Eating on a Budget in a Budget Friendly Place

Richmond is not New York.  It’s not even Paris or London.  It’s much cheaper by comparison and so when you’re out of work and crunched for time between episodes of Jerry Springer and Maury Povich, you need to find places that offer good food for an even better price.  And NOT FAST FOOD!

Of course the cheapest thing to do is cook for yourself.  Cooking things like bread or hamburgers and buying in bulk is about 850 times cheaper than fast food*  But that’s not what this blog is about.  I’m talking about restaurants.  So where do you go to get a cheap meal?  Let’s start with lunch as it is probably the most likely meal to be eaten away from home.

When I want something delicious and cheap and NOT FAST FOOD, there are a few different options that hit the spot in my stomach without emptying the spot on my hip.  Unfortunately, I think I’ve mentioned almost all of them in previous posts, but making the short list are Jerk Pit on Broad near Boulevard (see Barbecue), Pho So 1, off of Horsepen (see Richmond’s Chinatown), and Perle’s (see Breakfast).

City Dogs, in the slip and uptown on Main street cooks up a dozen or so city specific varities of hot dogs, all for about $3.00 each.  Try the Chicago Dog and the Richmond Dog.  If you like hot dogs, you won’t be disappointed.

Also try Akida on Robinson between Broad and Grace for great lunch specials like teriyaki chicken with soup, a salad and a sushi roll for about $8.00.  A tiny place with a little sushi bar taking up about half of the restaurant, you can see your meal being made right in front of you.

Another tip for eating on the cheap is to find specials and happy hours.  These are usually specific to dinner time, but some specials run all day.  Two of the most popular are “dollar burgers” at Capital Ale House or “dollar tacos” at Little Mexico near the VCU campus, both on Monday nights.  Get there early to get a table, beware that drinks and side orders can easily run up your bill and don’t forget to leave a tip as if the food weren’t discounted.

If you like to drink, do so at home.  Where a cheap beer like PBR or Yeungling will cost $.50 in a six pack, at a bar it’s a miracle to find it for under $2.00 a can.  Try Trader Joes to get amazingly cheap beer that tastes better than Bud Light or Coors.

It’s not impossible to eat for cheap and even to eat out for cheap in Richmond.  You must always remember to cut back, think about the saying, “the eyes are bigger than the stomach”, avoid drinks and search for specials.  Best of luck fellow unemployed.  We could have it worse.  We could be in Tokyo trying to eat for cheap!

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