To determine the best cheap eats across America, GOBankingRates found the most highly rated inexpensive restaurant in each state’s largest city based on Yelp reviews.
Click through to find out where to eat iconic foods in your state for cheap.
Alabama — Falafel Café
Falafel Pita Sandwich: $5.99
You might not immediately think of Middle Eastern food when you think of Southern cuisine, but Birmingham’s Falafel Café is the real deal. The casual dining spot is best known for its chicken shawarma, hummus and — of course — falafel. One Yelp reviewer said that his meal at Falafel Café was “the best food I’ve ever had in my entire life.”
More into themed bars and restaurants? Check out Alabama’s Rattlesnake Saloon.
Alaska — Arctic Roadrunner
Alaskan Banquet: $5.25
Arctic Roadrunner is where the locals go for burgers. Open since 1964, the restaurant is truly “no frills” — burgers and sides are served on paper plates. But who cares about the plates when the food is this good? Go for the Alaskan Banquet — a quarter-pound patty topped with mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato and onion — for a sure-to-please cheap thrill. It’s better than any fast food burger you can get.
Arizona — Kiss Pollos Estilo Sinaloa
Kiss Taco: $1.69
Chicken-lovers should head to Kiss Pollos Estilo Sinaloa, which serves Phoenix’s juiciest pollo asada and grilled chicken. Their dishes are prepared in a Sinaloa-style marinade that features red chile and a variety of other flavorful spices, so their chicken packs a punch. You can get your chicken served pretty much any way you want — in a taco, burrito, tostada or salad. The popular Kiss Taco features melted cheese, sprinkled pork and their signature cheese chicken.
Arkansas — Three Fold Noodles and Dumplings
Dumpling Bowl: $7.49
This cheap eatery has a simple, minimalist vibe, but the flavors served here are anything but. TripAdvisor ranks this trendy Chinese eatery as the No. 5 restaurant in all of Little Rock, and one Yelp reviewer praised Three Fold for having “hands down some of the best dumplings I have ever had.” Other standout food items here include the taro chips, carrot slaw and bubble tea.
Looking for a more romantic restaurant? Try Ciao Baci — though you’ll pay premium prices for the romantic setting.
California — Corner Grille
Roscoe Burger: $2.99
Yelp rated Corner Grille the No. 1 burger spot in America in 2017 thanks to its flavorful Korean-inspired burgers. A basic Roscoe Burger costs only $2.99, but if you’re willing to spend a few bucks more, upgrade to the ultra-savory Kalbi Burger, which features Korean BBQ beef, pickled onions, shredded cabbage, spicy mayo and special sauce.
Colorado — Harley's: A Hot Dog Revolution
New York Pastrami Dog: $7.95
Hot dog toppings don’t typically go beyond mustard, ketchup and relish, but at Harley’s hot dog toppings are an art form. The casual Littleton eatery serves over a dozen signature dogs, plus a “build your own” option where you can choose your base dog and any mix of toppings you desire. Fans of spice can’t go wrong with the Death Vader, an “extremely spicy” brat covered in a cheddar blend, bacon and a homemade habañero ranch sauce.
For something a little different, try the New York Pastrami Dog, a 100 percent kosher beef dog topped with mustard and thinly sliced “bagel deli” pastrami on a toasted everything bun.
Connecticut — Bobby B's Roti Shop
Curry Chicken: $6.50
Bridgeport’s Bobby B’s Roti Shop is known for its modern and fresh Caribbean cuisine, like its doubles appetizer: a sandwich made with light and thin fried bread filled with savory curried chick peas and served with your choice of sauce. “We were told they had the best doubles in CT … They were right!” wrote one Yelp reviewer.
Try the curry chicken platter for a more classic Caribbean dish. It comes served with plantains, a cabbage medley, rice and your choice of stewed red beans or yellow split pea dahl.
Delaware — El Diablo Burritos
Build Your Own Chicken Burrito: $8.75
You might see a line out the door when you get to El Diablo Burritos — but the food is worth the wait. Fresh ingredients and inventive toppings, like the red pepper walnut sauce and pineapple habenero salsa, elevate El Diablo’s build-your-own meals from the typical fast-casual Mexican fare.
Florida — Maple Street Biscuit Company
The Five: $9
Maple Street Biscuit Company has been cooking up comfort food with a modern twist since 2012, and the restaurant’s popular The Five is sure to satisfy your brunch cravings. The sandwich features a flaky biscuit, all-natural fried chicken breast, pecan wood-smoked bacon and cheddar cheese, topped with sausage gravy.
Georgia — Home Grown
Sloppy Joe: $10
East Atlanta’s Home Grown prides itself on serving locally grown produce and fresh ingredients at “super ridiculously low prices.” Standout dishes include the pimento cheese sandwich — homemade pimento cheese served on grilled Texas toast — the fried green tomatoes, which are served with horseradish sauce, and their take on the classic sloppy Joe — made with peaches.
Hawaii — Marukame Udon
Regular Curry Udon: $5.25
Get your slurp on at Honolulu’s Marukame, which specializes in Sanuki-style Udon noodles. Foodies can indulge in an order of vegetable, chicken or seafood tempura, but make sure to leave room for the curry Udon. One Yelp reviewer said they “could eat their curry Udon every day.”
Idaho — Tango's Subs and Empanadas
Gaucho Empanada: $2.50
Tango’s has been bringing a taste of Argentina to Boise since 2006. The mom and pop restaurant aims to make its customers feel like family while serving their signature filled-dough empanadas, the most popular of which is the Gaucho. This classic Argentine empanada is filled with ground beef, eggs, olives, onions, bell peppers and spices.
Illinois — Nini's Deli
Chicken Empanada: $3.50
This neighborhood family restaurant blends Latin Caribbean and Mexican flavors in a way that’s inventive but unpretentious. Start your day with a El Cubanito sandwich — filled with eggs, cheese, beans, sweet plantains and an avocado — or a chicken empanada and a cafe con leche to find out why this restaurant has earned five out of five stars on both TripAdvisor and Yelp.
Indiana — Don Juan V's Sandwiches
Asado Sandwich: $8.99
Don Juan V’s Peruvian-style sandwiches are “vastly under-priced for the offering,” said one Yelp reviewer. You can’t go wrong with the Peruvian pot roast Asado sandwich or the deep fried pork Chicharrones sandwich — both under $9 — but make sure you leave room for the highly rated Yucas Fritas, a deep fried Yucca root appetizer that costs only $4.50.
Iowa — Gazali's
This Mediterranean restaurant located across the street from Drake University boasts the “best, freshest gyros” in Des Moines. In addition to its lamb gyros — which you can have prepared “classic” or “spicy” — other can’t-miss dishes include the hummus and chicken shawarma.
Kansas — My Tho
Hiu Tieu Mi Bho Kho: $7.25
If you’re craving Vietnamese food in Wichita, My Tho is the place to go. Although the menu is limited, the quality of the cuisine will keep you satisfied. Try the Hiu Tieu Mi Bho Kho, a Vietnamese beef noodle soup, which one Yelp reviewer claims is the best Hu Tieu bowl in the U.S.
Kentucky — Yummy Pollo
Quarter Dark Charcoal Chicken With Two Sides: $7.75
Louisville’s Yummy Pollo specializes in Peruvian-style charcoal-fired rotisserie chicken that’s “never fried, always yummy.” And the restaurant lives up to the name, with one Yelp reviewer saying that the chicken here will be “the best rotisserie chicken you’ve ever had.” The chicken is definitely the focal point at Yummy Pollo, but the sides are just as exceptional — especially the cilantro rice and yucca fries.
Louisiana — Verti Marte
Parmesan Chicken Sandwich: $8.05
Verti Marte might look like a hole-in-the-wall grocery store, but it serves up the best po’ boy sandwich in New Orleans’ French Quarter, according to TripSavvy. If you’re looking for something beyond a classic po’ boy, try the Shrimp Philly, a sandwich stuffed with grilled shrimp, bell peppers, onion, mushrooms, Swiss cheese, American cheese and “wow sauce.” You also can’t go wrong with the classic Parmesan chicken.
Maine — The Local Press
The Big “O”: $7.95
This tiny sandwich shop uses all-natural ingredients for its soups and paninis that are big on flavor — and small on prices. All the paninis served at this Portland eatery are less than $8. The orchard turkey panini — a favorite with customers — perfectly blends sweet and savory with its combination of oven gold turkey, bacon, gala apples, sharp cheddar and chipotle mayo. Or get The Big “O”: a roast beef panini topped with organic caramelized onions, organic baby spinach, Swiss cheese and horseradish mayo.
Maryland — Chaps Pit Beef
Beef Pit Sandwich: $7.75
If you’re seeking Baltimore-style barbecue, Chaps Pit Beef is the place to go. The meat-heavy eatery has been featured on the Food Network and the Travel Channel, and the Zagat Guide referred to Chaps as “carnivore heaven.” Chaps is best known for its pit beef sandwiches, but you can also dine on turkey, pork, BBQ chicken and ribs, as well as home-style sides, including hand-cut fries, baked beans, green beans, cole slaw and potato salad.
Massachusetts — Roast Beast
Regular Roast Beef Sandwich: $7
Choose your own meaty adventure at Roast Beast, which lets you build your own roast beef, turkey and chicken sandwiches. Spice-lovers can take the “Thermonuclear Challenge”: If you eat a sandwich topped with Roast Beast’s ultra-hot Thermonuclear Sauce in just five minutes, you’ll get a T-shirt and your photo taken for the restaurant’s Wall of Beasts.
Michigan — Ernie's Market
Ernie’s “Monster” Sandwich: $9
Ernie’s Market has remained largely unchanged since it opened in 1955, but that’s part of its charm. That, and the fact that Ernie himself is usually there, greeting customers with a signature “Hey, baby!” Not sure what sandwich filling you’re craving? Get the best of everything with the “Monster” sandwich, which includes all seven meats on the menu.
Minnesota — Matt's Bar
Jucy Lucy: $7.50
If you’re going to Matt’s in Minneapolis, you have to get the Jucy Lucy burger — spelled incorrectly intentionally. The popular sandwich features two hamburger patties with a slice of cheese in the middle, and it’s been a signature of the neighborhood bar and grill since it opened in 1954.
Mississippi — The Pig & Pint
Pork Belly Corn Dogs: $7.99
As the name suggests, The Pig & Pint serves up mouth-watering barbecue pork that you can wash down with a cool craft beer. One Yelp reviewer said this modern indoor-outdoor BBQ joint is “Mississippi BBQ at its finest.” Outside of your typical barbecue fare, standout dishes include the fried bologna sandwich — a brioche bun topped with thick-cut house-made bologna, an over-easy fried egg, American cheese, Comeback dressing and house B&B pickles — and the pork belly corn dogs, which are served with seasonal beer mustard and smoked tomato-ginger jam.
Missouri — Vietnam Café
Pho Bo: $6.80
Don’t be surprised to see a line out the door at Vietnam Café, Kansas City’s most popular Vietnamese restaurant. Once you get inside, be sure to order the spring roll appetizer and leave plenty of room for the pho — one Yelp reviewer said the noodle soup’s broth is “indescribable” and that “this place may legitimately have the best pho I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating.”
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Montana — Blue's BBQ
Small Rib & Meat Plate: $8.50
The original Blue’s BBQ opened in Wyoming, but it relocated to Billings in 2004 — to a gas station no less — and has remained a go-to for locals craving barbecue ever since. All of Blue’s recipes are made from scratch, the meats are handpicked and the portions are large. Go for the brisket sandwich or the rib and meat plate with a side of ranch pasta salad for a combo that will win over your taste buds.
Nebraska — Amsterdam Falafel & Kabob
The flavor-filled menu at Amsterdam Falafel & Kabob was inspired by its founders’ time abroad and love of European street food. The resulting fast-casual eatery blends flavors of India, Africa, Turkey and Egypt into its one-of-a-kind, build-your-own-meal menu. No matter what you choose as your main, you’re going to want to get an order of curry fries, the restaurant’s most popular side dish.
Nevada — Earl of Sandwich
The Earl’s Club: $6.99
The Earl of Sandwich was actually founded by direct descendants of the inventor of the sandwich in 2004, and its original location at the Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas remains a popular eatery among locals and visitors alike. The Earl’s Club gives you a little bit of everything: it’s filled with turkey, bacon, Swiss cheese, lettuce, roma tomato and sandwich sauce.
New Hampshire — El Rincon Zacatecano Taqueria
El Rincon Zacatecano Taqueria brings authentic Mexican flavors to Manchester. Popular dishes include the Nachos El Rincon — crispy tortilla chips covered with refried pinto beans, melted cheese, jalapeños, cilantro, onions, guacamole and sour cream — and the Gorditas Zacatecanas, three handmade thick corn tortillas filled with your choice of fried pork rind, chicken, beef, pork, carnitas or chicken-chipotle mixed in green sauce, onion and cilantro, and the tostadas — two thin and crunchy corn tortillas with a spread of refried beans and your choice of chicken, beef, pork or chicken-chipotle, topped with lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream and cheese.
New Jersey — The Green Chicpea
Chicken Pita: $8.44
The Green Chicpea has been serving authentic Middle Eastern food in a fast-casual setting for over 20 years. In addition to its expertly made falafel and hummus, the Green Chicpea serves more than 18 authentic salads and original sauces — including a Dr. Pepper sauce — made from locally sourced ingredients.
New Mexico — Pollito Con Papas
Chicken Plate: $9.99
For authentic Peruvian-style chicken in Albuquerque, head to Pollito Con Papas. The chicken here is the star of the show, but the restaurant’s special aji sauce is what keeps locals coming back for more. For a one-of-a-kind chicken dish, try the chicken-stuffed potato: a baked potato stuffed with fried chicken and topped with lime-marinated onions and aji.
New York — Naya
Beef Shawarma Wrap: $8.96
Enjoy authentic Middle Eastern cuisine in a sleek, modern setting at New York City’s Naya. Build your own pita, bowl or salad, or choose from one of the classics, like the beef shawarma wrap.
North Carolina — Viva Chicken
1/4 Chicken: $8.95
At Viva Chicken, the chicken is cooked fresh every hour in a hand-built, charcoal-fired oven imported from Lima, Peru to provide guests with the most authentic Peruvian-style chicken possible. Their specialty is Pollo a la Brasa, so you can’t go wrong with an order of the 1/4 or 1/2 chicken served with two sides. The sweet potato fries and cilantro-infused rice are both side selections you won’t regret.
North Dakota — JL Beers
Original Hamburger Stand Burger: $4.59
JL Beers’ slogan is “Great burgers sold here,” and the burgers do live up to the hype. The bar and grill is one of the Food Network’s top places to eat thanks to its Humpty Dumpty Burger, which is topped with a fried egg and cheese. If you prefer a straight-up juicy burger, go for the Original Hamburger Stand Burger, which is topped with pickles and special sauce.
Ohio — Momo Ghar
Jhol Momo: $7.95
At Momo Ghar, it’s all about the momos: Himalayan dumplings filled with meat and vegetables served with the restaurant’s homemade spicy sauce. This hidden gem is actually located in Columbus’ Saraga International grocery store, but it’s worth seeking out.
Oklahoma — Empire Slice House
Foghorn Leghorn Pizza Slice: $3.75
Combine pizza-by-the-slice with a lively beer garden and you get Empire Slice House — part bar, part restaurant, all delicious. The Foghorn Leghorn pizza is a crowd favorite, topped with sweet marinara sauce, roasted chicken, bacon, jalapeño and Sriracha drizzle.
Oregon — Pine State Biscuits
The Reggie: $9
Three friends from North Carolina brought their love of flaky, buttery biscuits to Oregon, which is how and why Pine State Biscuits was born. Whether you want a biscuit sandwich, biscuits and gravy, or a build-your-own biscuit, you can find that here. But trust us and just go for The Reggie, a biscuit sandwich made with fried chicken, bacon and cheese, topped with gravy.
Pennsylvania — Nan Zhou Hand Drawn Noodle House
Beef Brisket Noodle Soup: $8.25
Nan Zhou pulled noodles have over 160 years of history, and now thanks to Nan Zhou Hand Drawn Noodle House, the Chinese delicacy can be enjoyed in Philadelphia. Satisfy your noodle craving with the beef brisket noodle soup, and step out of your culinary comfort zone with an order of the spicy pig ears.
Rhode Island — East Side Pockets
Chicken Kabob Pocket: $6.49
East Side Pockets has been a mainstay in the heart of busy Thayer Street in Providence since 1997. The casual Mediterranean restaurant serves all the standards — falafel, gyros, wraps, baklava, grape leaves, salads, hummus and tzatziki — but it’s really all about the falafel here. The chicken kabob pocket wrap is served with all the toppings you could want: hot sauce, hummus, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, hot peppers, pickles, tabouleh, tahini and yogurt cucumber sauce.
South Carolina — Real Mexico Restaurant Y Tienda
Chicken Enchiladas: $4.99
As its name states, Real Mexico is the real deal. Its menu items are fresh and simple, plus, as one Yelp reviewer said, “the portions are generous and the prices are unbeatable.”
South Dakota — PepperJax Grill
Classic Steak: $7.80
PepperJax Grill grills up fresh, high-quality ingredients right in front of you. Their classic steak sandwich is made with a “nice pepper flavor” and served with “soft bread, straight off the grill,” said one Yelp reviewer.
Tennessee — Gus’s World Famous Hot & Spicy Fried Chicken
Half Chicken: $9.60
Gus’s World Famous Hot & Spicy Fried Chicken is known for its one-of-a-kind family fried chicken recipe that dates back to the 1950s. Gus’s Fried Chicken has become a staple of the Memphis food scene and has earned recognition both on a local and national scale. What started as a single storefront has now expanded to dozens of locations around the U.S., but the recipe that made them famous remains the same.
Texas — Roostar Vietnamese Grill
Grilled Pork Bahn Mi: $5.25
Roostar brings the energy and flavors of the Vietnamese street food scene to Houston. All of the bahn mi sandwiches are made-to-order, and, as one Yelp reviewer put it, “unlike any other.”
Utah — Don Pollo Mexican Grill
Tamale Burrito: $6.95
Don Pollo Mexican Grill serves 100 percent natural grilled chicken, has daily specials and a wide variety of taco options. For a filling meal on the cheap, go for the tamale burrito — it’s huge and “crazy good,” according to a Yelp review.
Vermont — Handy's Lunch
Big Daddy Breakfast: $9.50
Handy’s Lunch has been serving Burlington locals for over 60 years, and no matter who you are, you’re treated like family when you walk in the door. You won’t leave hungry if you go for the Big Daddy Breakfast, or the Texas chili dog with a side of fries.
Virginia — Carib Shack
Granny’s Curry Chicken Bowl: $7.85
Yes, Carib Shack is located in a strip mall, but its unassuming exterior doesn’t say anything about the quality of the food inside. The coconut rice, jerk pork and rum cake are all highlights, and Granny’s curry chicken bowl simply can’t be missed. “The curry chicken is so flavorful, I could eat it all day,” said one reviewer on Yelp.
Washington — Paseo Caribbean Food
Caribbean Roast: $9.75
If you’re looking for fresh Caribbean food made from local and sustainable ingredients, look no further than Seattle’s Paseo Caribbean Food. The casual eatery is best known for its Caribbean Roast sandwich, a toasted baguette filled with roasted pulled pork shoulder, aioli, cilantro, romaine, jalapeños and caramelized onions.
West Virginia — Dem 2 Brothers & A Grill
Brisket Sandwich: $9
Owner Adrian “Bay” Wright started selling barbecue ribs and pulled pork on the side of the road in Charleston, W.Va., without any intention of turning his passion for BBQ into a full-blown restaurant. But the demand kept increasing, and Dem 2 Brothers and a Grill was born. Wright now owns two restaurants and two food trucks, and he’s been featured on the Food Network and by Zagat. This is a can’t-miss spot if you love barbecue, and the brisket sandwich is a can’t-miss dish. “The brisket was the best I’ve ever tasted: perfectly smoked and super tender,” said one Yelp reviewer.
Wisconsin — Oscar's Pub & Grill
The Big O: $7.25
It’s all about the burger at Oscar’s Pub & Grill, which serves all of its giant 8-ounce burgers with a side of homemade French fries. You better come hungry if you plan to order the popular Big O burger: it’s an 8-ounce premium black Angus burger topped with chipotle jack, smoked Gouda, hickory bacon, chorizo, fried onions and jalapeños, served with a side of house guacamole.
Wyoming — Luxury Diner
Luxury Breakfast: $8.55
This charming Cheyenne diner is located in the luxury dining car of an old trolley, hence the name. The restaurant is most popular for its breakfast and brunch, but also serves up a good burger. Head there for breakfast and go with the classic Luxury Breakfast, which includes two eggs; your choice of “luxury potatoes,” hash browns or grits; toast or a biscuit; and your choice of choice of bacon, ham, sausage links, sausage patties, German sausage, Italian sausage, Polish sausage, chorizo or pork chops — all for less than $9.
The Cheapest Eats in America
When we think of cheap eats, we normally think of fast food and drive-thrus. But there are plenty of restaurants where you can get a freshly prepared, tasty meal for under $10. Whether you’re looking for cheap food in your own state or a travel destination, a little Yelping can go a long way.
Click through to read about the best scenic restaurant in your state.
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Methodology: GOBankingRates identified the best cheap eat in every state by choosing the biggest city in every state and using Yelp.com to identify a restaurant and a popular food item from the restaurant’s menu. In order to find the best cheap restaurant in each state’s biggest city, GOBankingRates filtered Yelp results by 1 dollar sign ($) and highest rated, and then chose the top establishment that serves food. Coffee, doughnuts and dessert were excluded from the search. Once a restaurant was chosen, GOBankingRates highlighted a popular food item to try that is $10 or less.