Our Five Faves

Best late-night eats

Posted January 30, 2012
Updated February 1, 2012

Nothing wraps up a great night out with friends like a tasty late-night bite. If McDonald’s is your only choice, out of necessity, then albeit. But rest-assured that if your social outings take you anywhere near our favorites in the Triangle for late-night eats, then you do have choices - and plenty of them – friends!

Time-Out (Chapel Hill): You might recognize this choice from our recent Best Biscuits Five Faves list, but we promise there is no list pollution here. It seems that when surveying fellow WRAL newsroom co-workers that some of the same breakfast favorites they crave make a recurring appearance during late-night, too. With the patio open until 2 a.m., what’s not to love?

Snoopy's (multiple Raleigh locations): WRAL Out & About contributor Debbie Tullos calls Snoopy’s a local, late-night “institution," consistently delivering the “kind of a food a person out at 1 a.m. really wants to eat." And let’s be honest – that’s really what it’s all about at 1 a.m. When the hot dog cart just won’t do, find yourself at one end of Hillsborough Street or the other for a Snoopy’s hot dog.

Cook-Out (multiple Triangle locations): “Cook-Out Tray and mint chocolate chip fancy shake… oh, and don’t forget the $.99 BLT, too!” Even if the hushpuppies and onion rings are of the frozen variety, there is just no beating a $4.99 Cook-Out tray, or the entertainment that’s provided free of charge, at about 2:15 a.m. at the Western Blvd. Cook-Out. With locations in Raleigh, Cary and Durham, you’re never far from a “cooked outdoors style” fix.

Tobacco Road (Raleigh and Durham): Personally, I enjoy Tobacco Road any time of day. But I LOVE Tobacco Road between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. because of their late-night happy hour menu (served Monday through Friday). With a drink purchase of $2.50 or more, you can find yourself enjoying a House Salad, Popcorn Shrimp, Jumbo Black Eyed Pea Cakes, Pico de Gallo, Wolfpack Wings, East Carolina BBQ Sandwich, Half Pound Burger, Grilled Cheese Sandwich (Durham Only), Macaroni and Cheese (Raleigh Only) for only $3. “I’ll have the Ace Pear Cider and a Mac and Cheese, please!”

Cosmic Cantina (Durham): WRAL Out & About contributor Bridget adds this Durham spot to her “must-have” list for late-night eats. Yelper’s tend to agree, too, leaving 92 reviews to date, which includes Rebecca H’s mention: “The burritos are big and the margaritas are cheap.” What more does one need?

Hector's (Chapel Hill): WRAL Out & About contributor Jason names Hector’s to his Five Faves. Hector’s, a Chapel Hill classic which reopened just this past year, is known for its sandwiches and tater tots, but the latest incarnation also offers an attached night club (dubbed, The Thrill at Hector’s) which features alcoholic slushies, according to UNC’s student newspaper, The Daily Tarheel. Start with your night with slushies, end it with tater tots.


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  • ProudBlackSingleMother Feb 6, 2012

    Tobacco Road has gone downhill as of late... I think they get all of their food from Sysco which makes it even worse.

    As far as Cook Out goes, avoid the one on New Bern, you will feel very uncomfortable there after dark.

  • ncsulilwolf Feb 1, 2012

    t watts1000 - we totally should have included Armadillo on this list! Can't believe I didn't think about that one earlier... great comment addition, thanks!

  • gt_football Jan 31, 2012

    There is only one spot: CHAR-GRILL on Hillsbourgh St.

  • joeBob Jan 31, 2012

    Really, does anyone need to be out this late? I pity the folks that have to work in these places, clean up, close out and have to drive home after a 1 or 2pm closing. Be sure and tip well.

  • thefensk Jan 31, 2012

    Surprised nobody mentioned Waffle House. Sure the food is not that great but generally it isn't too bad either. And, if they have one of their really good cooks (which is usually the case late at night) they are amazing to watch. Nationally ranked chef Bryan Caswell had something to say about that once:

  • Krimson Jan 31, 2012

    I love picking up Armadillo Grill tacos late night... Location in The Thrill and on Glenwood Ave...

  • Country Girlz Have MORE fun Jan 31, 2012

    Buffalo Wild Wings open late--- Can't wait til Super Bowl....Wings, Beer & Big TV's everywhere. I can have sauce on my fingers and mouth & scream at the tv...Touch Down!!! Anything you eat that requires 50 napkins, tastes good !!!

  • samr Jan 31, 2012

    Tobacco Road made the DPAC/DBAP folks agree to keep all food trucks off of the property before they would sign their lease for that location. The food trucks were only there on Thursdays for lunch in order to get foot traffic and promote the area. We are only talking one day a week but they still forced them out. For this reason, I'll never eat there again aside from the fact that their food is subpar.

  • Khanrahan Jan 31, 2012

    Denny's and Taco Bell are also good picks. Not for your digestive system, but good in a pinch.

  • dwntwnboy Jan 31, 2012

    How could you leave out the Waffle House? NOTHING is better for people watching at all hours of the day- expecially late night. All the others on your list were spot on- but let's face it, Waffle House - and even IHOP are late night classics!!