We reviewed Evanston’s few and far between late-night dining options.
In the hearts, minds and perhaps most importantly, stomachs of Northwestern students, there exists a tough question: Where do we eat after 10 p.m.? The options have always been limited, but with Taco Bell and Cheesie’s recent closings, there seems to be nowhere left to go for ravenous insomniacs. To remedy this dilemma, we compiled a review of the “late-night” food establishments. Of course, here in Evanston, the city that always seems to be asleep, “late-night” really means anything open after sundown. Whether it’s after a long night of studying, a hazy post-bar banquet or just a spur-of-the-moment midnight meal, these restaurants are sure to provide enough options for the nocturnal Northwestern diner.
Ranking: 5/5 moons
While a decent trek from Northwestern’s campus, the Evanston Chicken Shack may be the perfect spot for weary late-night munchies. Complete with fresh, home-style fried chicken, deliciously crispy fries and mouth-watering specialty sauces, the food tastes like the wholesome fun of a Sunday backyard barbecue. I was accompanied by a few friends from Evanston who all recommended the same dish: small barbecue bits with fries. When I got my food, nothing about this meal struck me as “small.” I opened the styrofoam container to find a fully stacked cornucopia of fries supporting mixed white and dark chicken tenders, smothered with tangy barbecue sauce, all on top of a thin layer of white bread to catch the grease. The $7.36 platter was not only my dinner, but the leftovers served as a breakfast of champions the morning after.
Ranking: 2/5 moons
Ranking: 2/5 moons | With dirty tables and affordable prices, the 24-hour Burger King is a popular spot for Northwestern students late at night. There’s something oddly inviting about this place. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s perfectly okay for a customer to just lie down at one of the tables and take a nap, or perhaps the patience and warmth of the cashier, who had surely seen more than enough weary wanderers and drunk teenagers on their graveyard shift at the home of The Whopper. My nighttime supper of a spicy chicken sandwich and french fries tasted comforting and familiar. The warm sandwich wasn’t the spiciest, it wasn’t the most crispy, but it was just about what I expected. How often do our expectations perfectly match our reality, no more, no less?
Ranking: 1/5 Moons
While Buffalo Joe’s may serve as the perfect spot for game-day tailgate takeout, it certainly doesn’t hold up as a post-bar wingery. The spicy wings with fries were satisfying, a nice juxtaposition of crispiness doused in a spicy but not overpowering sauce. However, the environment of Buffalo Joe’s was harsh and unwelcoming. The service was still fast and reliable but hostile toward a crowd of post-party college students. Of course, the staff isn’t to blame for this uncomfortable environment; It’s certainly not their job to put up with rowdy, empty-stomached Northwesterners. But for this reason, Buffalo Joe’s may not be the best idea if you’re looking for a late-night bite.
Ranking: 3/5 moons
The “old-reliable” of the list, Fran’s Cafe serves as one of the late-night restaurants where students can use their weekly meal exchanges and dining dollars. While the menu is limited, the chicken quesadilla, waffle fries and milkshake certainly did not disappoint. The convenient location Willard is an easy walk for south campus residents, and the many couches serve as a relaxing spot for diners and students studying late at night. Fran’s is comfy and satisfying, but probably not the best spot if you’re in a big group coming back from a bar or party. With many quiet students working diligently, a loud group of partygoers would likely be scolded by both the staff and patrons.