It's okay to indulge in the after-midnight milkshake, the "is it really late at night or really early in the morning" stack of pancakes or the after-last-call slice of pizza. There are some nights — possibly after a long stint of socializing with friends — that it just makes sense to invest in a greasy plate of late-night grub. Here are five options for your next midnight meal.
Zombie Burger + Drink Lab
Des Moines' undead burger joint is best served after dark — seriously, what's the point of going to a zombie-themed restaurant when the sun's up? These burgers are best under the cover of darkness. If you're unfamiliar with Zombie Burger, it's like taking an episode of The Walking Dead and putting it on your plate. Not only is the entire aesthetic of the restaurant clever — drinks have names like "Dark + Stormy" and meals repping titles such as "Dead Moines" — the food is amazing. The best part: it's open until 2 a.m. on weekends.
Find it: 300 East Grand Ave
Hours: 11-12 a.m. Sunday-Thursday, 11-2 a.m. Friday-Saturday
Abelardo's Mexican Food
Although locations are sporadic throughout the metro, the best time and place to grab Abelardo's is after a late night at West Glen. It's greasy, it's affordable, it's fast — it's exactly what your body needs after a wild night of country dancing at Shotgun Betty's. Go all out and get the Carne Asada burrito, or if you're looking to give your stomach a break, go simple with a chicken quesadilla. Note: It's open 24 hours on the weekend so the breakfast menu isn't off limits if you stay out late enough.
Find it: 5525 Mills Civic Pkwy #130, West Des Moines
Hours: 7 a.m.-11 p.m. Sunday-Monday, 7-2:30 a.m. Tuesday-Wednesday, 24 hours Thursday-Sunday
Big Tomato Pizza Co.
Ingersoll Avenue's hole-in-the-wall pizza joint dishes out delicious pies late into the night — until 3 a.m. daily. This pizza shop shines as one of the best options in the late-night delivery service — providing a local alternative to chain pizza restaurants. Go simple and get a cheese and pepperoni pie, served out on Big Tomato's signature crust, or get creative with one of the specialty pizzas — like BBQ chicken or bacon cheeseburger.
Find it: 2613 Ingersoll Ave
Hours: 11-3 a.m. daily
Johnny's Hall of Fame
Johnny's Hall of Fame on Court Ave. serves up its take on American meals until midnight daily, with the bar open until 2 a.m. It's the place to go for quintessential, tasty bar food. While I haven't had every item on the Johnny's menu, I've never had anything that didn't leave me full to the bursting point and utterly satisfied. If you're going for a sandwich — which you should — try the turkey bacon melt with a side of fries. Every bite explodes with the turkey and bacon combination.
Find it: 302 Count Ave.
Hours: 11-2 a.m. daily
Max's Highway Diner
It's not a late-night food list without mentioning a diner. It'd be easy to fall back on 24-hour favorites like Denny's or Perkins, but instead, try Max's off of I-80 in Altoona. Altoona may be a bit of a drive from downtown, but it's well worth it for the full-blown, middle-of-the-night diner experience. The diner is especially appealing to casino-goers. Go for the all-you-can-eat pancakes and top it off with a cup of coffee, simply because the best way to end a long day is with a stomach full of breakfast food.
Find it: 3231 Adventureland Dr, Altoona
Hours: 24 hours daily