What if I told you that you could get an incredible meal with the change you scrape together from the bottom of your pockets? It’s true, at least in Texas. Lucky for us (and our bank accounts), we don’t care for fancy meals – we’d pick a burger and fries over a gourmet dinner any day. There are a plethora of restaurants across the state that have mastered the art of simple, cheap, delicious food. Here are our top 10 picks.
1. Lankford Grocery & Market (Houston)
If you're looking for a cheap burger that'll knock your socks off, Lankford is your place. They've been around since 1938, so they've had a few years to perfect their craft. From chili cheese to Frito pie, Greek to Mexican, and even burgers with mac and cheese on top, there's something for everyone - and it's all under $10.
2. Herrera's (Dallas)
Lucky for us, good quality Tex-Mex isn't too hard to come by in Texas - and it's usually fairly cheap as well. Herrera's is no exception. You can get a heaping plate of enchiladas (I recommend the sour cream) with beans and rice for only $8.95, not to mention the bottomless chips and salsa we like to gorge ourselves on before the meal for free.
3. Koriente (Austin)
Everyone loves a nice warm bowl of Asian comfort food, but it can get pricey because of the specialty ingredients like premium cuts of fish that are often used. Koriente gives you the best of both worlds - high quality, delicious Korean food without breaking the bank. This bowl of steamed rice, shredded vegetables, your choice of meat, soy sauce, avocado, and a runny egg will only set you back about $10, and it's worth every penny.
4. Pizza Snob (Fort Worth)
College towns are great for cheap eats since businesses know students' pockets aren't the deepest. Sometimes, that means quality is compromised, but not in this case. Pizza Snob is like a gourmet Subway - you tell them what you want on your pizza (anything from garlic buttered meatballs to honey BBQ pulled pork) and they cook it to perfection in a brick oven. A personal pizza costs $9 - not bad at all if you ask me.
5. Original San Antonio Hot Dog House (San Antonio)
Sometimes, you just need a good old-fashioned hot dog. Other times, you need a bacon-wrapped, fried hot dog smothered in melted bleu cheese sauce and bacon bits. The latter, along with tons of other delicious franks, is what you'll find here - and they only cost $4.79.
6. Tacos La Bamba (Beaumont)
Downtown Beaumont might be an unassuming place for authentic Mexican food, but Tacos La Bamba is just that. The atmosphere (fun Hispanic music, dancing outside, etc.) combined with the artwork and low prices makes it a must-try. The tacos are just $1.99 each, and they're all delicious. Choose from barbacoa, ground beef, or grilled chicken, fresh, flavorful salsas, Mexican cheese, and all the veggies - double wrapped in corn tortillas, of course - for a culinary experience you won't forget.
7. Eddie's Barbecue (Lubbock)
The North Texas barbecue scene doesn't get talked about much, but that should definitely change. The locals go crazy over Eddie's - specifically, the Frito pie. (Yes, there's sausage in it. Yes, it's amazing.) You can get one of those bad boys AND a half pound of their slow-smoked, juicy sliced beef for only $8.75. Can't beat it, y'all.
8. Keller's Drive-In (Dallas)
Not much to say about Keller's other than the fact that it'll take you right back to the 1950s, hand-spun shakes, poodle skirts, soda fountains and all. Oh, and their signature double-meat cheeseburger with special sauce on a poppyseed bun is only $2.69.
9. Torchy's Tacos (Austin)
Although Torchy's has locations elsewhere, they're definitely more popular in Austin than anywhere else. Maybe it's because of the off-the-beaten-path toppings (fried avocado, jalepeno sausage, fried chicken...the list goes on.) But no matter what the reason for its popularity, one thing's for sure: Torchy's is here to stay, and for just a few bucks for an amazing meal, I'd say it's worth a visit.
10. Jus' Mac (Houston)
An entire restaurant dedicated to Mac 'N Cheese...in every way, shape, and form imaginable. Plus, every personal sized and most of the large sized bowls are less than $10. Need I say more?
Have you ever been to any of these restaurants? Where else can you eat on a dime in Texas?