Midnight Bites Near DePaul’s Campus

The late-night munchies are merciless, and will come for anyone who makes for susceptible prey. Stay up late cramming for an exam or mindlessly watching Netflix, and you might find yourself roaming the sidewalks passing by closed storefronts, searching the streets for a late-night snack. Look no further than this guide for the best late-night spots surrounding DePaul University for those killer munchies.

Pick Me Up Cafe

3408 N. Clark St., Lakeview, $$

Saturday: 9 a.m.–1 a.m., Sunday: 8 a.m–11 p.m.

Monday–Friday: 11 a.m.–2 a.m.

Pick Me Up’s Gnocchi (Cate Hoogstraten, 14 East)

This insomniac staple is great for vegans and non-vegans alike. Although not just for vegetarians, this spot offers a lot of veggie options. Pick Me Up features an all-day breakfast menu, a regular dinner menu with sandwiches, full plates, an extensive sides menu and, of course, a dessert menu complete with vegan root beer floats. Some stars on the menu include the pancakes, gnocchi with garlic bread and the mashed potatoes, with full plates priced under $15. Stick around for a slice of vegan red velvet cake and alongside  the twinkly lights, kitschy artwork and lopsided layout. 

Velvet Taco

1110 N. State St., Gold Coast, $-$$

Friday : 11 a.m.–5 a.m., Saturday: 10 a.m.–5 a.m., Sunday: 10 a.m.–12 a.m

Monday: 11 a.m.–12 a.m., Tuesday–Thursday: 11 a.m.–3 a.m.

This small, always-full restaurant off the Clark/Division Red Line stop houses some of my favorite fusion tacos. The menu selections range from tacos inspired by Asian cuisine to vegan options to tacos that sound like they should not work as tacos — yet they do. Some of my favorites include the shrimp and grits taco, the southern-style “Picnic Chicken” taco and the aesthetically pleasing “Annatto Shredded Pork” taco served on a magenta hibiscus tortilla. Velvet Taco’s menu is small but mighty; all their creations are creative and delicious, and each individual taco is priced under $7. Even the only non-taco options on the menu — the red velvet cake and the handmade margaritas — are absolutely superb. 

Zombie Taco 

530 N. LaSalle Dr., River North, $

Open 24 hours 

Another taco spot, this establishment has an entirely different feel than Velvet Taco. Located off the Grand Red Line stop in River North, Zombie Taco is open 24/7 and is the perfect spot to stop at while bar hopping downtown. Zombie Taco is simply a window that you order from on the first floor of the Moxy Hotel. In true taco stand style it has a small menu tailored for breakfast, lunch and dinner, each menu filled with only a couple of classics — with an eclectic twist. The taco window comes equipped with a variety of different burritos, a handful of appetizers and a number of staple tacos, with prices ranging anywhere from a $3.50 taco to an $11 burrito. My favorite thing on the menu is the braised brisket taco — the perfect mid-bar crawl snack. 

Golden Nugget

1765 W. Lawrence Ave., 2406 W. Diversey Ave., 3234 W. Irving Park Rd.,  3959 W. Diversey Ave., 4229 W. Irving Park Rd., 3001 N. Central Ave. – North and West Sides, $

Open 24 hours 

Open 24/7, this homey diner is perfect for late-night breakfast. With several locations around Chicago, a homemade breakfast craving can absolutely be satiated at one of Golden Nugget’s diners. Although the interior is nothing exciting, it almost feels a more appropriate home for old-fashioned style breakfast food. This classic diner houses almost any breakfast staple you can think of. You really can do no wrong ordering any kind of waffle, french toast or pancake from Golden Nugget, and their breakfast menu plates are all priced under $15. It’s the best place to stop at for good old-fashioned, homemade breakfast food. 

JoJo’s Milk Bar

23 W. Hubbard St., River North, $$

Friday: 11 a.m.–2 a.m., Saturday: 10 a.m.–3 a.m., Sunday: 10 a.m.–12 a.m.

Monday-Thursday: 11 a.m.–12 a.m.

Jojo’s Milk Bar’s Gold Digger (Cate Hoogstraten, 14 East)

Also located off the Grand Red Line stop, this retro-themed dessert diner is one place you will definitely want to have a photo shoot. Complete with old fashioned Pac-Man games and an assortment of board games to accompany your diner fare. Although the wings and fries are definitely good, nothing hits the spot — or looks as good on your social media story — as one of Jo Jo’s milkshakes. This is not your normal milkshake. Each shake is huge, definitely meant to be shared with a friend, and the rim of each glass is dipped in some sort of sugary goodness. Donned with a themed assortment of cookies, candies and other treats, these shakes are no joke. My personal favorite is the Gold Digger, a caramel chocolate shake topped with cookies and chocolate-dipped Rice Krispie treats. These milkshakes are a bit pricey at $11 a pop, but the most expensive items on the menu are the full plates, priced at $16. The salted caramel hot chocolate is a close contender considering it is the best hot chocolate I have ever had.                                                                                                                                                          

Ina Mae Tavern 

1415 N. Wood St., Wicker Park, $$

Friday: 5 p.m.–3 a.m., Saturday: 10 a.m.–3 a.m., Sunday: 10 a.m.–12 a.m.

Monday–Thursday : 5 p.m.–12 a.m. 

(Cate Hoogstraten, 14 East)

Although I have only been to this restaurant for the Wednesday special, it is definitely Wicker Park’s hidden gem. If you are ever craving some good old-fashioned Southern comfort food, Ina Mae’s is the spot. Constructed to look like a refurbished wooden farmhouse, this rustic restaurant has homemade food to match. If you ever find yourself in Wicker Park on a Wednesday night, make sure to start with a homemade biscuit, and ask for the Wednesday Night special — $25 for an all-you-can-eat shrimp boil. Complete with corn on the cob, red potatoes and special southern seasoning, each plate is served up with that special kind of Southern love you cannot find many places in the city. The restaurant also hosts live music to accompany your southern feast.                                    

Pequod’s Pizza

2207 N. Clybourn Ave., Lincoln Park, $$

11 a.m.–2 a.m.

There are a lot of deep dish pizza places in Chicago, but not many of them hit the spot — or are open as late — as Pequod’s. This pub-style restaurant has some of the best, greasiest garlic bread, and some of the heartiest deep dish pizza you can get your hands on at 2 a.m. on a Tuesday. Deep dish pizzas range in size and price, from $8.49–20.59. Definitely a Lincoln Park late-night staple. 


958 W. Belmont Ave., Lakeview, and 1365 N. Milwaukee Ave., Wicker Park, $

Friday–Saturday: 11 a.m.–5 a.m.

Sunday–Wednesday: 11 a.m.–2 a.m., Thursday: 11 a.m.–3 a.m.

A Cheesie’s Seasonal Grilled Cheese (Cate Hoogstraten, 14 East)

DePaul students go crazy over Cheesie’s, and for good reason. Something about a grilled cheese filled with mac and cheese really hits the spot. Bright orange walls and Pride memorabilia line the walls of this fun Chicago fast food stop. Some of the best options on the menu are aforementioned “Mac,” the saucy and meat-filled Tenderizer and the appropriately named “Frenchie,” topped with french fries, bacon and cheese, of course. Cheesie’s is the best spot for late-night cravings for the most unhealthy foods, priced under $10 a sandwich.

Header Illustration by Jenni Holtz, 14 East