After Hours: What + Where Chefs Eat at Night

After a long, grueling day in the kitchen, the last thing chefs want to do is cook yet another a meal. So they head out in search of late night comfort food. Find out what and where chefs eat at night, from their favorite post-shift haunts and what they like to order.

Ryan Lory of Charlie Palmer Steak, New York, New York
“We just opened the restaurant, so I’ve been working 16-20 hour shifts. Whatever was left in my fridge is what I ate when I got home. My wife likes well-done burgers and chicken fingers, so that’s what I had. If I could get home early enough, I had time to order ramen from Ipuddo, which always makes me a happy guy. I get their classic pork bone broth with the pork belly and the spicy paste. No matter what, I’ll drink a lot of water after being in the kitchen all day. And I’m a huge sour candy guy, so I love crushing SweeTarts and Sour Patch Kids.” Make a reservation at Charlie Palmer Steak.

Where Chefs Eat at Night

Jeff Mahin of Summer House, North Bethesda, Maryland
“It depends on where I am, but the biggest thing all my spots have in common is spiciness. At the end of a hard shift in Chicago, I go to Allende Restaurant. They have the best al pastor taco I’ve ever had in my life with smoky peppers and charred tomato salsa. When I’m in North Bethesda, Maryland, I have these fermented noodles in spicy, super porky broth at Lighthouse Tofu & Barbecue Restaurant. Or I go to A&J Restaurant for dim sum and just ask them to bring me stuff. Both are in nearby Rockville, Maryland. In Hollywood, there’s this truck on Vine at a gas station with great lengua tacos or I go to Soot Bull Jeep in Koreatown, where they grill right in front of you.” Make a reservation at Summer House.

Where chefs eat at night

Jacob Cureton of Annunciation, New Orleans, Louisiana
“When I get out super, super late and I’ve had a couple drinks, I go to Hoshun on Charles Avenue, which is open until 2 a.m. I only get three things. There’s sweet barbecued pork that’s Campari red, which you eat with lots of sriracha. Their J-Pops are basically jalapeno poppers, but stuffed with crab salad and cream cheese and then tempura fried and accompanied by this cherry kiwi sauce. It sounds horrible, but once you have it, you’re blown away. And I get the Hoshun treasure roll: tempura fried shrimp with avocado, cream cheese, and cucumber with eel sauce, spicy mayo, and panko crunchies on top. Sometimes I’ll just go home. My girlfriend is Puerto Rican and makes insane rice and red kidney beans with cumin and green olives. I’ll enjoy it with some homebrewed beer or a rum and coke. There are a couple of food trucks parked in front of my house I like as well. Bona Fried does a great fried chicken slider with honey and Crystal hot sauce, while Taceaux Loceaux (pronounced taco loco) offers the Seoul Man – a Korean chicken taco with kimchi on top – that’s awesome.” Make a reservation at Annunciation.

Where Chefs Eat at Night

Aaron Lirette of GreenRiver, Chicago, Illinois
“There’s a place by my house called Rootstock that’s an awesome wine bar with a kitchen that stays open until 1 a.m. They have a fantastic burger made with single farm ground beef and topped with pickled jalapenos, lettuce, and their version of special sauce. It comes with a green salad, but I usually get fries as well. Shake Shack has an excellent burger, too, so I’ll get a double with everything on it, plus the crinkle cut fries with cheese sauce. Sometimes I’ll head to Au Cheval because their kitchen is open pretty late. They do a nice potato hash with duck heart gravy. And then there’s Village Pizza, which is open until 4A.M. and is the kind of place you don’t show up sober, but they do have giant slices of pizza.” Make a reservation at GreenRiver.

Where Chefs Eat at Night

Ben Pflaumer of Osteria Morini, Washington, D.C.
“It’s tough finding places that are open in D.C. when I get out of work. There’s definitely nothing out there that’s healthy to eat. I’ll stop at the Pub & the People in the Bloomingdale neighborhood near my house. They’ve got this fried chicken sandwich that’s nothing fancy – but it’s delicious for what it is – and a great whiskey selection. If I want tequila or margaritas, I go to El Sol in Logan Circle. Their Cubano torta is one of my favorites. And El Camino in Bloomingdale has great tacos, so I go in there to watch sports and decompress a little.” Make a reservation at Osteria Morini.

What chefs eat at night

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Nevin Martell is a Washington, D.C.-based food and travel writer and the author of several books, including Freak Show Without A Tent: Swimming with Piranhas, Getting Stoned in Fiji and Other Family Vacations. Find him on Twitter @nevinmartell and Instagram @nevinmartell

Photo credits: Anthony Tahlier (Aaron Lirette); Daniel Erath (Jacob Cureton); Aubrie Pick (Ryan Lory); Jake Charow (Ben Plfaumer).