New York City is known for luring and keeping people out way past their bedtime. In the City That Never Sleeps it's not difficult to find hundreds of places where you can always eat—but which ones will satisfy your midnight munchies and which ones will leave you regretting your decision to grab a bite to eat the morning after?
You're in the mood for: Breakfast
Head to: Kellogg's Diner. Yet another sign of the so-called “Manhattanization” of Brooklyn, the just-refurbished Kellogg’s Diner—a Williamsburg late-night, greasy-spoon institution since 1972—is now in the able hands of managing partner Jay Espinal and consulting chef René Hernandez. But Brooklynites can find some solace in the diner-fare-driven 24-hour breakfast menu. (Oh, and the booths are still comfy.)
Backup: Coffee Shop. During its heyday, and if you were involved with the Armani campaign at the time, you couldn’t go to Coffee Shop in Union Square without finding yourself in the middle of a giant model sandwich. Now that things have calmed down, the place still gets crowded and the late-night breakfast options are almost always a safe bet to help ward off any impending hangover.
You're in the mood for: Comfort Food
Head to: Cafeteria. The one guarantee you can always expect from a trip to Chelsea's Cafeteria is that the mac ‘n’ cheese will be nearly perfect. Actually, there are a few other certainties you can anticipate upon your visit: It is almost always busy, that the cocktails will be flowing, that eyes will be roaming the room trying to size up who's there, and that you can find bona fide comfort food 24 hours every day. Besides the traditional mac ‘n’ cheese with gooey fontina and cheddar, there are also the mac ‘n’ cheese spring rolls with smoked gouda dipping sauce, grilled angus slider and a meatloaf sandwich on Texas toast with arugula, red onion and whatever else you decide to toss on.
Backup: Eatery. While “E,” as the Hell's Kitchen locals call it, does offer up some standard comfort items like Southern fried-chicken salad (with spicy buttermilk dressing and BBQ sauce that's made on the premises) and beef tenderloin medallions with beer-batter onion rings and goat cheese “smashed” potatoes, it is the food items that mean comfort to people outside the US that helps set Eatery apart—like the red curry chicken breast over a roti pancake. But in true comfort-food fashion, you can’t go wrong with the Eatery sirloin burger with hand-cut french fries and garlic pickles.
You’re in the mood for: A Slice of Pizza
Head to: Famous Joe’s Pizza. Open until 5am (!), this quintessential New York pizza slice never fails to satiate your post-bar-hop appetite. Located in the heart of Greenwich Village, at Famous Joe's Pizza you don’t need to bother with any toppings (save the room in your stomach for an additional cheese slice).
Backup: Pizza Box. Located a few blocks down the street from Famous Joe's Pizza, don’t let the name fool you—the pies hardly taste like cardboard. When it's warm outside you can enjoy the consistent cheesy goodness and tasty crust in their spacious backyard “garden” area.