When you’re down to the last dollars of a paycheck or just looking to offset your weekend spending binge, you don’t have to resort to ramen. Knowing the dirt-cheap spots in town can be a real lifesaver, as long as you know where to find them. We’re here to help, with a short selection from the many affordable joints hidden around West Michigan.
4242 S. Division Ave., Grand Rapids
Banh mi is supposed to be one of the cheapest foods around, but it often gets gentrified and price-jacked. That’s why you have to hit up this tiny deli in the hallway outside Kim Nhung Superstore. Here, the Vietnamese sandwiches are just $4 and true-to-style, with sliced pork, pate, sauce and plenty of veggies on a big, fluffy baguette. You can also fill up with plenty of other Vietnamese treats for $4 or less, such as summer rolls, pork buns, sticky rice, dessert pudding and much more.
Asian Palace Pho 99
141 28th St. SE, Grand Rapids
This is one of the cheapest pho joints in town, which is saying something. For just $6.95, you get a massive bowl of savory broth, meat and noodles alongside all the typical toppings — basil, mint, lime, bean sprouts, jalapenos and various sauces.
Taqueria San Jose
1338 S. Division Ave., Grand Rapids
Just about any taqueria in town is going to be cheap AF, so don’t feel the need to limit yourself to San Jose, but it’s certainly one of our favorites. Each taco, loaded with juicy marinated meat, cilantro and onions, is only $2, and you can add avocado for a quarter. Or, pick up a massive torta (Mexican sandwich), burrito or quesadilla, each costing $7 or less.
Ski’s Sub Shop
96 Monroe Center St. NW, Grand Rapids
Pete Cool, the owner of Ski’s, is the nicest guy you’ll ever meet. It’s just the cherry on top that he offers one of the best lunch deals downtown. The combo of any sub, chips and a drink will run you $8, which truly is as cheap as it gets for city workers. You’ll leave Ski’s with a smile on your face, and a belly and wallet both full.
Fat Boy Burger
2450 Plainfield Ave. NE, Grand Rapids
Fat Boy is like the burger joint that all the characters regularly meet at in a sitcom. It’s a comforting, welcoming neighborhood establishment that’s been around for decades. They’re serving up all the diner classics, from $5 burgers to $2.50 hot dogs and $7 omelettes, all made with fresh ingredients.
Hall of Fame Burgers
655 Eastern Ave. SE, Grand Rapids
You don’t have to stoop to eating fast food to get a cheap burger. At Hall of Fame, the burgers are fresh, juicy and plump, and the crinkle-cut fries are the perfect texture with amazing seasoning. Just to give you an idea of the prices: $6.29 for two deluxe cheese burgers, fries and a drink.
300 S. Kalamazoo Mall, Kalamazoo
826 S. Westnedge Ave. Kalamazoo
Many a Kalamazoo college kid’s story at some point involves the words “and then we went to Taco Bob’s.” It’s easy to see why, when two tacos, a side of pinto beans, spanish rice, tortilla chips and a drink all comes in at just $6. It’s a dream come true for pennypinchers near any of Bob’s eight locations.
401 N. 7th St., Grand Haven
Out on the lakeshore, there’s a different type of late-night snack — Rendezvous serves up breakfast 24 hours per day. You can get a huge omelette, scramble, pancake or breakfast combo for just $6, give or take a buck. You’ll also find burgers, sandwiches and entrees for just as cheap. Goodnight and bon appetit!