The bars have closed, the parties are over and some hungry
students are in search if one thing: food.
Late night eating has become a unique feature of college towns.
Restaurants stay open until the early morning hours to try to cater
to the masses who decide to go out to eat as late as 3 a.m.
“On the weekends, from midnight to 3 a.m., we’re just as busy as
the dinner rush,” said Lucas Manzaneres, a manager at Black Jack
Students are able to order pizza, sandwiches and Chinese food to
be delivered late at night and fast food restaurants now have ‘late
night’ drive thru times.
Alisha Arnold, a waitress at the International House of
Pancakes, explains her theory on the late night rush.
“A good percentage of the students come here to study,” she
said. “It’s a different atmosphere than the dorms or the library.
Some people come and get coffee and study all night.”
On the weekends, Arnold does admit to waiting on those
intoxicated students who stop in for some food before heading home
for the night.
“We do get a lot of the drunk people,” she said. “But I think
its because we’re so close to downtown.”
Most of the customers who come in on the 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. shift
at IHOP are the age of students.
“They’re usually 19 to 27-year-olds,” Arnold said.
Derek Stillman, a freshman open option major and three of his
friends sat in one of the blue plastic booths at IHOP at 11:30 on
Monday night eating breakfast eggs and ice cream. They had just
returned from a flag football game.
“We come here about once a week,” Stillman said. “When you’re
hungry, it’s better than dorm food.”
Eating late into the night has been known to cause a drop in
metabolism, which can cause weight gain. But this may not be true
for everyone, said Shirley Perryman, a food and nutrition
specialist in the food science and human nutrition department.
“If it’s on an occasional basis, it’s not a big deal,” she
Depending on the person’s eating habits throughout the day,
eating late at night is not always a bad idea.
“Its an issue of looking at the total caloric intake for the
day,” Perryman said. “You shouldn’t eat what you normally would
during the day and also eat at night.”
Students who eat late at night based on hectic schedules are not
as susceptible to gaining weight as those who eat out of
“Eating late because you’re staying up late is usually because
(eating) is something to do, not because you’re hungry,” Perryman
said. “(Students) don’t usually need food, it’s a social thing,
something to do.”
Still, students are crowding places like Qdoba, Taco Bell and
Wendy’s at 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights after their parties
and social events.
“There’s always a good story every weekend,” said Cindy Furtado,
a student and employee who occasionally works the night shift at
the Qdoba on Elizabeth Street.
Customers arrive until the restaurant closes at 3 a.m. on
weekend nights. Most of them are intoxicated, Furtado said.
“You don’t realize how stupid people are until they’re drunk,”
she said as she helped a giggling customer with her order.
Her co-worker, Matt Whitehead agreed, “They’re a pain in the
ass. Drunk people are hard to deal with because they’re loud and
He added that the sober late night customers are easier to
“The people who aren’t drunk are super cool,” Whitehead
Furtado surveyed the scene of hungry customers at Qdoba Saturday
night. She shook her head and nodded towards the crowd.
“We should be getting paid a lot more than we do.”