Despite the fact that hangovers have been around for as long as alcohol itself, it can still feel like a shock to wake up with a fuzzy head and unsettled stomach after a night out. At which point, most drinkers turn to their preferred remedies, which are as varied as they are unsupported by actual science. Some opt to dunk their face in water, while others turn to electrolyte recovery tabs and drinks, but the oldest of the bunch remains a good, old-fashioned, hearty meal.
With regional delicacies abounding in the U.S., many states have perfected their versions of the morning-after meal, and eating said meal has become part and parcel of going out.
Arizona: Sonoran Hot Dog
A fusion of American and Mexican flavors, the Sonoran hot dog was invented at the University of Sonora in Hermosillo, Mexico, just south of Tucson. The hot dog is first wrapped in bacon and then tucked into a bolillo roll before being topped with pinto beans, raw and grilled onions, tomatoes, mayonnaise, green salsa, guacamole, mushrooms, and cheese. The story goes that the Sonoran hot dog was created to satiate drunk, hungry college students, but quickly became a hangover staple across Southwestern America. One Sonoran hot dog pioneer, Daniel Contreras of El Güero Canelo, even won a James Beard award in 2018.
California: Breakfast Burrito
With Mexican influence permeating Southern California, breakfast burritos are a go-to morning- after meal across the state. Loaded with eggs, breakfast meats, melted cheese, salsa, and avocado, all wrapped in a flour tortilla, breakfast burritos deliver the greasy goodness we’re all looking for after a night of ill-advised overindulgence.
An important part of Northeastern culture, when it comes to enjoying a breakfast sammie in Connecticut after a night of drinking, look no further than the classic bacon, egg, and cheese (BEC). Beyond tasting incredible, the BEC actually carries a ton of vitamins and nutrients that help fight off any hangover symptoms. Amino acids from the bacon can help clear neurotransmitters, eggs deliver a healthy dose of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, and cheese carries proteins, enzymes, and calcium. Plus, slapped between two pieces of bread — even better if it’s a bagel — complex carbs work to provide a much-needed boost of energy.
Georgia: Waffle House
Beloved for its cheap, 24-hour breakfast, lunch, and dinner options, Waffle House is practically synonymous with hangover cures in the South. However, with over 400 locations, there’s no state that quite loves Waffle House as much as Georgia. Across the state, Georgians turn to Waffle House’s assortment of remedies ranging from cheese-smothered hash brown, to All-Star Specials, and, of course, waffles.
Hawaii: Loco Moco
Reportedly created in 1949 in Hilo, Hawaii, at the Lincoln Grill, the Loco Moco is a popular dish in Hawaii. Traditionally made by layering a hamburger patty over a bed of white rice and layering atop brown gravy and a fried egg, the Loco Moco is rich, hearty, and filling.
Idaho: Finger Steaks
Thoroughly seasoned, soaked in a buttermilk batter, and deep fried, finger steaks are a hallmark Idaho cuisine, typically served with an assortment of dipping sauces. Named for their roughly finger-length proportions, they are beloved across the state, with many passionate discussions surrounding where to find the best ones.
Kentucky: Hot Brown
In the 1920s, the Brown Hotel in Louisville was the hottest spot in town to gather, dance, and drink. After a long night, it wasn’t out of the question for intoxicated or hung over guests to look for something to fill their stomachs, and thus, the Hot Brown was born. Created by the hotel’s chef, Fred Schmidt, the Hot Brown is a broiled open-faced sandwich made with buttery Texas Toast, roast turkey, bacon, and tomato all topped with a creamy Pecorino Mornay sauce. Today, the hot brown exists in a multitude of forms across Kentucky.
Louisiana: Yakamein (Ol’ Sober)
With the state’s largest city serving as an iconic American nightlife hotspot, Louisiana residents are no strangers to a choppy morning after. While gumbo may be Louisiana’s official state dish, when it comes to hangovers, New Orleans has you covered. Yakamein, or Ol’ Sober as it’s affectionately referred to in the Big Easy, is a noodle soup that marries Cantonese origins with Creole and Cajun spices. Yakamein’s roots trace back to the 19th century and consists of spaghetti noodles, broth, beef (though other proteins can be used), and toppings like boiled eggs and scallions.
America might run on Dunkin’, but there’s no state that loves the coffee and donut chain as much as Massachusetts. Founded in Quincy in 1950, there are over 1,000 Dunkin’ locations across the state, amassing an impressive 15 Dunkin’s per capita. The chain remains the most popular fast- food destination in the state, beating out other popular hangover options like Domino’s, Taco Bell, and McDonald’s by a wide margin.
Nebraska: Runza Sandwich
The runza is a beloved local sandwich, of sorts, which has been referred to as being “as Nebraskan as Cornhusker football.” A bread pocket filled with seasoned beef, sauerkraut or cabbage, and onions, runzas are sold across the state and even have a dedicated fast-food chain of the same name, the first of which opened in 1949. Today, runzas are eaten at any time of day, but some have called them “the only thing that can make a hangover go away.”
New Jersey: Pork Roll, Egg, and Cheese
Greasy and fried until crispy, the pork roll is to New Jersey what pasta is to Italy (and also New Jersey). Though the pork roll/Taylor ham debacle may be one of the most hotly contested Jersey-centric arguments other than the ending of “The Sopranos,” if there’s one thing the state’s residents can agree upon, it’s that it deserves a place on a breakfast sandwich. Gooey cheese, protein-filled eggs, and salty pork roll combine for the perfect bite.
New Mexico: Huevos Rancheros
Thanks to New Mexico’s proximity to our southern neighbors, numerous iterations of Huevos Rancheros have sprung up across the state. Literally translating to “rancher’s eggs,” the dish is made by layering black or refried beans, fried eggs, and ranchero sauce over tortillas..
New York: Garbage Plate (State), BEC (City)
When it comes to what New Yorkers are eating when they’re hung over, there’s an important distinction between New Yorkers upstate, and New Yorkers in the city. Those upstate tend to gravitate toward the Garbage Plate, which consists of a choice of meat (cheeseburger, hamburger, Italian sausage, etc.) layered atop a choice of carb (home fries, french fries, baked beans, macaroni salad) before being topped with sauces and various accouterments. It’s been fondly referred to as “the greatest hangover food ever created.” Meanwhile, NYC residents mostly prefer their hangover fixin’s to come in the form of a bacon, egg, and cheese on a bagel.
North Carolina: Bojangles Biscuit
With over 40 percent of Bojangles 816 restaurants located in North Carolina, the Cajun-inspired fast-food chain is a staple in the state. Many North Carolinians swear by the power of a Bojangles biscuit to cure their ailments the morning after consuming, with many citing the Cajun Filet biscuit as their preferred choice.
Ohio: Cincinnati Chili
Cincinnati Chili is an Ohio delight that may seem questionable, but apparently works wonders when it comes to turning a hangover around. Inspired by Greek immigrants, the Cincinnati Chili sees a serving of chili layered atop a bed of spaghetti, topped with shredded cheese and onions. While a seemingly random assortment of ingredients, the dish is loaded with carbs, grease, and protein.
Oklahoma: Ron’s Hamburgers & Chili
Established in 1975 by Ron and Betty Baber, Ron’s Hamburgers & Chili started in Tulsa but has since expanded across Oklahoma in addition to a few establishments in Texas and Arkansas. With a menu bursting with burgers, hamburger steaks, chili, french fries, and more, Ron’s supplies many hung over residents with the greasy delights their stomachs are craving.
South Carolina: Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit Sandwich
Biscuits are a mainstay in Low Country cuisine, so it’s no surprise that many South Carolina residents find themselves craving one when they wake up after a night on the town. With numerous options across the state, there’s perhaps none more ubiquitous than Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit, which has two locations in Charleston, a food truck, and is even available for shipment nationwide.
Texas: Breakfast Tacos
With an entire culinary category called “Tex-Mex” it should come as no surprise that many Texans enjoy a good breakfast taco when a hangover hits. With scrambled eggs, cheese, breakfast meat, and salsa all wrapped up in a greasy tortilla, there are few things better at keeping any symptoms of overindulgence at bay.
West Virginia: Pepperoni Roll
A country roll filled with sticks or slices of pepperoni, the Pepperoni Roll is a West Virginia staple with roots in the coal mining industry. The first commercially produced pepperoni roll arrived in 1927 when Giuseppe Argiro, an Italian immigrant and owner of Country Club Bakery, saw miners eating a stick of pepperoni with one hand and bread with the other. He decided to combine the two, and the pepperoni roll soon spread to every corner of the state.
Wisconsin: Cheese Curds
With a nickname like Cheeseheads, it should be no surprise that, when hung over, Wisconsinites reach for the good stuff when they find themselves feeling a little worse for wear. Fried until golden, cheese curds are poppable and crispy, sure to slop up any remnants of alcohol in your system.
*Image retrieved from: Brent Hofacker – stock.adobe.com