With bars closed and restaurants operating at 50% capacity, great food deals at happy hours and nightly dining specials are a little harder to come by. But if you’ve resolved to save money this year, you don’t have to restrict yourself to fast food and chain restaurants.
For a little more than you’d spend on a fast-food combo meal, you can get great food that’s fresher and often healthier while supporting small businesses in and around Dallas.
Bbbop Seoul Kitchen828 W. Davis St. (North Oak Cliff) and 5323 Greenville Ave., No. 5 (Upper Greenville)
Korean rice bowls at Bbbop range in price from $6.50 for a vegan bowl to $11.95 for the braised short rib bowl. Most, including the build-your-own option, are under $10. Entrees are a little more expensive, but you can get 10 wings for $10.50.
Open for curbside pickup, takeout and third-party delivery at both locations 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday in Oak Cliff (patio dining available); 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 9 p.m. Sunday in Upper Greenville.
Frida’s Tacos1601 Singleton Blvd. (West Dallas)
Just $2 will get you your choice of breakfast tacos in the morning or any one of 10 different daytime tacos, including barbacoa, pastor and lengua. The gourmet taco options of fish, shrimp, rib-eye steak and more are just $10 for a plate of three.
Open for patio dining, takeout and delivery through DoorDash or Grubhub 11 a.m to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday.
Hello Dumpling1146 Peavy Road (East Dallas)
With the exception of the braised beef noodle soup ($11), everything on the menu here is $10 or less. Boiled or pan-fried dumplings filled with pork, chicken, beef, shrimp or vegetables come eight to an order.
Like the dumplings, noodles are hand-made at Hello Dumpling, and they pair well with a fresh salads ($3.25).
Open for takeout and outdoor dining 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. Sunday.
Italia Express Cedar Springs4000 Cedar Springs Road (Oak Lawn)
Pizza by the slice is a quick and easy money-saving meal, and at Italia Express, a single slice starts at $4. Choose a calzone or a stromboli for $9 or one of more than a dozen pasta options that are $10 or less.
Open for takeout and limited dine-in 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Wednesday; 10 a.m. to 3 a.m. Thursday through Sunday. Delivery is available through DoorDash, Grubhub and Uber Eats.
Knife Burger6121 W. Park Blvd., Plano
There’s no shortage of bargain burgers in Dallas, with multiple independent restaurants offering better-than-fast-food options. Quality varies wildly among those choices, but at Knife Burger, you can get a ridiculously good burger at a great price.
The Ozersky ($5.95 or $10 for a double) and The Pimento ($7.95) are excellent choices. Rotating specials on the menu offer additional sandwich choices that are also made with top-quality meat. Currently, a meatball sub and a chicken-fried steak sandwich, both made with 44 Farms beef, are just $9.95 each.
Open for limited dine-in, curbside pickup and delivery 5 to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 5 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Malai Kitchen3699 McKinney Ave., No. 319. (Uptown)
A scratch-kitchen Thai and Vietnamese restaurant in Uptown’s West Village isn’t exactly what you’d expect to find on a cheap eats list. But Malai Kitchen qualifies for a few reasons.
Observer’s Lauren Drewes Daniels sang the praises of the Thai coconut soup ($7 for a small bowl).
Daily $10 lunch specials Monday through Friday present another affordable option. There are also happy hour bites that include Vietnamese meatballs, fried Imperial rolls and more for $5 or two for $9. Happy hour runs from 3 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and all day Sunday.
Open for takeout, delivery and limited dine-in 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Mama’s Daughters Diner2014 Irving Blvd. (Design District) and additional locations in Irving, Plano, Lewisville and Forney
A good breakfast gets the day off to a good start, even if that start isn’t at the crack of dawn. Get breakfast on a budget every day at any time of day at Mama’s Daughters Diner.
You’ll only go over 10 bucks if you go for the plates with chicken-fried steak, steak or pork chops, and the hearty Mama’s Daughters special breakfast is just $6.50.
If you’re not a breakfast person, daily lunch specials of meat and three sides are $10.25.
Open for takeout and limited dine-in 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. Delivery is available through Grubhub and Uber Eats.
Quoc Bao Bakery3419 W. Walnut St., Garland
Bakery treats are notably inexpensive, and this bakery listed on our Top 100 Dallas Restaurants turns its fresh-baked baguettes into a special and affordable meal.
The shop’s bánh mì sandwiches are already a steal with a price of $4 or less. Multiply your savings with multiples when you buy three and get one free.
Open for takeout 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.
Trompo407 W. 10th St., No. 140 (Bishop Arts District)
You can get big flavor for small prices at Trompo, with tacos for $2.17 and quesadillas for $4.25. Grab a seat outside and pop the top of a Mexican Coke to savor your savings.
Open for takeout and patio dining 11 a.m to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. Delivery available through Uber Eats and DoorDash.
Uncle Uber’s Sammich Shop2713 Commerce St. (Deep Ellum)
Sandwiches are a common frugal choice, and at Uncle Uber’s you’ll have options that are way better than common. With more than 20 sandwiches on the menu and most under $8, a hot sandwich might hit the spot.
If a burger is what you’re craving, you can add cheese to a single or double and still come in under $8. And despite being open for takeout only, the Deep Ellum spot has continued its Tuesday night special of a double burger and fries for just $6 after 4 p.m.
Open for takeout 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Delivery available through Caviar, Uber Eats, Grubhub and Postmates.
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