Food Well Done

Find Out What Alison Roman, Andy Baraghani, Deb Perelman, and Other Chefs Order When They Hit the Bodega After Hours

Late-night snacks are an essential in the city that never sleeps. As people stumble out of clubs, clock out of work—or conversely, head to work—bodegas and food trucks are there to assist. Just like the trees lining side streets, they can be found on almost every other block. Everyone from college students to Michelin-starred chefs is grateful for their infallibility during what is sure to be a sweaty, jam-packed summer.

We polled some of the leading food innovators from our Well Done series on their go-to bodega orders, investigating whether there really is a secret to getting the best out of your corner haunt. Take a look at the answers below; they might inspire you to try something new next time you’re looking for a meal at the witching hour.

Portrait of Alison Roman by Chris Bernabeo. Image courtesy of Roman.

Alison Roman, chef and author of Sweet Enough

“It’s gonna be an egg sandwich on a roll with American cheese, salt, pepper, hot sauce. And a sausage patty if they have it.”

Image courtesy of Charlie Mitchell and Clover Hill.

Charlie Mitchell, executive chef at Clover Hill

“I've been off the sauce for a while, but it used to always be a chicken cutlet on a hero.”

Dae Kim in front of Noksu. Photography by Alex Truong. Image courtesy of Kim and Nōksu.

Dae Kim, executive chef at Nōksu

“I'm a big bodega fan and a big fan of cheap food. I like bacon, egg, and cheese on a roll. Chopped cheese is also good.”

Portrait of Sam Sifton by David Benthal. Image courtesy of Sifton.

Sam Sifton, founding editor of New York Times Cooking

“Sausage, egg, and cheese on a toasted roll with butter, salt, pepper, maybe a squeeze of ketchup. A Mexican Coke. ‘Shukran!’’”

Image courtesy of Kwame Onwuachi.

Kwame Onwuachi, owner and chef of Tatiana 

“It depends on the time of the day. In the morning it's bacon, egg, and cheese. For late night, it’s chopped cheese.’”

Portrait of Andy Baraghani by Sinna Nasseri. Image courtesy of Baraghani.

Andy Baraghani, chef and former Bon Appetit editor

“Oh, that’s easy. I do the turkey bacon with egg whites and cheese and extra pepper on a roll.”

Portrait of Pierce Abernathy. Image courtesy of Abernathy.

Pierce Abernathy, nomadic chef and founder of Aerthship

“A falafel pita. To mitigate the potential problem of dry falafel, I want hummus in there, baba ganoush, maybe tzatziki. I love the places where you can customize it, because I want all of the different salads, the pickled onions, the cabbage, the tabbouleh…”

Portrait of Deb Perelman by Christine Han. Image courtesy of Perelman.

Deb Perelman, OG food blogger behind The Smitten Kitchen

“I always get an egg and cheese with a slice of tomato. I understand you're supposed to get bacon, but I prefer my bacon separate from sandwiches. I get it on rye bread, and people are like, ‘You put eggs on rye bread?’ And I'm like, ‘What's wrong with that?’”

Portrait of Flynn McGarry by Aaron Bengochea. Image courtesy of McGarry and Gem Wine.

Flynn McGarry, chef and owner of Gem Wine

“If it's in the morning, I get a bacon, egg, and swiss with a hash brown in it and hot sauce. If it’s at night, I get a turkey club with crispy bacon.”