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Cheap food options in New York City

A couple of days ago, I posted about the $2.75 lunch (2 hot dogs + 1 Coke) I had at Gray’s Papaya here in the West Village. I got an email from Iain who recommended a Banh Mi Vietnamese sandwich at any number of places in Manhattan for the same price. So New Yorkers, where do you get your cheap eats?

Reader comments

Paul AlvordFeb 07, 2003 at 9:01AM

Cheap eats are to be had at Mamoun's on MacDougal and West 3rd. $2 Fallafel, and a $2 Lentil Soup. It's a great last stop before you stagger your way up to your apartment after a few pops at you favorite bar (Milady's).

Mr. NosuchFeb 07, 2003 at 9:07AM

Gourmet Wok is cheap Chinese food place in Hell's Kitchen that serves up generous portions of good Chinese take out. It's on 10th, between 43rd and 44th.

Us lazy folks can even have it delivered. The good woman and I get two dinners out of a $14 order.

I think Time Out wrote about 'em in their cheap eats special edition.

Tim ConradFeb 07, 2003 at 10:07AM

I think there needs to be two things done for NYC dwellers. A guide like this for inexpensive, but good places to eat. Zagats might cover this to some extent, but they're most likely not going to tell me about the vendor who's on 43rd between 5th & 6th towards 6th who serves really good pakistani food that's inexpensive. They're only there during the day, but the food is usually really good.

I'd also like a happy hour guide. How many drinks can you get for $10 at a given bar during happy hour?

And then, of course, for the ride home, a bathroom guide. For instance, the bathroom in the Barnes & Noble in Union square is there, and open until around midnight. Rather handy knowledge when you're on your way home, and reeeeallly need to go.

iainFeb 07, 2003 at 10:41AM

Chowhound is a pretty freewheeling message board, but the people there know their stuff. And, quite often, their stuff includes cheap yet delicious food. There have been threads on lunch carts, hot dogs, banh mi, cubanos (another cheap favorite of mine), as well as the more high-falutin' places (Daniel, Gramercy Tavern, etc). Problem with the site is that the message board software is archaic, so it can be next to impossible to find old posts - and everyone jumps all over you if you ask something that's been asked before.

As for a happy hour guide, please let me know if you find one!

RyanFeb 07, 2003 at 11:01AM

Banh mi (which basically translates to "American sandwich") was staple of mine when I travelled to Vietnam -- everyone there figured I'd want one to make me feel at home. :)

They're pretty good, but certainly not what you'd expect.

During my occasional visits to New York, Pak and Punjab (a small little Pakistani place in the... um, East Village, I think?) and the Lyric Diner are two cheap favorites.

RyanFeb 07, 2003 at 11:03AM

(sorry -- I didn't complete one of the sentences in my previous comment... the second paragraph should read:)

They're pretty good, but certainly not what you'd expect from an "American sandwich"...

BardFeb 07, 2003 at 11:32AM

$2.75!?? i didn't see your original post about this (a couple of days ago, you said?), so maybe you explain there that you didn't go for the special -- but at Gray's Papaya on 8th avenue and 36th or 37th, you get two hot dogs plus a drink for slightly less than two dollars.

kateFeb 07, 2003 at 11:55AM

I wouldn't have survived college without Dojo, 6th St. Indian food, pizza, and the now revamped (and disappointing) Kiev.

For everything else, per Tim Conrad's request, I use Vindigo on my handheld. Nearest restaurants, bars, public facilities, movie times, etc. It's an incredibly useful resource for people who don't plan well, er, who like to fly by the seat of their pants.

nitaFeb 07, 2003 at 12:13PM

I know jack about NYC, but you have given me the biggest craving for a sandwich from my favorite Vietnamese/French bakery in Frogtown of St. Paul, MN. AUUUGGGHHH!

AdamFeb 07, 2003 at 12:43PM

- Fresco Tortilla (and associated knockoffs). They're all over the place, generally good fast food. They've got Americanized Mexican down to a T. Bring your own habanero sauce. If you have some friends, get a pound of meat and roll your own.

- Little known NYC secret: no one advertises it, but most delis will make you a $2.00 sandwich with less meat if you ask for it.

jamesFeb 07, 2003 at 12:44PM

Since we're on the topic of banh mi, just for the record, "banh mi" does not translate to "american" anything (or "sandwhich" for that matter). It just means "bread." Someone musta told you wrong, Ryan. But whatever you call it, it sure is yummy.

rachelleFeb 07, 2003 at 1:03PM

pizza pizza pizza

also, i looooove the grey dog on carmine between bleecker and bedford in the village

pattiFeb 07, 2003 at 1:17PM

I don't know the name of the place, but I stayed at the Carleton on Madison a few months ago (34th and Madison) and ate breakfast every day at a coffee shop around the corner that gave me an egg (any style), toast and tea or coffee for $1.95. It pretty much kicked ass.

timFeb 07, 2003 at 2:15PM

Rainbow falafel. $3. 16th st west of Union Sq.

AnilFeb 07, 2003 at 2:23PM

Well, Mamoun's used to be good. It failed its recent health inspection, though. With any place that's got super cheap food, you will want to check out the NYC restaurant inspections website.

Bob Sietsema has done some great work on cheap eats, with a single list of 100 Asian places and an older list of all types.

There are a lot of people in NYC who are just scraping by, so there's lots of resources for getting by pretty cheaply, if you look for them.

katFeb 07, 2003 at 2:42PM

From the McDonald's dollar menu

avrilFeb 07, 2003 at 3:09PM

i usually either get mcdonalds lol, or my friends cook. mmm! home cooked good meals!

Tom KarloFeb 07, 2003 at 3:59PM

Lannan (121 University Place at 13th, just south of Union Square) consistently serves a great, $6 bowl of steaming hot noodles. A far better option than the pricey and crowded Republic in the square. Try the noodle soup with duck -- they put a huge duck leg in that breaks apart in the hot broth, leaving chunks of tender flesh mixed into your noodles of choice.

Amazingly fast delivery service too, for the less motivated.

jkottkeFeb 07, 2003 at 4:38PM

The McDonald's in Times Square sells 6 mini donuts for $1.07 (tax incl.). While not offering a lot in the way of nutrients to keep you healthy, it's a better value than the $3.50+ Starbucks tall chai latte I'm currently enjoying. (That $3.50 is also paying for a bit of Internet access, so I'm not complaining too much.)

kgjbnmeFeb 07, 2003 at 5:00PM

ahhh, for my dear departed Mill (B'way at 114 or so)... full breakfast of the toast/eggs variety for under 3 dollars, all day. It's a Korean restaurant now.

But La Rosita is still there, and still kicking ass at B'way & 107-ish -- Cuban food. The breakfasts are OUTSTANDING (e.g. beans, rice, 2 eggs, toast, thimble of OJ, cafe con leche) and won't set you back more than about 4 bucks. Again, served all day -- best. hangover food. ever.

aaaahhhh, college...

ciaFeb 07, 2003 at 5:29PM

Almost anything in Chinatown, like:

Vietnamese: L11 (bbq pork chops), pho and iced coffee at Nha Trang on Centre

xiao lun bao: Joe's Shanghai on Pell

dim sum: Triple 8 Palace on Madison St.

Or Korean: Woorijip on 32nd and 5ave for those cheap lunch to-gos

Pizza: Joe's on Carmine

Ahhh, so many. Have got to take you out.

darylFeb 07, 2003 at 7:47PM better? yup.

BillSeitzFeb 07, 2003 at 7:56PM

I second cia's recommendation for Nha Trang. A lunchtime in particular you can get porkchops over rice for around $5. Or a bowl of pho soup is about the same. Not as cheap as Gray's but way tastier, and you get a pot of tea, and can sit.... though you may have to listen to some really bad music piped in...

There's also a place called Rocket Wrapps, 3rdAve/10thSt that looks pretty cheap, but I haven't eaten there yet.

Bag of pitas, little container of hummous. Park bench.

GarrettFeb 07, 2003 at 9:01PM

On a slight tangent, I would just like to comment that working downtown (I'm between Maiden Lane and John Street) gives you the weirdest coffee prices.

On my way into work I usually stop at a deli across John Street to get a bowl of fruit (which is always fantastic), and their large coffee costs $1.10. Two doors down the coffee is $.60 for the same size. And on the Maiden Lane side coffee ranges from $.70 to $1.65(!) for that same size.

The strange part is, they all use the same cups and the coffee tastes identical. I don't get it...

rbFeb 07, 2003 at 9:41PM

Try Curry Hill (Lexington between the upper 20s and lower 30s). Eat where the Pakistani and Indian cabdrivers eat.

brianFeb 07, 2003 at 10:47PM

i think there seems to be a need for a more proletarian version of city-search. Something that highlights the hidden gems, the cheap eats, etc. But it can't be just nyc, but rather setup regionally like chowhound. i guess i'm thinking of a modernized chowhound...

Charlie RavioliFeb 08, 2003 at 1:30AM

And don't forget about Mee's Noodles! Midtown or East Village.

WebnaifFeb 08, 2003 at 7:54AM

Dojo's on St. Marks is the original NYU hangout for cheap eats. Wait service can be a bit diffident, but the breakfasts are bountiful.

A little pricier than some of the other listings, but a good eat-appropriate for your vegeterian friends.

evanoFeb 08, 2003 at 9:13AM

A couple of other people have beaten me to it, but I'll add my recommendation for Dojo on St. Mark's. Lots of brown rice, soy burgers and hijiki salad, practically for free -- compared to most places in the city. (And for X-Files fans, Gillian Anderson used to waitress there...)

erinFeb 08, 2003 at 11:00AM

oh, it's definitely at gray's... nothing beats the dog at an ungodly hour when a few beverages are in your system (well, maybe white castle trumps gray's on the greeze scale, but...)

DanFeb 08, 2003 at 12:30PM

The list is long and plentiful. How about a quick, cheap and tasty chocolate egg cream as an in-between refreshment?

The same vendor's been lingering about Union Square for as long as I can remember.

"Just like mom used to make."

AndyFeb 08, 2003 at 12:56PM

Punjabi on Houston (btw 1st & 2nd or 1st & A) - cheap Indian food, look for the line of cabs in front. Single item for $2. Larger portions of two items for $4.
Also on Houston, nearby, Bereket for great falafels.

edFeb 08, 2003 at 2:32PM

O MY GOD! Punjabi, $2 over rice. Houston and about 1st Ave, where all the cabs are. PLEASE SEND ME BACK TO ASIA! :-)

Tim DierksFeb 08, 2003 at 3:27PM

FYI, Chowhound will have new message software soon (we've been saying that for a while, but it's true, I swear).

I live in "Curry Hill", and I'll say that the cabbie crowd doesn't always eat at the good places. The Baltic Diner (used to serve Eastern European food and Indian, now it's just Indian) is always packed with cabbies, but the Indian food is crap. (Bisquick naan.)

george scribanFeb 08, 2003 at 4:07PM

BB Sandwich Bar on W 3rd between MacDougall and 6th Ave provides a fine take on the Philly cheesesteak for $4.

a piece of the pizza bianca at the Sullivan Street Bakery (not pizza per se, but puffy, crispy, thin bread w/olive oil) will only run you a dollar -- not a bad value, really.

the noodle-and-eggroll cart on Canal at Center Street (near the Citibank) was selling three eggrolls for a buck, last i heard.

for the "cheap date package," take a stroll across the Brooklyn bridge on summer night to Grimaldi's on Old Fulton St. not because it's the cheapest pizza in the city, but the spectacular view is absolutely free :-)

JoshFeb 09, 2003 at 1:41AM

I will chip in and say that the taco truck selling tacos at 104th and Broadway is *amazing.* $2 for a huge and incredibly tasty fresh soft taco with a slice of lime wedged inside. It's a whole meal.

All of Chinatown is cheap, but the Singapore Cafe on Mott Street just south of Canal is amazingly so. I love NYC.

Matt FoxFeb 09, 2003 at 11:37AM

Jeremy's Ale House on Front St. by the seaport is great. 32oz Coors for $1.75 before 10AM :)

"Dirt 'cheap' suds come in 'big' 'Styrofoam cups' at this 'garage'-turned-'beer hall' near the Brooklyn Bridge that's jammed with the 'Wall Street exodus', 'recessed jurors mulling the verdict' and early-birds chirping about its 8-10 AM happy hour; P.S. 'don't wear a tie' or it may join the cast-off bra collection dangling from the ceiling." -Zagat's review.

Radio Mexico (directly across the street) isn't exactly cheap (at least 10$ for lunch), but really good.

Alfanoose on Fulton St. has a great falafel for $3.25.

Excellent Dumpling House on Lafayette just south of Canal St. is good, cheap, and clean. Only strange thing is that they only have 2 or 3 types of dumplings on the menu.

AdamFeb 09, 2003 at 12:33PM

Radio Mexico was the shining light of delivery places when I lived near Battery Park. Their food is really good, they're always fast, and they're moderately priced. They don't list it on the menu, but their BBQ burrito is to die for.

For the record, McDonald's isn't food. Sorry.

Tim DierksFeb 09, 2003 at 12:52PM

Another question from a San Francisco emigre: where can I get a decent San Francisco Mission-style burrito in Manhattan or nearby? I'm horrified by the places that try to pass as taquerias here, and don't even bother to mention a place if it doesn't serve decent carnitas.

überchickFeb 09, 2003 at 1:00PM

If it's reasonably healthy that you're looking for at reasonable (but not those prices that've been mentioned), Franklin Station Cafe at Franklin/W. Broadway has great big bowls of Malaysian noodle soups for $8. Tsampa (E. 9th/2nd & 3rd, closer to 3rd) is also good, though slightly more, but the ambiance is comfortable.

Garrett, I'd highly recommend John St Bar and Grill for cheap happy hour, pool, and decent bar food.

DJSUBgFeb 09, 2003 at 4:51PM

Try Curry in a Hurry at 28th and Lex and when you're in Brooklyn, go to Buddy's Burritos in Cobble Hill across the Cobble Hill Cinema's on Court Street and when in Fort Greene - try Jon's Dount on the corner of Myrtle & Hall - great sandwiches and lemonade. So cheap you'll think they made a mistake on the bill.

kateFeb 10, 2003 at 9:55AM

You won't find a true mission-style burrito anywhere but the Burritoville chain. It will be painful to patronize a business whose motto is: Mex to the Max, but you will. Standard beans+cheese burrioto runs around $4.25, and will be bigger than something you think should fit inside of you.

A. RyanFeb 10, 2003 at 10:49AM

meg posted about "the man who ate everything," the steingarten book which mentions gray's and several others in its chapter on subsistence eating.

Andrew AgerFeb 10, 2003 at 11:09AM

Better than cheap:

Free bread and cheese, Wednesday nights at Blind Tiger (W. 10th St. and Hudson). Show up early, as these are also beer event nights, and the food disappears fast.

drat finkFeb 10, 2003 at 2:49PM

bereket is an les standout. im also a big fan of the buns (pork, taro, red bean) at asian bakeries. theyre super cheap (no more than $.75) and great for snacking or brunchiness.

davidFeb 10, 2003 at 5:31PM

rumor has it mamoun's is back, after their health inspection hearing.

FranklinFeb 10, 2003 at 10:09PM

McAllister's has every tuesday night: free hotdog with beer purchase. You can't beat that! There are also free popcorn and french fries from 6:00 until 7:30 to go with your hotdog.

JonFeb 11, 2003 at 4:03PM

here's a secret...

Park Avalon (park & 18th), kind of pricey for dinner, but you can sit at the bar and order drinks (not so bad, $5 or $6 pints), and they give out free pizzas at the bar! Not so sure about the days, but definitely on Fridays.

Also, as someone mentioned earlier...there are no 'mission-style' burrito places in manhattan...period. But, the next best thing is Cosmic Cantina on 22 or 21st & 3rd (the guy who owns is from SF)

For the best cheap italian, try Pepe Rosso To Go. A small place on sullivan just below houston. Genuine Italian that most people don't know about.

george scribanFeb 11, 2003 at 5:48PM

mission burrito-wise, i think Uncle Moe's on 19th (btw 5th and 6th) is worth a visit. they've got an outpost in Park Slope, too, but i try not to venture off the island :-)

that being said, i never met a transplant San Franciscan who didn't whine about the winters and the lack of real mission-style burritos, so YMMV.

AfsheenFeb 11, 2003 at 11:28PM

Cosmic Cantina. I never thought I would hear those words again. In my experience, they were the closest thing I could find to California-style burritos, but I also got really sick both times I ate there. (Fool me once, shame on you, etc.) Still, they were pretty tasty.

St. Mark's Pizza is always a favorite with the NYU kids.

MishaFeb 12, 2003 at 12:11AM

There is no burrito in New York that holds a candle to the ones you get in the Mission, I'm afraid -- Uncle Moe's comes close, but still, no cigar.

Nha Trang is the best dirt-cheap meal in town, and the Vietnamese coffee will keep you awake for a week. There are a couple of Pret a Manger stores around town now, and their sandwiches are very reasonable (and not as mayo-happy as the Prets in the UK, either). I love their squash soup, and their chili, both under $5.

BillFeb 14, 2003 at 6:52PM

This is slightly off-topic, but I used to live around the corner from the Gray's Papaya at 72nd & Broadway. For some years it had a sign in the window plugging its 2-dogs-and-a-weird-frothy-fruit-drink special: "Still only $1.50!" One day I walked by on my way to the subway and noticed that the sign had been changed overnight. It now read "Still only $2.00!" Beauty.

davidFeb 15, 2003 at 12:48PM

Mamoun Falafel was shut down, reopened, and then on Thursday failed again. Sadly, there is no restaraunt (or apartment) in NYC that is impervious to rats and vermin.

Also, The Taqueria D.F. on 5th Avenue and 23rd St. in Brooklyn rivals Mission burritos, almost. I hope the person that suggest Burritoville was joking or trying to pull a prank on us.

Also, Famous Pita on Coney Island avenue has all you can eat falafel for $2.00.

I've gone to the vegetarian dim sum house with groups of 6-10 stuffed people who paid $4-5 each.

SamanthaFeb 16, 2003 at 6:14PM

St. Mark's Pizza was great about three years ago, but then it got sold to new people, and now is only average. Also really good in the village/NYU area is Pizza Mercato's, on Mercer and Waverly.

Mamoun's is delicious and yummy enough that I think I'd still risk going back there once they open. Their falafels are legendary.

Grey's upped their prices, it's true, but come on. 75cents for a hot dog that's got a crisp skin and luscious flavor is still a deal.

Sammy's Noodle Shop on 6th Ave and 10th is also very good, but the best place to get good and cheap asian food is obviously Chinatown. Taste Good Malaysian Restaurant on Bayard and Elizabeth is fantastic, as well as fantastically cheap, as are the two Shanghainese places on Mott between Bayard and Canal. In fact, most places in Chinatown are great.

Quick tip for Chinatown dining: Take a glance into the restaurant before going in. If the Chinese/Asian customers outnumber the rest, it's probably a good place to try. I've never spent more than 8 dollars on dinner in Chinatown.

AfsheenFeb 17, 2003 at 12:31AM

New people bought St. Marks? So sad. (It's obviously been a while since I was there.)

I used to live down the street from the 37th St. Grey's Papaya (and a nameless place that sold $1 slices of pizza out of a window -- northwest corner of 36th and 8th) and I can't count how many times we ate there after coming home drunk and virtually broke.

There was also some bar on 9th Ave. (low 40s?) that gives (gave?) out free hot dogs. Anybody know what it's called? My memory fails me.

pintoFeb 17, 2003 at 12:39AM

first of all, if you get gray's papaya, for god's sake get a papaya or another fruit drink. coke will rot your insides.

now that i've gotten that out of the way

mott st.
big wong's (south side of canal)
wo-hop (kinda tourist-trendy)

bayard st.
69 (right off of mott)

gray's papaya -- 8th st. and uptown at 72nd. There's also a Mike's papaya on chambers st. and church, i believe.

big nick's -- my high school/college summer favorite late night burger spot. they've got a truly exhaustive menu of greek and diner dishes, but most importantly, huge *1/2 lb or 1 lb "sumo" burgers, pizza, and loads of character. I've also known the aging asian waitress since I was about three. Her name is Suzy. very affordable.

punjabi doner kababs at any stand are also the way to go. that's how i got through europe this summer.

DanFeb 17, 2003 at 12:25PM

Afsheen said:

There was also some bar on 9th Ave. (low 40s?) that gives (gave?) out free hot dogs. Anybody know what it's called? My memory fails me.

You're referring, of course, to Rudy's on 9th between 44th and 45th.

Also, no one seems to have mentioned Sirtaj, a great little Indian greasy spoon (voted the best in the city by someone or other) on 26th between 5th and 6th where you can eat a great meal for $5.50.

The question remaining here is with all the assembled talent in this thread, does anyone have the time or wherewithal to create a grass-roots citysearch that's appealing than Chowhound or craigslist?

Wish I could say I had the time or skills required, but ... well, I just don't. Seems like a worthy project though...

AfsheenFeb 18, 2003 at 12:02AM

Rudy's! Of course. Oh, the countless hot dogs I had there... *sigh* I miss NY.

CathyFeb 19, 2003 at 7:07PM

for delicious + cheap as you can get... an order of fried dumplings and a wonton soup will cost you about $2 at Fried Dumpling on Allen and Delancy - AND they will be the best dumplings you've ever eaten - now that's hard to beat!

for a good deal in area that doesn't offer many... not too authentic, but tasty and cheap is the Pasta Break on 42nd Street (across from the McDonalds with the mini donuts) serves up fresh farfalla pasta with Tomato Basil sauce and a big piece of warm rosemary foccacia for $3.99!

drat finkFeb 20, 2003 at 5:33AM

i can see that dumpling place out my window and while i think they are nicer, i think the dumpling at 118a eldridge st. are better and still only $1.

but i would also recommend aka cafe and alias on clinton st. and the fact that i am part owner has absolutely nothing to do with it.

AlexandraApr 09, 2003 at 11:26PM

Flor De Mayo.

Spanish- Cuban/ Chinese. AMAZING FOOD AT AMAZING PRICES. Broadway, btwn 100 & 101.

They recently renovated the inside, but no reflection on the prices. Lines out the door on weekends, though. Try the peruvian chicken...You won't be sorry!

christoffMay 06, 2003 at 7:37PM

i have to 3rd the punjabi market on 1st and ave A
there also is a new place that opened up nextdoor.

Pho Bang on chinatown sq. anf also on elezibeth 2 blocks north of canal st.

ps, there are no real cali style burritos in NYC, but if you go to 106 and 2nd ther are some cheap taco shop that have real tiajuana style tacos.
ther is also a bodega on 96 and lex NE 3 doors down from the corner that has good tamales for 1.50 a pop; it says " comidas mexicanas" on the door and has a hand writen menue on a peice of cardboard. try the tortas

christoffMay 06, 2003 at 7:49PM

oh, and i forgot Wuri Jip on 32 in korea town, they have prepacked or selfserve for $5 a pound with 20some odd choices
and you can get a bottle of Soju (korean rive vodka) to boot

louiseMay 15, 2003 at 2:46PM

Rice and beans, breakfast burritos, soft or hard tacos.. cheap and good. Not a chain, owned by Mexicans. Discounts for students
The Big Enchilada
160 E. 28th St.
hours: Sun-Thurs: 11:30AM-11PM
Fri & Sat: 11:30AM-midnight

Rochelle SiegelJun 23, 2003 at 7:33AM

On a 'shoestring budget,' bringing my young 'whippersnapper' boyfriend to N.Y. (at 38 he has never taken a big bite out of the Big Apple. Unbelievable huh? Anyway we will be arriving 24 June thru 27th from Charleston, S.C. (where in the old city historical drunks reside) I am so elated that I 'clicked' into "Cheap Eats," the suggestions were/are MOST helpful. We will be on west 55th, but i know my way around and will surely 'do' Chinatown with him. In the mid-60's (yeah I am like "much older" than my man 24 years ie, anyways I always loved and hope the same owners still run the restaurant, (yeah right!) @ #9 Mott St. As I recall, It was quite reasonable for all the food served us. Six yesrs ago I discovered a fantastic salad bar as long as "Long Island," okay not as quite as, it was on 50th and Madison, I pray it is STILL there....whatta 'bag-gon!' Thanks to each and every one of you for posting, Luther and I will check most of them out!

BenJul 06, 2003 at 7:41PM

I recommend Big Nick's Pizza and Burger Joint located on the corner of 71st street and Columbus Ave. Large portions at small prices. The Gyro platter is one of my favorite choices on the menu, salad, fries, and a large portion of Gyro meat/pita for under eight dollars. This place is a must for all poor collage kids like me- though I recommend it for everyone who has a tight wallet.

GabeAug 10, 2003 at 9:21PM

I've compiled a list of the most popular eateries listed in this thread, in case anyone wants a quick reference.

- Gabe

LobieSep 07, 2003 at 5:47PM

Dear All,

I had a great breakfast about two years ago while in NYC somewhere around 55th and 7th Ave. As this was my first time in town, I totally lost track of where I was and all. It was an establishment owned by three older african american men and had been in the same spot for 50 years or so. The food was wonderful and amazingly cheap. (When I got the check I asked if there had been an error as the total for 2 full breakfasts was $6.00.)

I am returning to NYC this week and would love to find this place again. It had a great vibe. Does anyone have a guess at where it is and what it's called?

DerekOct 10, 2003 at 1:45PM

Crif Dogs on St. Marks and Ave. A - my savior, my muse, my only friend.

great hot dogs (yes, they have the non-flesh kind also), great chili-cheese fries, cold beer, skateboarding videos on the flat screens, and a Centipede/Millipede/Missile Command combo arcade game.

what's good for the Thin-Walleted Beau or Dame? two dogs and a cold can of Budweiser for $5.50.

SusanMar 07, 2004 at 10:12PM

I have to reiterate the earlier comment about Robert Sietsema. I have followed that man's advice for years and never gone wrong. I even hiked a long way up a hill in Staten Island (!) to go to his #1 Cheap Asian place, and it was so worth it words can not describe. He has three top 100 lists now: variety, Asian, and Latin. My goal is to one day go to all of them. I love Robert Sietsema.

IainMar 08, 2004 at 8:51AM

This is probably a good a place as any to mention eGullet. Earlier in the thread, someone called for a more modern version of chowhound. Someone else claimed that new software was on the way. Over a year later, it looks like new software is still on the way (but not here yet) and chowhound is still as slow and unwieldy as ever. eGullet has a different focus, but they do often cover cheap eats. As a matter of fact, here's a current thread discussing the Best "non-fancy" restaurants in NY.

alexMar 08, 2004 at 10:39AM

Pizza Mercato - Waverly and Mercer
2 plain slices + 1 small soda = $2

melvinMar 08, 2004 at 1:24PM

for peops in the bryant park area, i just found this great little soup shop that i don't remember the name of but its right on 41st, between broadway and 6th ave, south side of the street.

great crappy weather spot.

timMar 08, 2004 at 3:29PM

There's a bar on the south side of Houston (tween Mulberry and Mott) called Botanica. It's a total dive, with cheap cheap drinks. PBRs cost $2, mixed drinks and other beers run about $4 (stay simple -- this isn't Pravda).

BenMar 08, 2004 at 6:54PM

Village Idiot - 14th & 9th, NE corner
$1 PBRs, 6$ PBR Pitchers

FREE Peanuts

Gorgeous, southern bartenders

Only drawback - country music on the jukebox... but you get used to it.

EssrogMar 09, 2004 at 9:11AM

(Another drawback about the Village Idiot is that it smells like old socks! Something you didn't notice when you were still allowed to smoke in bars ...)

Best Andrew's diner: W34th St next to movie theater. This is a block above the post office. The food is good diner quality, good diner prices but it's the ambience that feel great. High ceilings and loads of booths. Lunch with an office pal is great, 5:30 am breakfast is a Nighthawks scene.

This thread is closed to new comments. Thanks to everyone who responded.