As a city, Evanston has its fair share of restaurants, catering a wide range of tastes and prices. Yet, while there's always room for improvement (here's looking at you, Shake Shack...), one area that's in need of an immediate boost is the painful dearth of late-night food choices. Unless you’re especially kitchen savvy (and really, who is on a Friday night after having gone out?), your options are limited to a degree that’s frankly unacceptable.
If you’re still on campus and don’t mind paying an arm and a leg for so-so offerings, Fran’s has you covered for weeknights, and Lisa’s on weekends. But for a massive, drunken crowd looking to pile into rows of tables and eat without much thought, students are basically stuck with Burger King, Cheesie's or Clarke's, hardly enough variety for the hordes of students roaming the streets of Evanston on an empty stomach every weekend.
Of course, Evanston has a lot more restaurants than just these three, many of which would make exceptional offerings during late-night hours. For whatever reason, these businesses have yet to make the leap to their appropriate place as nighttime haunts. If they ever did, would probably start making money faster than any Northwestern “We Will” campaign ever could.
Below, check out five Evanston restaurants just begging to stay open later. As in, we’re begging, and hopefully somebody is listening.
Edzo’s Burger Shop (open until 9 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday)/DMK's Burger & Fish (open until 10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, midnight Saturday-Sunday)
As Evanston’s resident burger joints, both Edzo’s and the newer DMK have endeared themselves to students by offering up burgers and fries a few notches up from the misery that is a 3 a.m. Whopper. Yet while DMK makes it until midnight on weekends, and Edzo’s expanded its hours last January, neither go quite far enough. In particular, DMK, situated just a few blocks from the fraternity quad, would make money hand over french fry-clutching fist if it embraced later hours on the weekends. After all, there’s nothing quite like drowning your drunken sorrows in a DMK peanut butter shake.
Naf Naf Grill (open until 9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 10 p.m. Friday-Saturday)
This is purely subjective, but there’s nothing that quite hits the sweet spot for early-hours dining than a nice falafel. I learned this last quarter while doing a program in Washington D.C., where I frequented Amsterdam Falafel, open until 4 a.m. on the weekends. After going to concerts in the neighborhood, there was nothing quite so sweet as mounds of cool hummus drizzled over freshly cooked falafel, a nice break from the artery-constricting pain of most late night dining. Naf Naf is primed to make this happen in Evanston, giving students a satisfying, arguably healthier late-night option that still fills the yawning chasm that is your unfed, beer-filled stomach.
Blaze Pizza (open until 11 p.m. nightly)
Despite being a chain, and thus far less likely to change its hours around, the newest addition to the Evanston food scene would win over student’s hearts by targeting the late-night crowd. Until now, Evanston hasn’t really had a dependable walk-in pizza joint, already making the establishment popular since its launch earlier this year. By staying open into the early hours of the morning, Blaze would tap into a critical market: drunk college kids wanting to get pizza but unwilling (or unable) to call and order from Domino's or Giordano's.
Chipotle Mexican Grill (open until 10 p.m. nightly)
Honestly, any hour that the venerable burrito joint isn’t open is one less hour to shamelessly vacuum money out of Northwestern student’s pockets. There isn’t a moment that you can’t spot at least one purple hoodie inside, particularly on weekends, making you wonder why the chain doesn’t just replace Frontera Fresco in Norris and make everybody’s dreams come true. With hours that would stretch into the early hours of weekend nights, Chipotle would somehow take more of our money than they already are. It’s a no-brainer economic decision that any Kellogg student would happily rationalize for the company.
Joy Yee's Noodle Kitchen (open until 10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 10:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday)
There’s no place just begging to keep later hours than the venerable Joy Yee’s, with portions that can rise to the occasion to match even the worst drunchies. No mortal soul can begin to down an entire serving in one sitting, which even sets you up for the next day. Those almost-inevitable leftovers you’ll come home with are perfect in the certain hungover state you’ll soon find yourself in, easy to pop in the microwave and start the long, painful recovery right.