Matt Crowley/The AS Review
There are only so many places you can go at 1 a.m. when hunger comes knocking at the door. By then, most of the options are closed; the dining halls are out of the question as are most fast food places, and Haggen’s new hours put the kibosh on late night snacking earlier this year. But for those willing to make the extra effort, there is hope.
The Most Obvious (And Laziest)
If you are in Bellingham and you want pizza, there is no better choice than La Fiamma Wood Fire Pizza, located in the downtown area on East Chestnut Street. Unfortunately, La Fiamma is only open until 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday (and can be pretty expensive as well). At 1 a.m. in the morning, your options include Pizza Pipeline, Pizza Time and Domino’s.
All three companies are capable of a solid pizza and each have their fair share of pros and cons. Pizza Pipeline can be hit and miss, but they are almost unrivaled in their selection of toppings, sauces and crusts (and their breadsticks are pretty good as well). Pizza Time is great for penny-pinchers, but it won’t blow you away by any means. And Domino’s is … Domino’s. You don’t need me to tell you what Domino’s is like.
But pizza, especially if it is delivered, eliminates half the fun of getting food at 1 a.m.: the journey. If you’re hungry at 1 a.m., you’re probably not at your house anyway (especially if it’s the weekend). The act of getting the food is just as gratifying as the food itself, and in that aspect, delivery pizza just doesn’t cut it.
The Sketchy – Er, Colorful Diner
Ah, the Horseshoe Café. The Horseshoe is a special place. It’s been around since 1886 and, amazingly, is open 24 hours, a haven for anyone who might come stumbling across their downtown location on East Holly Street.
But like I said, the Horseshoe is a special place, a place you would go to just to say you went there. The menu is full of ho-hum diner menu regulars, like club sandwiches, salads, steaks and nachos. The food is not the main attraction, although at 1 or 4 a.m. in the morning, it’s pretty good, if expensive. The Horseshoe is a Bellingham favorite because it has so much character. Plus, I’d go to the Horseshoe over Denny’s any day of the week.
The Top Shelf
Pel’ Meni Russian Dumplings, located at 1211 N. State St., is an interesting place. During the day, customers can enjoy their dumplings over the hum of an old vinyl record on the restaurant’s turntable. At night, lines can stretch out the door, as people of all shapes, sizes and levels of intoxication clamor for a helping of sweet dumplings. Fortunately, Pel’ Meni has a solution for this.
Meat or potato?
Pel’ Meni doesn’t really have a menu, but that’s because they don’t need one. When it’s your turn to order, you can get either meat or potato dumplings, in equal quantities, for the same great price of only $6. The dumplings are pretty good too. They come covered in oil, hot sauce and sour cream, and taste incredible no matter what time of day it is.
Marc Ravaris, a.k.a. The Captain, opened El Capitan’s Brat, Sausage & Dog on Western’s Vendors Row in late 2002 (although he considers the “official” opening to be January 2003). Since then, El Capitan’s, and Ravaris, have become a staple of Vendors Row and he continues to serve students today. In November of 2007, Ravaris opened the Pirate’s Den, El Capitan’s late-night location, open Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. I have made the trip to 1314 Railroad Ave. many times, and I always leave satisfied. For under $5, you really can’t beat a German smoked sausage layered with mustard and sauerkraut, or a Louisiana hot link with sweet relish and cream cheese (yes, cream cheese). You just can’t.
There are other options, of course (like McDonald’s and Jack in the Box) but late at night these are drive-thru only. Still, it’s hard to beat El Capitan’s or Pel’ Meni, or if you’re looking for an extended dining experience, the Horseshoe. Late-night doesn’t have to end when the dining halls close.