Late Night Eats

Which city will win the coveted title of Amazon’s next headquarters? The competition is stiff and would mean a windfall for jobs and local economy. But that’s not what we’re interested in. We examined the shortlist of 20 cities and ranked them based on late night food options. Hey, even billion-dollar industries get hungry!  Check out the graph below to see how each city fared.

The survey looked at several factors to determine just how optimal the late night eats scene is at each city. First we checked the amount of restaurants available, then narrowed it down by variety of cuisine and the Google reviews of restaurants in each city. Next we figured in how late places were open on average, as well as number of 24-hour eating establishments and the public transportation score of each city. We also calculated the number of initial findings for late night spots on a Google Maps search and weighted each element to find each city’s total score.  

The destinations in the bottom half of the list have distinct charm in their “small town” feel, but from Number 13 (Montgomery County, MA) to Number 20 (Raleigh, NC), none of the contenders have more than 50 late night restaurants with varied cuisine. Many of the cities are more compact so public transit doesn’t play as necessary a role in Nashville, TN (Number 19) as it does in a larger city like Chicago (number 3) or Boston (number 5), affecting their scoring.

Good middle-of-the-pack options for great cities with late night eats include Atlanta, GA (number 8), Denver, CO (9), Pittsburgh, PA (10), and Austin and Dallas, TX (11 and 12). Each city offers a high number of restaurants as well as wide variety of cuisine and medium transit scores, but each city either has a low count of 24-hour restaurants or is not as readily accessible by public transportation to put it closer to the top.

Missing the top spot by just a few points, New York City comes in second for late night eats. Internationally known as a global hub of cuisines, combined with the density of restaurants catering to any type of cuisine, the City that Never Sleeps also boasts the most 24-hour eating spots of the entire list. It just misses first place because of middling restaurant reviews, and an earlier average closing time from initial Google Map search findings. That’s the downside of having literally thousands to choose from—not all are going to be winners.

Washington D.C. is not only the nation’s capital, but also the winner of the popular vote for late night eats. Thanks to a robust transit system, a huge variety and volume of restaurants, and high Google reviews of restaurants, Washington D.C. earns the top spot for a mega-retailer like Amazon to put down some roots. We can only wonder who Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos might run into when getting his 2:30am taco fix in DC.

Jeff Bezos and the Amazon team have a lot of important things to consider when choosing the next Amazon headquarters. Seeing that Seattle jumped from rainy city in the Northwest to a major tech hub, wherever Amazon 2.0 lands, it’ll surely make an impact on the local economy and culture.