The cafeteria isn't going to nurture you through the year; and though the spare change rolling around in the couch doesn't seem like much, and your part-time job doesn't pay that well, there are plenty of glorious options for sustenance dotting Northeast Ohio and its various college campus areas. After all, in addition to being a rising food destination, Cleveland is also one of the most affordable places in America. The combination means eating well doesn't have to mean emptying your wallet.
5801 Detroit Ave., 216-651-9474. Thursday to Saturday till 2:30 a.m., Sunday till 12:30 a.m.
The much-celebrated Happy Dog is the perfect venue to catch live music and curate your own hot dog creation. The menu sticks to a few basics: hot dogs, veggie dogs, tater tots and French fries. The fun comes with the toppings, ranging from your standard relishes and vegetables to crunchy peanut butter and Fruit Loops.
1848 West 25th St., 216-861-5515. Friday and Saturday till 3 a.m.
This take-out sandwich shop connected to the Old Angle Tavern is the perfect place to stumble into after a long night of adventuring in Ohio City (which we're guessing you'll do more than once). Bogtrotter's offers a handful of sandwich options served one of three ways: soaked, wet or dry, indicating varying levels of house jus poured over the sandwich.
1948 West 25th St., 216-274-1010. Daily till 2:30 a.m.
The folks at Food Network and ZAGAT praise the food at Bar Cento so there is good reason to believe you will get a delicious meal as late as 2:30 a.m every day. The main attraction is Bar Cento's pizza, which pairs perfectly with any late-night grub run. Or spend the whole evening at Bar Cento with the assurance that, should the need arise, food will always be an option.
748 Prospect Ave., 216-696-2337. Daily till 2:30 a.m.
As a college student, you may find yourself celebrating the end of a project, class or other large commitment on a random Monday night, and City Tap is the perfect spot for this. With over 44 taps, a large menu and a $3 craft beer bottle special on Mondays, City Tap may be the first and last bar you visit on that celebratory evening.
838 Coventry Rd., Cleveland Heights, 216-397-9700; daily till 2 a.m. 146 South Water St., Kent, 330-678-5368; Thursday, Friday and Saturday till 3 a.m.
Most of the time, late night food is judged based on how quickly it can go from kitchen to mouth. Minutes feel like hours at 2 a.m., when the most important thing in the world is the food you ordered 10 minutes ago. Guy's Pizza does an admirable job reducing the kitchen-to-mouth wait time with pizza-by-the-slice available until 3 a.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. If stopping in isn't an option, Guy's Pizza delivers late as well.
Becky's Bar & Grill
1762 East 18th St., 216-621-0055. Daily till 2 a.m.
A staple among the Cleveland State University crowd, Becky's has been in business for almost 30 years. The kitchen jams until 1 a.m. daily and pairs perfectly with drink specials like the trusted PBR tall boy ($2). Expect an eclectic crowd of students, local workers and individuals from Playhouse Square.
812 West Market St., Akron, 330-252-0272; and 132 South Water St., Kent, 330-474-0800. Hours vary but open weekends till 2 a.m. or later.
Location, location, location: the secret ingredient in any late-night restaurant's success. Mr. Zub's in Akron's historic Highland Square and, more recently, downtown Kent, is blessed to be attached to two different bars, the Matinee in Akron and Water Street Tavern in Kent. The genius of Zubs' location hits you when that inevitable rift in the group occurs: the eaters and the still drinkers. Nostalgia dominates the menu as you order your favorite movie characters like "The Rocky Balboa," Zubs' Philly cheesesteak, or "The Uncle Rico," roast beef smashed together with tater tots and chive cream cheese on a wheat bagel.
Ninja City Kitchen and Bar
11311 Euclid Ave., 216-860-0510. Friday and Saturday till 2 a.m.
This University Circle spot is convenient for Case Western Reserve and JCU students and offers something unique: late-night Asian street food including build-your-own bento boxes, ramen, noodle bowls, gyoza dumplings and bacon guacamole. There's live music too (sometimes without cover), to go with those late-night eats and drinks.
105 North Main St., Akron, 330-253-2999. Weekdays till 2 a.m, Friday and Saturday till 4 a.m.
An Akron institution, Luigi's has been feeding hungry late-night visitors since 1949 with a kitchen open until 4 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. A cash-only establishment, Luigi's pizza may not be the cheapest or quickest late-night option, but few pizza parlors in the Akron area can rival the quality. If pizza doesn't sound appealing, Luigi's does offer a full Italian-centric menu with pasta, salad and other creations.
207 South Main St., Akron, 330-252-5128. Thursday till 1 a.m., Friday and Saturday till 2 a.m.
Located 10 minutes from any point on the University of Akron campus, the Lockview has perfected one of life's most comforting sandwiches: the grilled cheese. Choose from over 10 original grilled cheese creations such as the Number Twelve (a layer of roasted garlic-mashed potatoes topped with American cheese and served on Texas Toast with a side of bourbon gravy) or the Number Thirteen (havarti dill cheese topped with artichoke hearts sauteed in a garlic and lemon infused oil on rustic Italian bread).
444 East Exchange St., Akron, 330-434-4976. Thursday to Saturday till 3:30 a.m.
College students find themselves awake while the rest of the world sleeps. Marathon studying sessions can create quite the appetite, and EuroGyro is the perfect place to take care of this late night problem. Open until 3:30 a.m. on the weekends, EuroGyro can end up being the only option that doesn't end in "Bell" for college students in Akron.