fries. Feasting on Jollibee’s most popular foods will serve your taste buds the three core flavors of Filipino foods — sweet, tangy, and salty.

·       Yelp Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

·       Cost: $

·       Specialty Dish: Chickenjoy with Adobo Rice

·       Cuisine: Filipino

15. Pizza Hut

Address: Find a Location | Phone Number: (800) 948-8488

In 1958 a very giving mother loaned her two sons, the Carney Brothers, $600 to start a business. By the early 70s, this new business, Pizza Hut, was already receiving accolades for its exceptional pizza. This family business has thrived throughout the decades.

What to eat at Pizza Hut: Supreme Pizza is loaded with veggies, pork, and pepperonis. The BBQ Lover’s Pizza is a winner that swaps the traditional red sauce with barbecue and is topped with chicken and bacon. Everyone also loves the classic Pepperoni Pizza. Pizza Hut has quite a heavy hand with its pepperoni.

Why you should eat at Pizza Hut: Tossing pies for the last 64 years, Pizza Hut has undoubtedly become an innovative and bold pizza brainchild. The menu offers its signature pan pizza, original stuffed crust, a Spicy Lover’s pizza, gluten-free pizzas, and toppings galore.

·       Yelp Rating: ⭐️⭐️ 

·       Cost: $

·       Specialty Dish: Supreme Pizza

·       Cuisine: Pizza

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