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19 Best Fast Food Places That Are Open Late

We’ve all been there. It’s late at night, and you’re hungry. Maybe you had to stay longer at work, have been out partying all night, or just craving a late-night burger and fries. Regardless of the reason, you need something to eat, and most restaurants are closed.

Your best bet to satisfy your craving is to find a fast-food restaurant that’s open late.

We’ve compiled a list of the best late-night fast-food restaurants which stay open long after most restaurants have shut their doors. For our list, we’re defining “late-night” as being open past 10 pm.

19. White Castle

White Castle is as well-known for its late-night service as it is for its signature menu item, the hamburger slider.

White Castle operates nearly 350 locations in 14 states, mostly clustered in the Midwest and New York areas.

Many of these locations are open 24 hours, but even the ones that aren’t are still open quite late, closing at 2 am or 3 am.

White Castle was founded in 1921 by Billy Ingram. Ingram invented the hamburger slider, a square, mini-sized hamburger, and sold them for $0.05 at the first White Castle.

In 1961, White Castle became the first restaurant chain to sell 1 billion burgers, and in 2014, Time Magazine named the White Castle slider the most influential burger of all time.

White Castle’s menu offers various sliders, from the Original Slider to the Impossible Slider with Smoked Cheddar to the Panko Breaded Fish Slider.

It’s a safe bet to assume that your local White Castle will be open past 10 pm.

However, if you want to check, visit the locations page on White Castle’s website and enter your zip code.

You’ll be able to see all White Castle restaurants near you and the hours for each location.

18. Denny’s

Despite being a breakfast restaurant chain, Denny’s is known for being open late, with many locations operating 24 hours, seven days a week.

There are 1,500 Denny’s locations in the United States, scattered through 49 states and Washington DC (If you’re in Delaware, you’re out of luck—it’s the only state without a Denny’s.)

The first Denny’s was opened under the name “Danny’s Donuts” in Lakewood, California, in 1953.

It wasn’t until 1961 that Denny’s evolved into the 24-hour, all-day breakfast restaurant we know today.

If you’re craving breakfast food at midnight, Denny’s has got you covered.

Denny’s signature menu item is the Grand Slam, which allows you to combine four of your favorite breakfast items on one giant plate.

You’ll get to choose from classic breakfast foods like pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes, toast, English muffins, ham, and seasonal fruit.

Many Denny’s locations are open 24/7, but others have more limited hours due to local regulations.

To check when your local Denny’s closes, visit the locations page on their website and type in your zip code to see restaurants in your area.

Then, click the “Restaurant Details” box under the specific location you’re interested in.

Here, you’ll be able to see the hours for that restaurant.

17. Jack in the Box

Jack in the Box is well-known for its eclectic fast-food menu, which serves everything from burgers to chicken fingers to tacos to egg rolls.

Jack in the Box operates well over 2,000 locations in 21 states, so there’s a good chance you’ll find a Jack in the Box near you.

Jack in the Box’s menu serves a little bit of everything. However, they have a special menu section designed specifically for late-night cravings.

Jack in the Box’s late-night menu offers combos of sandwiches, tacos, curly fries, and drinks, perfect for splitting with friends when you’re experiencing the midnight munchies.

For example, the Spicy Nacho Chicken Sandwich Munchie Meal comes with an extravagant, spicy, crispy, cheesy chicken sandwich, two tacos, curly fries, and a small drink.

Although many Jack in the Box locations are open late, with some even open 24 hours, not every Jack in the Box is a late-night location.

To find out if your local Jack in the Box is open late, go to the locations page on their website and select a state.

Then, select the city you’re in. Finally, you’ll see all the Jack in the Box locations in that city and how late they’re open.

16. Dunkin’ Donuts

Dunkin’ Donuts is one of the world’s largest coffee and donut chains, and many of its locations are open late.

There are almost 9,500 Dunkin’ Donuts locations in the United States, and a fair amount of them are open late!

The first Dunkin’ Donuts was opened in Quincy, Massachusetts, in 1950.

Over 70 years later, Dunkin’ Donuts has expanded to 41 states and 36 countries.

Each day, over 3 million customers visit Dunkin’ Donuts locations around the world.

Dunkin’ Donuts’ menu specializes in donuts and coffee, serving dozens of different flavors of donuts, permanent and limited edition.

For something a little more substantial, Dunkin’ Donuts also serves a wide variety of breakfast sandwiches.

The hours of individual Dunkin’ Donuts locations can vary quite a bit. To check if your local Dunkin’ Donuts is open late, visit the locations page on their website.

Then, enter your zip code. Under each result, you should be able to see the hours of each location.

15. Subway

Subway is one of the biggest restaurant chains in the world, with many locations serving the chain’s signature sandwiches and salads well into the night.

There are over 22,000 Subway locations in the United States alone, so no matter where you are, there’s a good chance you’re close to a Subway.

In 1965, the first Subway was opened by 17-year-old Fred DeLuca and his family friend, Dr. Peter Buck.

Fifty years later, Subway was the fastest-growing franchise, with tens of thousands of restaurants worldwide.

Subway’s menu is known first and foremost for its submarine sandwiches, which come in flavors like Black Forest Ham, Chicken & Bacon Ranch, Spicy Italian, and Meatball Marinara.

If you’re looking for something lighter, Subway also sells salads in many of the same flavors as its sandwiches.

Many, but not all, Subways are open late. To check if your local Subway is open past 10 pm, go to the locations page on the Subway website and enter your zip code.

Once you find the specific Subway location you’re looking for, click the “Store Details” button. There, you’ll be able to see the hours for that restaurant.

14. Dairy Queen

Best known for its frozen Blizzard ice cream treats, Dairy Queen is an American classic.

There are over 4,300 Dairy Queen locations in the United States, some of which only sell ice cream treats, and others also sell fast food items like burgers, chicken tenders, and fries.

The first Dairy Queen opened in 1940 in Joliet, Illinois, selling only soft-serve ice cream.

Over the years, Dairy Queen would expand its menu to include malts, milkshakes, sundaes, banana splits, and food items like burgers, hot dogs, chicken strips, and fries.

Dairy Queen’s Treats Menu features classic ice cream treats like ice cream cones, sundaes, and banana splits, as well as many flavors of their signature Blizzards.

Dairy Queen’s Food Menu offers signature Stackburgers, Chicken Baskets, and Meal Deals, where you can pair a burger or chicken tenders with a drink and an ice cream treat.

Some Dairy Queens are open late, and to find out if your local Dairy Queen is open after 10 pm, go to the locations page on their website and enter your zip code.

Under each location, you should be able to see what time the restaurant closes.

13. Wendy’s

Wendy’s is one of the biggest hamburger-based fast-food chains in the world, and many of its locations are open late.

There are over 6,500 Wendy’s restaurants in the United States alone. You can use the locations page of their website to find the restaurant closest to you.

You can even use the filters to see which restaurants open late and which operate 24 hours.

The first Wendy’s was opened by Dave Thomas in Columbus, Ohio, in 1969.

Thomas claims that Wendy’s was the first fast-food restaurant to utilize the modern drive-through window that we still use today.

From the beginning, Wendy’s menu was famous for its classic American fast food, specializing in hamburgers and Frosty desserts.

Nowadays, Wendy’s menu is even more extensive. You can enjoy anything from chicken nuggets to salads to baked potatoes to breakfast sandwiches.

12. Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s

Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s are owned by the same parent company, and both fast-food restaurants operate many locations that stay open late.

There are over 3,500 Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s locations in the United States, scattered throughout 44 states.

Although the same company now owns Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, they originally were two separate restaurant chains.

Carl’s Jr. was founded by Carl and Margaret Karcher in 1941, and the first Hardee’s was opened by Wilbur Hardee in 1961.

The menus at Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s are quite similar—both restaurants serve charbroiled hamburgers, chicken sandwiches and tenders, and biscuit breakfast sandwiches.

The menu items you can only find at Carl’s Jr. include breakfast burritos, Beyond Burgers, and Chicken Stars, which are star-shaped chicken nuggets.

At Hardee’s, you’ll find a wider variety of biscuit sandwiches, as well as chili dogs, ham and cheese sandwiches, and roast beef sandwiches.

Many Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s locations are open until 11 pm or even midnight, but not all of them.

To find out if your local Carl’s Jr. or Hardee’s is open late, go to the locations page on either restaurant’s website and enter your zip code.

Under each result, you should be able to see when that specific restaurant closes.

11. IHOP

IHOP is another one of the biggest breakfast fast-food chains in the world, boasting many locations that stay open late.

There are over 1,600 IHOP locations in the United States, with hundreds more open internationally.

The first IHOP was opened in 1958 in Toluca Lake, California. By the restaurant’s 50th birthday in 2008, there were over 1,400 IHOPs worldwide.

IHOP stands for International House of Pancakes, so pancakes are their signature item.

IHOP’s menu offers ten different pancakes, from classic buttermilk to Mexican tres leches to lemon ricotta blueberry. Plus, IHOP often debuts limited edition pancake flavors.

If you’d prefer a savory meal, IHOP also serves breakfast classics like steak and eggs, omelets, and burritos.

Although many IHOP locations are open late, or even 24 hours, not all of them are.

To find out if your local IHOP is open late, visit the locations page on their website and type in your zip code.

Under each result, you should be able to see the hours for each restaurant.

10. Burger King

Burger King is the world’s second-largest hamburger fast food restaurant chain, with many locations open late and some open 24 hours.

There are over 7,000 Burger King locations in the United States, many of which are open past 10 pm.

The first Burger King opened in 1954. Three years later, Burger King started selling the Whopper, the signature burger that is still one of the cornerstones of Burger King’s menu today.

In addition to Whopper, Burger King’s menu offers chicken sandwiches, chicken fries, chicken nuggets, side items, and desserts.

Although many Burger King locations are open late, not all are.

To find out if a given Burger King restaurant is open past 10 pm, go to the locations page on the website and type in your zip code.

Click on the specific Burger King restaurant you’re interested in, and then click the “Info” button. A page will pop up that shows you that restaurant’s dine-in and drive-thru hours.

9. Whataburger

Whataburger is a regional fast food restaurant chain serving a signature Whataburger, with many locations open 24 hours.

There are almost 900 Whataburger locations in the United States, mostly concentrated in the Southern states, especially Texas.

The first Whataburger was founded by Harmon Dobson in Corpus Christi, Texas, in 1950.

Dobson’s mission was to serve large burgers that required two hands to hold and were so good that they would make customers exclaim, “What a burger!”

Although burgers are still the signature item on the Whataburger menu, the restaurant also serves patty melts, chicken sandwiches, chicken strips, breakfast sandwiches, and even salads.

Many Whataburger restaurants are open 24 hours, so no matter what time it is, you should be able to enjoy a delicious burger and fries.

However, if you want to check to make sure your local Whataburger is open, just visit their locations page and type in your zip code.

Click the specific location you’re interested in. Then, you’ll be taken to a page where you can see that restaurant’s dine-in and drive-thru hours.

8. Arby’s

Arby’s is one of the largest fast-food sandwich chains in the United States, famous for its roast beef sandwiches and curly fries.

There are over 3,300 Arby’s locations in the United States, many of which are open past 10 pm.

The first Arby’s was opened in 1964. From the beginning, Arby’s differentiated itself from other fast-food restaurants by specializing in roast beef sandwiches instead of burgers.

Roast beef sandwiches still feature heavily on Arby’s menu.

However, they also sell roast turkey sandwiches, chicken tenders, gyros, chicken sandwiches, sliders, salads, and milkshakes.

Many Arby’s locations are open past 10 pm. To see if your local Arby’s is open late, go to their locations page and enter your zip code.

Under each result, you should be able to see what time each restaurant closes.

7. Waffle House

Waffle House is one of the most beloved breakfast restaurant chains in the US and is famously open 24 hours, 365 days a year.

There are about 2,100 Waffle House locations in the United States, most of which are in the Southern United States.

The first Waffle House was opened by Joe Rogers Sr. and Tom Forkner in Avondale Estates, Georgia, in 1955.

From the beginning, Waffle House was open 24 hours, 7 days a week.

As the franchise expanded, Waffle Houses began to pop up along highways, offering iconic breakfasts to people on the go.

The restaurant’s signature waffles and hash browns quickly became a favorite among road trippers, late-night partiers, and anyone looking for delicious breakfast food late at night or in the wee hours of the morning.

Waffle House’s menu serves four different waffles, hash browns, biscuit sandwiches, omelets, breakfast sandwiches, and egg breakfasts.

Because Waffle House was founded to be a 24-hour all-day breakfast diner, you can rest assured that your local Waffle House will be open whenever you need it, no matter what time it is!

6. Sonic

Sonic is a fast-food restaurant chain known for its ’50s diner-themed drive-ins.

There are over 3,500 Sonic locations in the United States, scattered throughout 46 states. Many of these locations are open late.

Sonic began as a root beer stand called Top Hat in 1953.

After about six years, founder Troy Smith and his partner Charles Pappe changed the name to Sonic and adopted the slogan “Service at the Speed of Sound.”

The Sonic menu offers a variety of diner-themed fast food, including burgers, chicken tenders, hot dogs, milkshakes, and ice cream sundaes.

Sonic also serves breakfast items, like breakfast sandwiches, burritos, French toast sticks, and hot and iced coffee.

Many Sonic locations are open past 10 pm, but not all of them.

To see if your local Sonic is open late, visit the locations page on their website and enter your zip code.

Under each result, you’ll be able to see when that location closes. To see that location’s full hours, click the “View Details” button.

5. Steak ‘n Shake

Steak ‘n Shake is a beloved Midwestern fast-food chain known for its steakburgers and milkshakes.

There are over 600 Steak ‘n Shake locations, many of which are open well past 10 pm.

The first Steak ‘n Shake was opened in 1934 by Gus Belt in Normal, Illinois.

From the beginning, Steak’ n Shake’s specialties were hamburgers and milkshakes.

To prove the quality of his hamburgers, Belt would hand-grind round, sirloin, and t-bone steaks into hamburger meat right in front of his customers, so they knew they were eating only the finest beef.

The steakburger remains the signature item on the Steak ‘n Shake menu.

However, they also serve chili, hot dogs, patty melts, onion rings, and fries.

In addition, Steak’ n Shake specializes in milkshakes. They serve over a dozen flavors, from classics like chocolate and vanilla to decadent deluxe flavors like Oreo Cookie Mint and Birthday Cake.

To check if your local Steak ‘n Shake is open past 10 pm, visit their locations page and enter your zip code.

Under each result, you should be able to see the restaurant’s closing time.

4. Taco Bell

Taco Bell is one of the world’s biggest Mexican fast-food restaurant chains, well-known for its tacos, nachos, and quesadillas.

There are over 7,000 Taco Bell locations in the United States, many of which are open late.

The first Taco Bell was opened by Glen Bell in 1962 in Downey, California.

Before founding Taco Bell, Bell ran another successful taco restaurant in California, Bell’s Drive-In and Taco Tia, where he perfected his crunchy taco recipe.

By 1967, the Taco Bell franchise had expanded to include 100 restaurants.

Taco Bell’s extensive menu includes classics like tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and nachos.

Taco Bell also serves more creative Mexican-inspired snacks, including Mexican pizza, chalupas, Crunchwrap Supremes, and Cheesy Gordita Crunches.

To see if your local Taco Bell is open after 10 pm, visit the locations page on their website and type in your zip code.

Under each result, you should be able to see what time each restaurant closes.

3. Del Taco

Del Taco is another popular Mexican restaurant chain serving Mexican and American fast-food classics.

There are almost 600 Del Taco locations in the United States, many of which are open past 10 pm or even 24 hours.

The first Del Taco was opened in 1964 by Ed Hackbarth and David Jameson in Yermo, California.

The first Del Taco charged only $0.19 for tacos, tostadas, and fries and $0.24 for cheeseburgers.

Nowadays, Del Taco still sells delicious Mexican food at affordable prices.

Their Twenty Under $2 menu offers various kinds of tacos, burritos, tostadas, quesadillas, and nachos, all under $2 per item, perfect for a late-night snack!

To check if your local Del Taco is open past 10 pm, go to the locations page on their website and enter your zip code.

Under each result, you should be able to see the hours for that restaurant.

2. Popeyes

Popeyes is one of the most popular fried chicken restaurants in the United States, beloved for its combo meals and viral chicken sandwich.

There are almost 3,500 Popeyes locations in the United States, spanning 46 states, plus Washington DC and Puerto Rico.

Popeyes was born in 1972 in New Orleans, Louisiana, the brainchild of Al Copeland, Sr.

Although the cartoon character Popeye the Sailor was featured in Popeyes’ marketing for several decades, the restaurant was named after a different fictional character, Detective Popeye Doyle from The French Connection.

Popeyes’ menu is most famous for its Combo Meals, which allow you to combine fried chicken, chicken tenders, chicken nuggets, or a chicken sandwich with a side and a drink.

Popeyes’ chicken sandwich quickly became a cult favorite after being introduced to the menu in 2019.

If you’re craving fried chicken late at night and want to know if your local Popeyes is still open, visit their locations page and type in your zip code.

Click the location you’re interested in, and then the “Info” button.

There, you’ll be able to see that restaurant’s daily dine-in and drive-thru hours.

1. McDonald’s

McDonald’s is the biggest fast-food franchise of all time and a classic provider of late-night snacks.

There are over 13,000 McDonald’s locations in the United States alone, many of which are open past 10 pm or even 24 hours.

The first McDonald’s was opened in 1940 by two brothers, Richard and Maurice McDonald.

By 1958, McDonald’s had sold a whopping 100 million hamburgers and became the leading fast-food franchise in the world.

The McDonald’s menu is full of fast-food classics like the Big Mac, the Quarter Pounder, the Chicken McNuggets, the Egg McMuffin, and the McFlurry.

Many McDonald’s locations are open late; some even stay open 24 hours.

To find the hours of your local McDonald’s, visit the locations page of the McDonald’s website and enter your zip code.

Under each result, you’ll be able to see what time that restaurant closes.

Conclusion

When you’re hungry for a burger and fries late at night, it can feel like there aren’t many restaurants still open that can satisfy your craving.

However, you can use our list to find a late-night restaurant near you where you can enjoy anything from chicken nuggets to cheese quesadillas to a classic milkshake.

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Last Updated: June 23, 2022

About the Author

Eril Eti is the founder of Shopfood.com and has over a decade of experience in the consumer goods industry. He launched many products for major brands sold at retailers like Walmart, Costco, Amazon, Target, Kroger, Publix, and more.

Eril loves food and sharing his experience with others. Outside of work, you can find him at a hiking trail in New England or playing soccer with his kids.

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