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Sep 4, 2007 12:40 PM

24-hour food joints

Does anyone have suggestions for the best 24-hour food in Chicago? This could be diners, bakeries, street food, even sno-cones -- as long as they're serving til the break of dawn, I'm interested. The wackier, the better. Thoughts?

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  1. I can think of only two diners--both greasy spoons, but greasy omelettes and hash browns taste great after 3AM and bunches of alcohol.
    White Palace Grill -- Roosevelt and Canal
    Tempo - Chestnut and State

    1. Hmmm, I miss the now defunct late late late late night greasy spoon Thai restaurant; River Kwai on Belmont across just east of Paulina. It wasn't the best Thai food in Chicago but it was the best at 4 in the morning after several beverages. This place had a strong following considering the hours and the dumpy decor. It was open from 10 pm to 6 am. I used to place my order at 2 or 3am and then hit the sack and wait for Moon's phone call. Yeah, Moon was always accomodating during those frigid winter nights. Anyone recall those 70's skin magazines behind the counter? Moon used to pass them whenever there was a long wait, which was always. I would love to hear more stories about River Kwai, the great late night food, and of course about the dynamic sister and two brother trio.

      4 Replies
      1. re: amoncada

        Now that you mention North side, I forgot that San Soo Gap San (5000'something N Western) is open 24hrs on the weekends. I actually had Korean BBQ at 4AM and it was AWESOME. Just don't get too drunk and burn your arms.

        1. re: amoncada

          Meet with me off-line sometime. I'll tell you more than you would care to know about River Kwai.

          Anyway, back on topic, my college pal, Dennis O'Brien, once put together a webpage which listed the various 24hr. establishments in Chicago. Dennis has since moved to the Bay Area, and his page is pretty outdated, but the OP might still find some use in it:

          There are many more to add to that list, of course. A keyword search here at Chowhound should turn up a couple of threads, at least.


          1. re: Erik M

            Thanks, Erik! That site is so helpful!

            1. re: Erik M

              Wow Erik, I can't believe I blanked on the Greektown places or the Maxwell (countless teenage nights in the '70;s scarfing Polishes and Pork Chops) Street (yeah, I know, not like they were on Halsted) spots. Still, Mount Pindos wasn't mentioned...

          2. Most 24 hour places are what they are... open and serving when others aren't so you sort of take what yoiu can get...

            That said, The Golden Apple on Lincoln and George was my home away from home for ages. I used to live down the street from it for 15 years and worked as a Wrigleyville bartender--9PM to 2AM. By the time we closed and finished it was 3:30 in the morning and it just felt good to sit down. Odd how there were "regulars" at that hour, but cops, taxi drivers and industry people all hung there.

            El Presidente on Ashland between Fullerton and Diversey. Not the best, not the worst, but when you want some Mexican or huevos post bar hopping, they are open.

            Wacky? How 'bout Huck Finn's on Archer? Doughnuts, Ice Cream and diner food.

            Further out on Archer, Mount Pindo's, daytime Curie HS hangout, late night diner. My dad's twin brother lived a block away, we ate there a lot as a kid... (not late night though!) Actually, I've stopped there a few times recently when the S/O's Midway flight's have been delayed.

            EDIT... The Golden Apple Realty link is an error that won't delete!

            Golden Apple Realty
            4464 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60630

            Golden Apple Restaurant
            2971 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60657

            El Presidente Restaurant
            2558 N Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL 60614

            Huck Finn Donuts & Snack Shops
            3414 S Archer Ave, Chicago, IL 60608

            Mt Pindos
            4955 S Pulaski Rd, Chicago, IL 60632

            1. Hollywood grill on North Avenue, Melrose on Broadway (and smoke free!!), Tempo (great people watching), Arandas on Division

              This brings back very hazy, drunken memories. Enjoy!

              1 Reply
              1. re: blondie60614

                Hollywood Grill

                (773) 395-1818
                1601 W North Ave @ Ashland
                Chicago, IL

                Takes me back to my youth hanging out at 2am in diners in New Jersey.
                When I was there last time, I actually had a bowl of Manhattan clam chowder. Not superb, but decent and it hit the spot as well as the mark as far as diner food goes.

                Standard selection of diner food from full dinners to burgers to sandwiches to the now ubiquitous nachos and burritos. And my favorite, french fries with brown gravy.

                Parking lot next door is well-lit and there are security cameras that you can watch from inside the restaurant. (not that Wicker Park is super-sketchy, but it's not Smallville either).

              2. Diner Grill, home of "The Slinger" - the motto of which is "Don't ask, just eat".
                Basic, solid, diner fare in a spartan shell down the street from "The Long Room", a good place to get yourself in the condition that normally precedes a visit to a dive diner. I only order the Slinger when I'm extremely hung over; if I'm just hung over I typically opt for ham, eggs, and hashbrowns. Ham used to be sliced off the bone right in front but the city's inspectors have since quashed that practice.

                Diner Grill
                1635 W. Irving Park Rd., Chicago
                Tel: (773) 248-2030

                The Long Room
                1612 W Irving Park Rd
                Chicago, IL 60613-2512
                Phone: (773) 665-4500