Believe it or not, in a town chock full of lavish and expensive dining options, it is possible to find good food in Dallas for less than $5. None of these items listed are happy hour deals; you can get them any time the establishment is open.
There are a few great $5-or-less burgers to be found in Dallas. Sitting at the corner of Singleton and Vilbig in West Dallas, Wimpy’s Hamburgers doesn’t look like much from the outside. But it does have darn cheap burgers. Here, you can order a hamburger for $4. Come prepared, though: Wimpy’s only takes cash.
A restaurant frozen in time, the White Rock drive-in Dairy-Ette also serves $4 cheeseburgers. Make sure to order a root beer float and onion rings with your meal.
You can find cheap burgers at another Dallas classic, Keller’s Drive-In. This Lake Highlands burger joint serves up hamburgers for $2.35, cheeseburgers for $2.45, and their No. 5 special with double meat is just $2.89. In fact, every single item on Keller’s Drive-In menu is under $5, from the chili dog ($1.75) to the grilled chicken sandwich ($3.39).
A “straight up” hamburger at Off-Site Kitchen will set you back $4.99, probably one of the cheapest meals you can find at restaurant-heavy mini-neighborhood Trinity Groves.
Jimmy’s Food Store
4901 Bryan St. (Old East Dallas)
This local Italian bodega has been an East Dallas icon for years. In addition to produce, imported goods and wine, you can find sandwiches for less than $5. For an inexpensive bite loaded with meat, try a half order of the Italian sub ($3.99) with mortadella, capicola, sopressata, pepperoni and provolone or a half order of the Italian Stallion ($4.99) with mortadella, capicola, sopressata, pepperoni, provolone, porketta, coppa, mozzarella and prosciutto. The half turkey sub ($3.99) and the half vegetarian cheese sub ($3.99) are also under $5 each.
408 W. Eighth St. (Bishop Arts District)
Yes, there is a less-than-$5 option to be found at Lucia, one of the most difficult restaurants in the city to snag a reservation to. A mainstay on their antipasti menu is the $1 foie gras-stuffed prune. This is a treat so satisfying that it deserves ordering more than just one.
1927 E. Belt Line Road, Carrollton and 1342 E. Belt Line Road, Richardson
At both Pho Pasteur in Richardson and Pho Pasteur II in Carrollton, order a banh mi. These Vietnamese sandwiches served on crusty French bread are big enough for a meal, and they offer five varieties that are $4 each. Our favorite is No. 51, the banh mi cha lua hot ga, with Vietnamese sausage and fried egg.
400 N. Greenville Ave., Richardson
For a hearty bowl of soup, head to Jeng Chi in Richardson. At this Chinese and Taiwanese restaurant, you can order a medium bowl of many of their soups for $5 or less. Try the hot and sour soup ($5 for a medium), the egg drop soup ($4.50 for a medium), the spinach soup ($5 for a medium) or the mustard tuber soup ($5 for a medium). They don’t skimp on the serving size here; a medium is more than enough for two people to share.
20 Feet Seafood Joint
Satisfy your seafood craving with some inexpensive options at 20 Feet Seafood Joint in East Dallas. Order a cup of New England-style clam “chowda” for $5 or try a pineapple ponzu oyster shooter for $2. Another way to save some cash? 20 Feet is BYOB.
When you think of food that’s easy to find for $5 or less, tacos are probably one of the first things that come to mind. Yes, most tacos are well under $5. But they're not all budget friendly when you're starving. Some of our favorites are those at La Banqueta, which are all $1.50 each. A breakfast taco will set you back $1.75. With multiple locations in DFW, this is a reliable choice for a cheap meal.
At El Rumbero in Carrollton, try their street tacos: $1.50 each for corn and $2 each for flour. Pastor and steak are standouts. While you’re there, also try the sopes; they're $2.75 each.
Vegetarian taco lovers should head to Resident Taqueria in Lake Highlands. Not only do they have a few permanent vegetarian selections on their menu, they have a board full of vegetarian specials every day. Try the caramelized cauliflower, with kale, pepita and lemon epazote aioli or the slow-cooked mushroom with poblano, queso and almon salsa. All vegetarian tacos are $3 each.
Taqueria la Pasadita Y Pupuseria
Pupusas are a traditional Salvadoran dish consisting of a thick corn cake stuffed with savory filling and topped with fermented cabbage relish. While you can find them at a few locations across town, our favorite is Taqueria la Pasadita Y Pupuseria, tucked into an unassuming convenience store in East Dallas. They offer pork, bean and cheese and cheese pupusas, which cost $1.80 a piece. This is another cash-only joint.
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Spam sushi? Yes, it is a thing and is actually a traditional Hawaiian snack. Spam musubi is a slice of Spam on top of a block of rice, wrapped in nori. It’s better than it sounds — actually, it's quite good. You can find Spam musubi at a couple of places in DFW. In Dallas, head to Aloha Hawaiian BBQ, where you can order two pieces for $3.99. In Plano, try L&L Hawaiian Barbecue, which serves Spam musubi for $2.95 each.
The Biscuit Bar
For those with a sweet tooth looking to find an inexpensive treat, try the Biscuit Bar in Plano. Their biscuit French toast — a biscuit dipped in sweet vanilla custard, pan-fried and topped with house-made whipped cream — is $4.50. While there, you can also sample some of their savory biscuit offerings, like the sausage biscuit ($4), biscuit and sausage gravy ($4.50) and the bacon, egg and cheese biscuit ($5).