BiteClub, Cheap Eats

The $5 Lunch

Time to tighten the money belt and suss out lunches with a slimmer economic profile. But hey, let's not get crazy. They've still got to taste, well, reasonably good.

Brown bagging has never been my thing. Even in desperate times, it feel a bit kindergarten sitting in the lunchroom with a brown banana and leftovers.

as gas prices skyrocket, grocery bills soar and my paycheck seems to
shrink ever smaller, I’m beginning to eye the old lunch box with a
little more tenderness. Fingering through a week’s worth of food
receipts, it’s shocking to realize that $8 to $12 lunches are pretty
much the norm, and sushi splurges of $20 and up less than infrequent.

Time to tighten the money belt and suss out lunches with a slimmer economic profile. But hey, let’s not get crazy. They’ve still got to taste, well, reasonably good.

Here’s my list — along with a little help from my friends — of solid $5* and under meals
around the region. But hey, everybody’s got their fave. So add them
already and help save your fellow BiteClubbers a little cheddar.

Asian that’s fast, hot and oh so cheap

Lee’s Noodle House: Bahn mi (Vietnamese sandwiches) filled with beef, veggies and a few mysteries (of the pleasant sort).

Simply Vietnam:
pork spring rolls filled with noodles, lettuce, mint and pork come in
threes and are enough for a light lunch ($4.25). 966 North Dutton,
Santa Rosa, 707.566.8910.

Go Go Wok: Typical Asian fare,
but made to order rather than sitting on a steam table for hours on
end. Lunch specials are massive and easily feed two, so take a friend.
791 Marlow Rd # 4, Santa Rosa, (707) 575-8868

Ohana Hawaiian BBQ:
If you can’t splurge for the Kalua pork plate lunch ($6.50), you can
get a bowl of BBQ chick or grilled Spam Saimin (noodles) for $3.75.
2150 Santa Rosa Ave., Santa Rosa, 571.8882.

Mexican that makes your wallet say, Ole
Pupuseria Salvadorena:
Crispy Salvadorian corn cakes filled with cheese, beens and other
goodies are under $2 each and Yuca fries are a filling meal in
themselves for under $5.1403 Maple Ave, Santa Rosa, 544-3141

Subdjoe recommends the half pints of rice and refried beans, fruit and drink from the Latin grocer, Lola’s on Petaluma Hill Road, for under $5.

The cheese enchilada plate at Mexican-chain, Rubio’s, is $4.99 (before tax), and a favorite of Star.

Las Palmas is
a step up from the usual cheap Mexican fare, and a favorite of
BiteClub. The tacos al pastor ($1.99 each) are a best bet. Taqueria Las
Palmas, 415 Santa Rosa Ave, Santa Rosa, 707.546.3091.

Slice or weenie?
Ferrous digs the two slice and a drink deal from the Petaluma-based pizza chain Fregene’s
(160 Petaluma Boulevard North). Outposts are open in Cotati (554-B East
Cotati Avenue) and the recently-opened Sebastopol (789 Gravenstein Hwy
South) location.

Hot dogs are always a cheap eat, and Mattock recommends David’s Hot Dogs on the Windsor Green (near Powell’s) or Code 7 (177 Healdsburg Ave) in Healdsburg.

A one-piece lunch of fish and chips at Mel’s Fish & Chips comes in at $4.99. 1016 Hopper Ave., Santa Rosa, 578.1954

Big Boys Buns & Burgers in Larkfield serves up a 1/3 pound fresh-made burger for just $4.95. 406 Larkfield Shopping Center, 546-6835.

Jr.: The only chain that gets a BiteClub seal of approval for their
buns–and I don’t mean the $6 burger, either. The plain old Famous Star
with cheese is the closest thing to homemade we’ve found.

* With tax, some of these lunches top out just over $5, so bring along some of that spare change from under your sofa cushions.

Editor’s Note: Travel, dining and wine tasting can be complicated right now. Use our inspirational ideas to plan ahead for your next outing, be it this week or next year. If you visit restaurants, wineries, and other businesses during the pandemic, remember to call ahead, make reservations, wear a mask and social distance.

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3 thoughts on “The $5 Lunch

  1. I am pleased to announce that my favorite Santa Rosa Mexican Restaurant,El Favorito) has opened a second place in Sebastopol! Yesterday we each had a tasty torta-one carnitas,the other lengua(beef tongue) and good horchata-total was $9.90 and very filling. They have several fresh salsas avaiiable and those yummy pickled red onions that we have eaten with Yucatacan food.There is plenty of parking,too.Restaurant is located in a set-back on Main St.Sorry I don’t have the street #. Large menu on wall at order station.Their food always agrees with me,place is spotless and I am happy to have them closer to my W.county home!

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