The Portland food scene is amazing, but going out for a bite in Stumptown can really put a damper on your wallet ($12 sandwiches?! $18 pizzas?!). Whether you’re a Portland State student watching your wallet, or just a Frugalista trying to enjoy what Portland has to offer without sacrificing your savings, here are the best Portland eats on a college budget:
Tacos at Tienda Y Panaderia Santa Cruz (8630 N. Lombard)
Are you sick of paying $4.00 for street tacos at Por Que No or Taqueria Nueve? Then head to St. Johns to get your taco fix. Tucked in the back of this unassuming supermarket is the best deal in Mexican food in Portland. You can order one of every kind of taco on the menu (carne asada, pollo, pastor, chorizo, tripa, lengua, cabeza,) and still not go over $10. It’s the kind of place with a loyal following that is treasured for its lack of pretension. Well deserved, too, because delicious street tacos shouldn’t cost you and arm and a leg.
$5 Margherita Pizza at Life of Pie (3632 N. Williams Ave)
It seems like there’s a new pizzeria opening in Portland almost every week, and while delicious, piping hot pies are being made in wood-fired ovens in every quadrant, you’ll spend upwards of $18 on a single 12-inch pizza. Madness! Lucky for us, the good folks at Life of Pie in North Portland have you covered. Seven days a week from 11am-6pm, Life of Pie offers up their delicious Margherita Pizza for only $5. It is by a wide margin the best deal on pizza in town.
Happy Hour at Ringside Steakhouse (2165 W. Burnside)
Wait, Ringside? The fancy-schmancy old school steakhouse with the zillion dollar steaks? You bet! For fine dining on the cheap, check out Ringside’s Late Night Happy Hour. Beginning at 9:30 pm, you can pull up a seat and order a bacon cheeseburger for $3.95, Steak bites for $2.95, a Prime Rib French Dip sandwich for $4.95.
Their sister restaurant Ringside Fish House near Director Park has similar offerings and runs their happy hour twice each day (3:00-6:30 pm & 9:00pm-close) and 3 pm to close on Sundays.
Roadrunner Barbecue (Carts on Foster: SE 52nd & SE Foster)
Did you know there’s a food cart that sells delicious, authentic Texas-style barbecue in the heart of Southeast Portland? Not only does the smoked brisket at Roadrunner Barbecue stand up to the legendary bbq joints in Austin, Texas like Kerlin BBQ (recently named best barbecue in the country) it’s a screaming deal, too. You can get a chopped ($11.00) or sliced ($12.00) brisket plate with two sides, plenty of food for two people.
If you’re eating solo, go for the chopped brisket sandwich. For only $8.00 you’ll be stuffed stupid and walk back to your car thinking, “I didn’t realize it rained this much in Texas.”
Weeknight Specials at Kay’s Bar (6903 SE Milwaukee Ave.)
Sellwood is a unique part of Portland. Residential and quiet, and rarely explored by people living outside of this isolated Southeast Portland enclave. That’s too bad because the residents in the know are enjoying the Weeknight Specials at Kay’s Bar. For $6.00 on Tuesdays you can get two tacos and beer. The same $6.00 on a Wednesday will get you a burger and a beer. We’re not talking about some half-cocked lazy pre-made food here, either. The bar food at Kay’s is top notch.
Note: Kay’s is 21-and-over only.
So you see? There are plenty of great deals on delicious eats to be found around town. What are some of your favorite places in Portland to eat on the cheap?