Breakfast, lunch or dinner, there comes a time when we all need to go out for a bite to eat instead of cooking at home. With the rising cost of living, when dining out, getting the most while maintaining quality takes precedence. Fortunately, there are an abundance of traditional restaurants in Kentucky where you can still dine for less than $10 a person.
15. Charlotte’s Hoagie Shop at 1516 E Main Street in Cumberland
This is one of those places where the staff takes pride in their work. You are greeted with friendly service and provided fresh, generous portions with surprising swiftness. All the sandwiches are great from the Hoagie to the Ribeye, but the Country Ham Dinner for $9.50 is a must try.
14. Dairy Cheer at 1384 N Lake Drive in Prestonburg
Several readers vouched for the food at Dairy Cheer in a previous article. Thus, due to reader comments and recommendations, this establishment is certainly worth checking out. The Smash Burger comes repeatedly recommended, along with the hand dipped shakes. The prices are very reasonable and though somewhat considered fast food, this restaurant does in fact bring “cheer” to its patrons.
13. Cloud’s County Cooking at 1028 N College Street #8 in Harrodsburg
This is another one of those sweet little southern diners where you get home cooked meals like Grandma made. The cornbread is amazing, especially paired up with pintos or creamed lima beans. Cornbread stuffing with chicken is another local favorite. When it comes to desserts, Cloud’s has a one of a kind stack pie. All the desserts are good, but stack pie is 4 slices of chess pie sealed together with homemade caramel icing. Incredibly sweet… but a must try.
12. El Caminante at 735 Hwy 68 in Maysville
If you enjoy authentic Mexican cuisine, you will love dining at this traditional Hispanic fare restaurant. The food is plentiful, the prices are under $10, and the service is fast and friendly. If you drink and like the taste of Tequila, the Jumbo Margarita is a real treat and comes in a variety of flavors. The bartenders tend to be quite generous with the Tequila, so have a designated driver if you plan on drinking a few. The bean and cheese enchiladas with a side of rice and beans are excellent, as are ANY of the burritos with Queso. You will not regret stopping at El Caminante when it comes to food, flavor and service.
11. Ferrell’s Snappy Service at 112 N Main Street in Madisonville
This is a tiny little diner that serves up classic diner food for the prices you’d expect. You do not have a lot of options on the menu, but what they have, they make right. Burgers and fries are always a winner here, with just the right amount of grease and plenty of juice. It is almost like Ferrell’s just stopped seeing the years go by and stayed the same, other than raise the prices slightly in the past few decades.
10. Gumbo Yaya at 1080 S Broadway in Lexington
The servings here are generous and the food is perfect if you enjoy Creole/Cajun dining. You can get large plates for under $8 with combinations like the Yatwich and Crawfish E’touffe. Vegetarian options are also available.
9. Homestead Dinner Bell Restaurant at 627 N Drive in Hopkinsville
This country cooking restaurant offers amazing meals prepared fresh daily. The daily lunch specials are under $7 and the food is always delicious. The hushpuppies and fish are some of the best around. The pies are homemade too, and every mouthwatering bite reminds you it was made with love.
8. Main Street Diner at 1149 Main Street in Livingston
This is a classic diner with classic diner food. The prices are all under $9 for an actual dinner, like fried chicken, hamburger steak, or tenderloin with 2 sides. If you just want a burger and fries, you will likely spend less than $5. The food is well above what you would expect for the price and the service is fast and friendly.
7. Tracks End Restaurant at 233 Parkers Mill Road in Somerset
This off the beaten path restaurant is well worth the drive. The food here is fresh and prepared quickly. Service is friendly and they do their best to get you the meal you expect. The omelets are perfectly done with very generous portions in size and ingredient quantity. If you are in for lunch or dinner, the burgers are hand pressed, not frozen patties. For the price and the portions, you cannot beat Tracks End.
6. Mama Lou’s BBQ and Gifts at 5112 S Jackson Highway in Horse Cave
This is another one of those sweet little southern diners where the food is fresh, the price is reasonable and the service is friendly. The hamburger steak is a hearty meal and you can have gravy, grilled onions and more added. The roast beef is also quite tasty, but is more shredded than chunked. The gravy is absolutely delicious though. Memaw’s is a must stop if you are looking for home cooking at its best in Hickman.
5. Check’s Café at 1011 E Burnett Avenue in Louisville
This little café has been around for decades and is a stable in the Germantown community. You can dine here for under $10 and be completely full, possibly even with leftovers. The buffalo chicken sandwich is perfect for those that love a little kick. Our personal favorite is the open faced roast beef with mashed potatoes and coleslaw. The meat just melts in your mouth and the gravy is rich and savory. The tenderloin or the fried chicken would be close seconds.
4. Memaw’s Café at 708 Catlett Street in Hickman
This is another one of those sweet little southern diners where the food is fresh, the price is reasonable and the service is friendly. The hamburger steak is a hearty meal and you can have gravy, grilled onions and more added. The roast beef is also quite tasty, but is more shredded than chunked. The gravy is absolutely delicious though. Memaw’s is a must stop if you are looking for home cooking at its best in Hickman
3. Spare Time Grill at 7807 Alexandria Pike in Alexandria
This classic 1958 diner has had a few upgrades, but it still seats less than 50 people and the restrooms are outside. Overall, it adds charm. What keeps people coming back is the reasonable prices, that classic charm and delicious home cooked meals for under $10. For around $7.50 you can enjoy 2 pancakes, 2 eggs cooked to order, sausage or bacon and a consistent refill on coffee. If your craving lunch, you can get a huge burger fully dressed accompanied by fries, a cup of chili or some other side for around the same cost. This is a 4 generation diner, making it a special kind of place to stop and enjoy a meal.
2. Suplex Tacos at 3613 13th Street in Ashland
Don’t be fooled by first impressions. This taco restaurant may be attached to a gas station, but the quality of the cuisine and the service are beyond reproach. The unique luchador atmosphere combined with the flavorful varieties of tacos and other foods is available for under $10. If you like Mexican with a twist, put this on your to do list.
1. Mad Mike’s Burgers and Fries at 6420 Dixie Highway in Florence
If you love a good burger, you have to visit Mad Mike’s. They make some unique burger combinations that will literally turn your tastebuds into burger addicts. Mike’s makes the Goliath, which is a cheese burger housed between two grilled cheese sandwiches, dressed to order. They have Pride of Zeus, which has hamburger and lamb meat with feta cheese and tyzeki sauce, and the Watch Out Below, with cream cheese and an egg. The flavor combinations seem to go on forever, and you will want to try them all, along with some loaded fries. This is the go to burger joint in Kentucky… seriously.
Traditional restaurants in Kentucky come in all shapes and sizes, but they have one thing in common. These diners and restaurants all offer generous portions of great food for less than $10. Excluding places like Taco Bell and McDonalds, what is your favorite restaurant to dine at for less than $10?