We all know the feeling: it’s well past midnight and the late night cravings are back. Since it’s well past the appropriate time to order normal food, you’ll have to look at the assortment of late night food options. Here are all the options at your disposal, ranked in order of desirableness.
GoPuff is the late night equivalent of ordering something from Wish.com. It’s a weird selection of knock offs, strange products you have no need for, and weirdly phallic imagery. If you order ice cream, it’s going to show up melted. If you order Doritos, you’re going to get some crappy off brand called Detos. God help you if you fall down the rabbit hole and end up ordering something that’s not food: you can get anything from drug tests to cleaning supplies to dog treats. There’s something inherently suspicious about a place that offers literally everything, so don’t let GoPuff sucker you in. You’ll be waiting for that delivery for approximately seven hours.
Am I being dramatic by saying that starving is a better option than ordering GoPuff. Absolutely. But also not at all. And I stand by it. Maybe other people have had positive experiences with GoPuff, and maybe I need to give it another chance, but for now it raises my ire like nothing else. Fuck GoPuff. I’d sooner go hungry than GoPuff.
#6: The Vending Machine on the Ground Floor
When all the delivery options are either closed or too much money, inevitably you’ll find yourself trekking down to the main floor of your building to survey whatever the vending machine has to offer. From here, your results may vary: I know that my current residency has a health food vending machine as well as a junk food one, but only the junk food one breaks every other day. I’m not schlepping myself all the way down there for a Clif Bar. Even if you have a decent selection, the chances of that machine breaking down, eating your dollar, or giving you the wrong product is still high. You’re better off taking a quick walk over to number 5…
If your ground floor vending machine expanded into a full store, it would be 7-11. Same selection: red bulls, KitKats, Slim Jims, etc. etc. etc. But with the added allure of potentially dealing with crackheads outside the main entrance. The inside of a 7-11 is not beholden to laws of the outside world. During the late night hours, it’s the old west: it’s own sovereign state with its own rules and practices, which you must follow if you don’t want to be accosted by a cavalcade of unsavory characters that occupy its premises. So why is this better than the vending machine? Autonomy. A guarantee of getting exactly what you want, even if that thing you want is a Slurpee and a pack of Marlboro reds. At 7-11, you control your own destiny.
#4: The Late Night Pizza Place©️
Every college campus has that one greasy, kind of disgusting, but perpetually open pizza place. It’s where the drunks go to as their final stop between the bars and being hunched over their toilet, reassessing every decision made that night. Here in College Park, MD, it’s Pizza Kingdom: the slices are huge New York style, they’re at least 80 percent grease, and there’s no reason to go there sober. It even feels wrong to be there when the sun is out. But when it’s late night and you’re craving a warm italian greaseball, there’s nowhere else you’d rather be. Just be warned about the repercussions that will inevitably follow.
#3: Taco Bell
If I had a dollar for every time Taco Bell had figuratively saved my life during college, I’d have enough money to buy a franchise myself. The stoners go-to spot for late night munchies has a reputation for a reason. For one, it’s cheap. You can get an entire platter of Mexican food for only a few pesos. And it’s delicious. Sure, try not to think about what’s really in that ground beef, but once you’re out of your mind, your taste buds take over. The only problem with Taco Bell? It’s always going to be the second best late night fast food option. You also run a higher risk of ending up either face down or ass down in the toilet mere minutes after you’ve evacuated the store or finished up the bag.
#2: The 24 Hour Diner
You step in and the smell of coffee hits you immediately. It feels right. It feels like home. You stumble into a booth with a personal jukebox that may or may not work. It’s late night, but you’re feeling breakfast. The options are endless: pancakes stacked sky high, eggs anyway you like them, waffles so Belgian they’re practically slicing off hands in the Congo, hash browns that never tasted so good. Now this surely is what heaven is like. The only thing keeping this out of the top spot is that, for a lot of college towns, this diner is a shitty chain restaurant like Denny’s or IHOP (I refuse to acknowledge anyone who dares slander my beloved Waffle House though). But if you have a good 24 hour diner within your vicinity, take full advantage.
The one true beacon of light. Open 24 hours and always willing to accommodate you at any level of intoxication, McDonalds is what ordering late night food is all about. The secret: the food is always the same. Whereas just about everywhere else on this list has variable levels of consistency, McDonalds is all about consistency. If you order McNuggets, you know exactly what they’re going to taste like every time. And chances are you’re going to get 20 of them, plus some fries. Sure, the ice cream machine is sometimes busted and there’s almost always a creepy guy hanging around the front door, but these are small prices to pay for the greatest of all late night culinary delights. Godspeed you, McDonalds. May your golden arches shine on through the night.