July 17, 2002 News & Features » Cover Story


Late Nights 

Eat late, eat long

Simple late-night munchies are nothing compared to how your stomach feels when you are tanked at 2 a.m. It's really amazing how six or seven drinks over a few hours can make you feel like you haven't eaten for weeks. At these moments, the time it takes for a diner waitress to deliver your cheese fries can seem like the longest 20 minutes of your life. Condiments start looking good and you begin to question humanity. It's comforting to know you have a few options.

— Wayne Melton

Aladdin Express Restaurant

801 W. Broad St.

The place to go when you just want to blanket that belly fire as quickly as possible. Many pick the quick items like pitas stuffed with falafel and babaganouj, but this Mediterranean pizza joint has a large menu and none of the selections will keep you up too late. Refresh yourself in the decent bathrooms and lounge in the comfy though oddly decorated waiting area. There are also booths in case you absolutely must scarf down your food the minute you get it. Open 'til 2 a.m. weekday nights, and 3 a.m. on weekends.

4th Street Cafe

4th and Main streets

Leisurely late-night meal or soul-crushing wait? Depending on your mood, the legendarily slow service at 4th Street can make it seem like a calm place to chill with friends after the bars close, or a torture chamber designed to keep the sweet relief of omelets and onion rings just out of reach. Maybe that's why the cafe keeps all those tantalizing packets of jelly on the table. Open 24 hours, although this place is known to shut down for an hour or two without warning.

3rd Street Diner

3rd and Main streets

Similar to 4th Street, this diner has a little more pep in its step and usually attracts a rowdier after-hours crowd. The decent-sized menu offers all the usual diner suspects — meatloaf, ham and eggs, spaghetti, etc. Vegetarians appreciate the large menu of sides, a make-your-own-meal list of nonmeat items. Also open 24 hours a day but also known to sometimes shut down in the wee morning.

Sidewalk Cafe

2101 W. Main St.

Sidewalk offers its full menu until last call most nights. Usually the inebriated don't think of food until after the last call drink is pried from their drunken death grip, so most will still be toasting Jagermeisters while the cook is cleaning off the grill. But Sidewalk can often be the savior of the Fan, the difference between a toasty club sandwich with fries and a dusty can of pinto beans from your cupboard. And even if you're a teetotaler, is there anyplace else in the Fan to get a hot meal at 1:30 a.m. on a Monday night?

Village Cafe

Harrison and Grace streets

More often the aftermath hangout for morning hangover relief, the Village can also provide a quick refresher during a timeout from bar hopping. The large menu should satisfy just about everyone, and the food is served until 12:45 a.m. every night. Go for the black-bean quesadilla if you want to split something cheap. It's huge. S


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