Cheap Eats

In Feature Stories, June 2016 by Alexandra DrosuLeave a Comment

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Great doesn’t always equal expensive. There are plenty of restaurants in Raleigh where you can get a delicious meal at a reasonable price. You just have to know where to look, and we’ve done the work for you. Whether you’re searching for a satisfying lunch spot, a tasty grab-and-go meal for a picnic or a place to take a date that won’t empty your wallet, find out where to go.


Grab & Go

If you’re heading to an outdoor concert or a movie on the grass, half the fun is eating a picnic outdoors.  Where can you get cheap and delicious food on the go without a trip to the drive-thru?  Here are our five favorites.



Ladyfingers Caterers

A stop by Ladyfingers Caterers shop gives you a chance to pack your picnic with delicious gourmet dishes; you can pre-order but it’s not necessary. They offer sandwiches, salads and soups all ready to take away. 627 East Whitaker Mill Rd.; Mon. – Fri. 9 a.m. – 6 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.;

Grab-n-Go for Two

Roast Beef with smoked Gouda Sandwich $9.50

Ladyfingers’ Tarragon Chicken Salad $9.50

Granny Smith w/crisp apple wedges salad with toasted walnuts, red onions & blue cheese $4

Total: $23




Boondini’s Sandwich Superstore

This simple basic sandwich shop isn’t fancy but the sandwiches are good and the soups are homemade.  The line can be long during lunch so for grab-n-go food call ahead. 7403 Six Forks Rd.; Mon. – Fri. 10 a.m. – 8 p.m., Sat. 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., Sun. 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.;

Grab-n-Go for Two

Slawd Amighty sandwich $6.45

Chips $1.25

BLT $6.25

Black & White Bean Salad $1.75

Total: $15.70




Neomonde Mediterranean

This 40 year-old business is the product of the four Saleh brothers who came to America from northern Lebanon. They brought with them their passion for bread and their mother’s recipes. The restaurant on Beryl road includes a deli, Mediterranean grocery and wholesale bakery. 3817 Beryl Rd; Mon. – Sun. 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.;

Grab-n-Go for Two

Box Special -Wrap or half sandwich, 2 salads/sides & 1 baklava

Total: $19.98


Poppyseed Market

Poppyseed Market

Poppyseend Market Café & Wine Bar

This gourmet deli and café in North Raleigh is the brainchild of chef Julia, whether you are eating in or grabbing dinner to go you will get food prepared in-house with locally, fresh ingredients. In addition to sandwiches, salads and soups, Poppyseed Market added pizza pies in response to customer requests. 8801 Lead Mine Rd, Suite 107; Mon. – Thurs. 11 a.m. – 9 p.m., Fri. – Sat. 11 a.m. -1 0 p.m.;

Grab-n-Go for Two

The Italian Classic on Ciabatta $10.25

The Muggsy sandwich $ 9.50

Total: $19.75


Smithfield's Chicken 'n Bar-B-Q

Smithfield’s Chicken ‘n Bar-B-Q

Smithfield’s Chicken ‘N Bar-B-Q

If you believe no southern picnic is quite complete without chicken and BBQ then this is your grab-n-go spot.  For over 30 years Smithfield’s has provided fried chicken, BBQ, and hushpuppies for all occasions from picnics to tailgates. 7911 Fayetteville Rd; Daily 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.;

Grab-n-Go for Two

8 pieces of crispy chicken with 2 pints of sides, 2 dozen hushpuppies and a gallon of iced tea

Total: $20.99


papas pizza 2Papa’s Pizza & Subs

Many of Papa’s fans call this spot a hidden gem; it is a true Italian spot with an extensive menu of pizza, salads, wings, calzones, Stromboli and pizza rolls.  They offer special deals for dining-in and for pick-up orders, but they also deliver. 7713 Lead Mine Rd.; Daily 11 a.m. -10 p.m.

Grab-n-Go for Two

X-Large Pepperoni Pizza $9.99

Side Salad (2)  $5.98

Total: $15.97


Lunch Time

Unless you pack a lunch from home every day, eating out during the week can add up fast. Sure, you can hit the local Harris Teeter’s or drive through McDonald’s but who wants to eat at a grocery store and have you ever seen the documentary, “Super Size Me”? Enough said! Here a few great options that satisfy both your belly and your bank account.

Roast Grill

Roast Grill

The Roast Grill—Hot Weiners

Just four blocks west of the Capitol Building at the corner of South West and Hillsborough Streets you can get more than just a cheap lunch. It’s an experience like nothing you will find anywhere else in Raleigh. Since 1940, The Roast Grill has been serving just hot dogs and glass bottle cokes.  The only toppings offered are mustard, onions, slaw and homemade chili. Be warned… they don’t serve french fries, potato chips, ketchup, cheese, kraut, pickles, relish, or mayo—so don’t ask for it. Plus, this diner is cash only, no cards accepted…again, don’t ask! 7 S. West St.; Mon. – Sat. 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.;

Lunch for One

2 Hotdogs: $5

Coke: $1

Total: $6

Splurge:  Pound Cake $1.50 or Baklava $2.50


Randy's Pizza

Randy’s Pizza

Randy’s Pizza

If you love true New York Style pizza this is the place for you.   The restaurant bakes all their pizza in a brick oven, grates the mozzarella by hand and prides itself on having the “biggest slices in the Triangle”. While pizza is its claim to fame, you can also get salads, calzones, and Stromboli, plus hot and cold subs. 2458 Wycliff Rd; Mon. – Sat. 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Sun. 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.;

Lunch for One

2 Slices (1 topping) plus a medium drink: $7.25

Total: $7.25





It is all about the burger at Cookout.  According the secret to their success is simple; make a burger the way it should be made – on the grill. Cookout opened its first restaurant 26 years ago in Greensboro and today has restaurants in 10 states across the southeast. 3930 Western Blvd.; 6505 Falls of Neuse Rd; 3224 Capital Blvd.; 1201 New Bern Ave.; 3222 S. Wilmington St.; Sun. – Thurs. 10:30 a.m. – 4 a.m.; Fri. – Sat. 10:30 a.m. – 5 a.m.;

Lunch for One

Regular Cookout Style Char-Grilled Hamburger: $3.04

Large French Fries: $1.39

Regular drink $1.51

Total: $5.94


seaboard cafe

seaboard cafe

Seaboard Café

Seaboard Café has been in business for more than 25 years, since Logan’s Trading Company opened at Seaboard Train Station just off Peace Street.  Its promise to diners remains the same: fresh, local and homemade every day except Sunday. 707 Semart Drive; Mon. – Sat. 11 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.;

Lunch for One

½ Chicken Salad Sandwich with a cup of soup & chips: $6.25

Drink: $1.89

Total: $8.14


Mami Nora's

Mami Nora’s

Mami Nora’s Rotisserie Chicken

Mami Nora’s is well known for it unforgettable rotisserie chicken, cooked in a special (and secret) marinade then roasted in a charcoal oven imported from Peru. 2401 Wake Forest Road; Sun. – Sat. 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.;

Lunch for One

Quarter White (Breast + Wing) Black beans and rice: $7.49

Drink: $1.75

Total: $9.24


Date Night

Does the thought of date night make you clench your wallet and want to cry? Traditional romantic restaurants tend to be pricey and that’s on top of paying a sitter, making a night out with your significant other a budget buster. We’ve got six solutions…to make it onto the list an eatery had to be a sit-down place that serves dinner for two for no more than $25, excluding tax and tip.


Chubby's Tacos

Chubby’s Tacos

Chubby’s Tacos

If your idea of a great date is tacos and margaritas then you can’t go wrong with Chubby’s Tacos.  Yes, sometimes they will have a line back to the door because you order at the counter but ordering is fast and the staff serves your food. Every meal is served with chips and eight different selections at the salsa bar. 2444 Wycliff Rd; 10511 Shadowlawn Dr #119; Daily 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Dinner for two:

Spicy Tinga Chicken/Carnitas tacos with rice and beans  $6

Chubby’s Burrito with rice and beans $8

Margaritas $8.50  (2)

Total: $22.50


Calavera Empenada and Tequila Bar

Calavera Empenada and Tequila Bar

Calavera Empanada and Tequila bar

Calavera can easily be missed on your walk from City Market to Fayetteville Street; it’s a small little corner spot with picnic tables outside. Inside the two-floors are colorful but intimate.  You have to order the empanadas if you go there, after all it is what the place is name for. Most people disagree on whether to order two or three (we picked two and a margarita). On the second floor, there are three televisions and one is always playing the Three Amigos on a loop. What you should do: get a flight of tequila! They’ll help you pick and it’s served with a “shot” of Bloody Mary mix. This is a great experience if you’ve never done it before. 444 South Blount St.; Mon. – Fri. 11 a.m. – 2 a.m.; Sat. & Sun. 12 p.m. – 2 a.m.;

Dinner for Two:

Habanero-Mango Guacamole $6.99

4 Empanadas $15.96

Total: $22.95

Splurge: Cilantro Jalapeno Margarita $9 or a flight of Tequila $15/$25


Brickhouse Sports Bar & Grille

Brickhouse Sports Bar & Grille

Brickhouse Sports Bar & Grille

For sports fans, this restaurant is a great spot to watch a big game on date night. They feature eight, 120” projection screens and several additional smaller screens. It’s an especially good spot if you are a Buckeyes or a New England Patriots fan; both alumni clubs meet there.  Brickhouse serves all the American classics but best known for wings offered in 13 different flavors. 3801 Hillsborough St.; Mon. – Sun. 11:30 a.m. – 2 a.m.;

Dinner for two

Southwest Salad $8.99

10 Enfuego Wings $10.99

NC Draft Beer $6 (2)

Total: $25.98


Lilly's Pizza

Lilly’s Pizza

Lilly’s Pizza

Share a pie at this colorful and eclectic joint with an fun, casual patio. Don’t expect New York style pizza and typical toppings, but you can expect a fluffy crust and unique flavor combos.  While you will love the food and atmosphere, come prepared for the wait—each pizza is made fresh and the staff is very laid back. 1813 Glenwood Ave.; Sun. – Thurs. 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.; Fri. – Sat. 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.;

Dinner for Two

Cowtipper Pizza $17

Wine $8 (2)

Total: $25


Sushi One

Sushi One

Sushi One

Delicious affordable sushi, no I am not teasing you! You can get four sushi rolls for under $25 with Sushi One’s BOGO sushi rolls every day.  Located in Lafayette Village this spot offers candle-lit booths and tables with ample space between allowing for easy intimate conversations.  Keep in mind sushi isn’t prepared quickly that’s the most common complaint. 8470 Honeycutt Road, Suite 100; Mon. – Thurs. 11:30 a.m. 9:30 p.m.; Fri. 11:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.; Sun. 5 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.;

Dinner for Two

Volcano Roll & Mary Roll  $13.99

Shimp Tempura Roll & Bam Bam Roll  $9.99

Total: $23.98



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