"Where can I get fooooooood?!" That is the battle cry come 3 a.m. when you’ve drank, danced, and debauched into the wee hours — or maybe you were pulling a late-night study sesh — and all you want is food. Now. Whether the drunk cravings are kicking in for cheese-covered anything, preferably delivered in a pizza box directly to your door, or your after-midnight palette is a little more discerning, there’s a late-night restaurant for that. Yes, even at 4 a.m.
Slices on Mill11 East Sixth Street, Tempe
Slices on Mill serves up pizza with a side of people watching. This is the place to go when the Tempe bars let out and the late-night line can be bananas … as in long and a little crazy. You might spot someone asleep at a table or too drunk to count out his or her money. Good thing Slices only take about a minute to fire up. Not that this food should only be eaten on a beer stomach. Pizza is foldable and formidable, with standouts like loaded potato, meatlovers, and mac and cheese. Plus there's a cauliflower crust option and brag-worthy, build-your-own-calzones.
El Paisano1035 East Lemon Street, Tempe
1000 East Apache Boulevard, Tempe
The menu at El Paisano, or El P’s for those in-the-know, includes Cheetos. There are the Hot Cheetos Nachos, the El Gran Cheetos Nachos, and the Hot Cheetos Burrito. Plus expect stuffed tacos, oversized burritos, and cheesy quesadillas that don’t include Cheetos, but just ask and they’ll throw some Cheetos in. This is serious drunk food, and with two Tempe locations — El Paisano Market tucked in a you-name-they’ve-got-it neighborhood convenience store and El Paisano Restaurant at the Rise located on the ground floor of the Rise on Apache apartments — ASU students and the like don’t have to stumble far for after-hours, Cheetos-infused eats.
Spinelli’s Pizzeria420 South Mill Avenue, #101, Tempe
Spinelli’s Pizzeria in Tempe is a go-big-or-go-home kind of joint. There’s the place itself, a two-story industrial-style palace clad in punk graffiti and chandeliers. And then there’s the pizza, gargantuan thin-crust pies that come in one-size: ginormous. Even the slices are monstrous, like bigger than your head big, with crust so flavorful and flaky it demands to be dipped (psst: get ranch or extra sauce for this pursuit). What’s more, the cheesesteak sandwich is authentic Philly, big and bold with meat and rolls flown in directly from the City of Brotherly Love, and don’t get us started on the Fried Oreos. Pig out in person until 5 a.m. or get the gluttony delivered.
414 Pub & Pizza414 South Mill Avenue, Tempe
Here’s the 411 on 414 Pub & Pizza on Mill Avenue. For starters, they’re open until 4 a.m. seven days a week and that includes delivery within five miles when you’re in the middle of some hardcore Netflixing. Secondly, their entire app menu is dang good, a litany of cleverly named eats like Fried Brittany Spears Pickles and Red Hot Chili Poppers, all made from scratch. They also serve up some serious wings, meaty, twice-cooked morsels that demand closed-eyes, sigh-induced eating. And finally, their pizza won’t win them any awards, but their friendly bartenders just might.
The Munchies Cafe11 East Sixth Street, Tempe
What to do when you get the after-midnight munchies? Head to The Munchies Cafe, or course. This just-off-Mill Avenue eatery has all your Mediterranean cravings covered and more. Roll in for generous gyros, chicken shawarma, and kefta kabobs served individually or platter style. There’s also a decent veg menu for the non-meat eating nighthawks. Think falafel, baba ganoosh, dolmades, and veggie burger. No, this is not Michelin-starred food — it’s all served on Styrofoam — but it comes out fast which goes a long way when after-hours hunger hits and pizza just won’t cut it.
Original Geno’s1932 East University Drive, Tempe
Original Geno’s is like the mullet of restaurants. The front of the house is all business, buttoned-up, and corporate-looking with its eat-off-the-floor cleanliness, orderly menu board, and fancy fountain drink machine. But the back, and by back we mean the food, is all party. Pizzas come good and greasy, wings all saucy and sassy, and then there’s the fries menu, baked extravaganzas in flavors like Buffalo chicken, chicken bacon ranch, and Greek, that elevates the humble spud from side dish to full-on meal — all served until 3 a.m. every day.
Zio’s Pizza & Wings1620 West University Drive, Mesa
Zio’s, a strip-mall standout on University Drive, has the late-night eats covered: Cheese-drenched pizza (check), saucy wings bathed in every conceivable level of mouthburn (check), an endless menu that satisfies your late-night lust for everything from fries to Philly cheesesteak (check). So what sets it apart? The bros who own it. Nico and Manny Aguilar, have been spinning pizza dough longer than most of us have been old enough to drink, and it shows in their just-right crust that tastes delish drunk or not drunk. Get it until 3 a.m during the summer hours, and 5 a.m. when ASU is in session.
Gus’ New York Pizza Lounge7333 East Shoeman Lane, Scottsdale
It’s not totally out of the ordinary to see two gals in barely-there bikinis ordering pizza up at the counter at Gus’ New York Pizza Lounge. This place is in bar central, after all, with Maya Day + Nightclub and the nonstop thump-thump-thump of bass constantly going. Customers stumble in for a slice or order up a whole pie, whether it’s 2 p.m. on a Saturday or 4 a.m. any day of the week — giving the place a divey vibe. Neither the menu nor the no-frills vibe is going to win any prizes, but at least the pizzas, wings, and toasted subs will soak up some of that alcohol to make the next day a little more tolerable. Oh, the price we pay to play.
Joe’s New York Pizza7321 East Shoeman Lane, Scottsdale
Battling with pizza supremacy — or at least decency — with Gus’ is Joe's, another NY-style pizza joint just a few yards down in Old Town’s bar district. Both are open every night until 4 a.m. — delivery, too. Both arguably serve more sloshed customers than sober, but neither has a breathalyzer to prove it. Both dish up calzones, strombolis, wings, salads, and subs, your typical drunk eats. But Joe’s wins for cleanliness by a landslide, plus the pizza gets extra points for chewiness and foldable softness.
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Oasis Cafe4441 North Buckboard Trail, Scottsdale
Sometimes a slice won’t cut it. Sometimes counter ordering won’t cut it. Sometimes you want a legit late-night oasis complete with plush pillows, gilded mirrors, and dangling chandeliers where you’re waited on hand and food until 4 a.m, on weekends. The aptly named Oasis Cafe is your place, a hybrid hookah lounge, bar, and restaurant with a menu of Mediterranean mainstays, like dreamy hummus and superbly seasoned kababs, that’ll satiate even the sober. Cap it off with a puff of flavored tobacco alongside your pleasure-seeking counterparts and revel in the resplendence of it all.
Grand Avenue Pizza Company1031 Grand Avenue
Phoenix is a city of pizza standouts, but Grand Avenue Pizza Company has them all beat when it comes to serving up pie and personality. There’s the tongue-and-cheek menu (Cheesus Slice still has us cracking up), the apocalyptic wall mural featuring pizza-eating aliens and pitchforks (because, why not?) and the fact that the kitchen staff seem to be having just as much fun as the late-night crowd — even at 3 a.m. (they're open 4 p.m. to 3 a.m., Tuesday to Saturday, with delivery until 3 a.m.). And let's not forget dessert: The tiramisu for two, super-stuffed cannolis, and giant cookies are bomb, so save room.