photo by Jessica Bryce Young
Gyros sandwich "Dubai style" from Whitewood Grill.
You know the drill! Here's our latest roundup of 10 spots to get lunch for less than a sawbuck. Don't see your favorite here? Post your recs in the comments or email 'em to me.
The Brass Tap
1632 N. Mills Ave., 407- 270-9538; brasstapbeerbar.com
It may be tough to stay under your $10 budget when confronted with Brass Tap’s beer menu, with its concise descriptions of more than a hundred brews on tap. But stay the course and order the pepperoni and peppadew pizza, a spicy 7-inch pie on a salty pretzel crust for $7.99. It’s petite but powerful.
Ethos Vegan Kitchen
601 S. New York Ave., Winter Park, 407-228-3899; ethosvegankitchen.com
Doesn’t matter if you’re vegan or not, everybody loves Ethos’ coconut curry wrap ($8.95): grilled tofu chunks slathered in curried vegan mayo and tossed with celery, raisins, raw walnuts, shredded coconut and mixed greens, then wrapped in a spinach tortilla.
The Gnarly Barley
7431 S. Orange Ave., 407-854-4999; thegnarlybarley.com
It’s more of a beer joint than a restaurant, but Gnarly Barley’s chipotle brisket tacos with Tiger sauce ($3.50 each) give us reason to live. (What, we like it hot.) Just try to resist the vast craft brew menu if it’s a work day.
Quickly Boba & Snow
photo by Jessica Bryce Young
Detail of Boy Kong's massive mural at Quickly Boba.
3214 E. Colonial Drive, 407-270-4570; facebook.com/quicklyorlando
Sure, it’s a boba and slush spot, but they’ve got the savory goods, too. Grab a basket of Taiwanese-style popcorn chicken ($4.50) for spicy crunch and a side of summer rolls for some fresh veg ($3.99). Or just have macarons for lunch ($2 each); it’s your life.
165 S. Orange Ave., 407-650-9134; spiceburgr.com
There are a lot of fancy specialty burgers here, all of them under $10 (unless you really go nuts with the add-ons), but for our money, it’s the traditional burger ($6.45) that sings: an organic grass-fed beef patty on a buttered toasted bun with lettuce, tomato, mayo, pickle, fried onions and cheese – plus a heap of the tastiest fries we’ve had all year.
Stardust Video & Coffee
1842 E. Winter Park Road, 407-623-3393; stardustie.com
The venerable coffee and cocktail joint has been serving up a mean selection of sandwiches and snacks (mostly named for movies, in tribute to their video-store origins) for at least a decade, but it’s the “5 Easy Pieces” we keep coming back to: buffalo mozzarella, sliced tomato and eggplant, roasted red peppers and pesto, pressed ’til it’s crispy, yours for nine bucks and change.
Whitewood Mediterranean Grill
1 S. Orange Ave., 407-999-8959; whitewoodgrill.com
The traditional gyro sandwich is just that, at $7.50; but for $1.49 more, get it “Dubai Style” with extra meat, feta and seasoned fries – rolled up inside the filled-to-bursting pita.
610 W. Morse Blvd., Winter Park, 407-843-2667; asouthernaffair.com
Get a two-piece “plenty plate,” two pieces of fried chicken plus two “fixins” (collards, fried okra, creamed corn, mac & cheese or a dozen more choices) for $7.99, or go for the sideboard sampler – three of those Southern-fabulous sides and a slice of cornbread for $7.49.
651 N. Primrose Drive, 407-896-6763; ilpescatoreonline.com
Sometimes it’s a good thing to sit down to a nice hot meal instead of scoffing a sandwich on the run. Treat yo’self to a plate of baked manicotti or cannelloni (with garlic bread and a salad, $8.25) and feel like an actual grown-up.
4550 S. Kirkman Road, 407-290-0991; mrspotato.net
Mrs. Potato takes rösti (a Swiss dish that's kind of like a mega-hash brown) in a Brazilian direction, stuffing the tender inside with various ingredients, from cheese and onions to chicken stroganoff. Three are priced at $9.99: baked beans, pulled chicken, and the aforementioned stroganoff. But if you’re really seeking the cheap, get the your filling of choice on a baked potato instead for $3 less.
photo via The Coop's website
Fried chicken is the specialty at the Coop, John Rivers' temple of down-home Southern cooking.