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Cheap eats


Where do you eat when your wallet says stop and your belly says go?

Angela Botzer February 5th, 2014

It’s February, and so far, you’re keeping up with your New Year’s resolutions to save money when dining out. But where can you go for $5 or less? Tax and tip not included, here are twenty gems to check out right now.

Stop in at Grand House Asian Bistro, 2701 North Classen Blvd., for its sumptuous lunch special. This delightful Chinese bistro offers a variety of combos, including sweet and sour chicken, vegetable lo mein, fried rice and an egg roll. All this for $5 is a good deal indeed.

Walk in to the brand-new Sheesh Mahal, 4621 N.

May Ave., and you will be met with wonderful, dizzyingly intoxicating aromas from the kitchen. This restaurant offers authentic halal Pakistani and Indian cuisine. For $5, the chicken curry with traditional naan flatbread is a great choice to enjoy in this cheerful new restaurant.

Republic Gastropub, 5830 N. Classen Blvd., is a must-visit for its elbow mac and cheese with bacon and andouille sausage.

“This mac and cheese is so flavorful and filling. If it were served in New York City, it would cost twice as much,” said a customer during a recent visit from the Big Apple.

While completing your international grocery shopping at Super Cao Nguyen Market, 2668 N. Military Ave., check out its restaurant area, inside the entrance on the right. Order a grilled pork Vietnamese bánh mì sandwich at a very affordable $2.40. With bonus change left over, you can afford a bánh bao — a heavenly steamed bun filled with pork, onions, eggs and vegetables, a steal at $1.50 — for later. Or instead, you can buy a bánh tét, a sticky rice cake with a melt- in-your-mouth pork center, artistically wrapped in banana leaves, also $1.50. >>>

Pictured at right:

1. Chicken gyro at Basil Mediterranean Café.

2. Cheese pizza with olives at Stars & Stripes Pizza.

3. The Ripper Dog from Pops.

4. Light Lunch No. 6 at Grand House Asian Bistro.

5. Razzmatazz sandwich at City Bites.

6. Peanut butter banana and honey sandwich from The Red Cup.

7. A pulled pork sandwich at Super Cao Nguyen Market.

8. House salad with Mandarin oranges at Picasso Cafe. — Photos by Mark Hancock and Shannon Cornman.

The Red Cup, 3122 N. Classen Blvd., has a sandwich that reminds you of home. Its crunchy peanut butter, banana and honey sandwich is just like Mom made and is very filling for just under $5. Enjoy this comfort sandwich inside the cozy restaurant or, if the weather is nice, on its outdoor patio.

Drive along West Highway 66 in Arcadia and you will experience a “What the heck is that?” moment as a 66-foot soda bottle sculpture looms into view. You’re at Pops, 660 W. Route 66. This whimsical diner and soda shop offers more than 600 bottles of pop. If you go at night, you’ll see an impressive light show as the outdoor bottle sculpture lights the horizon. The Ripper hot dog is what’s for dinner. It’s a one-quarter pound hot dog with sauerkraut, cheddar, jalapeños and a mustard chow chow.

“The mustard chow chow is a tasty relish with a mustard base, placed first on the hot dog bun, then everything else goes on top,” said Jesse Stuman, restaurant manager.

The fatoosh salad at Ol’ Gyro, 3513 N. Classen Blvd., is a meal unto itself.

“This is a traditional Middle Eastern salad, and every country has their own spin on it,” said Salim Atiyeh, restaurant manager. The spin here is fantastic with chopped romaine lettuce, toasted pita bread, onion, parsley, cucumbers, tomatoes and mint topped with a lemon-pomegranate dressing.

Nebu, 333 W. Sheridan Ave., is open to the public and is located in the beautiful Devon Tower lobby area. The avocado roll is a bargain at $5 and is handmade by an on-site sushi chef. This Asian summer roll combines sliced avocado, cilantro, lettuce, carrots and vermicelli rice noodles in a rice paper wrapper and is served with a spicy dipping sauce.

Aravalli (next to Nebu, in the Devon Tower), 333 W. Sheridan Ave., is a relatively new, sweet coffee shop and cafe. Beside beautiful pastries and, of course, coffee, what’s yummy here is its deepdish broccoli cheddar quiche. This rich, generous slice is filling and will keep you energized through the day.

If you’re up for a short road trip, drive to union tacos, 204 E. Oklahoma Ave. in Guthrie. This brand-new, upscale restaurant is a welcome addition in the antique-shop district with its nouveau Latin American cuisine. Order the fragrant, filling tortilla soup with oven-roasted chicken, lime, crispy tortilla chips and a lovely Mexican cotija cheese.

The Garage, 307 E. Main St. in Norman, has on its menu the everpopular CBELT sandwich with cheese, bacon, egg, lettuce and tomato between thick Texas toast. If you have a few quarters in your pocket, play the bright pinball machines in the back of the restaurant while you wait. The Garage has a fun atmosphere.

When the baking begins at 3 a.m., you know that fresh bagels are in order at Old School Bagel, 10946 N. May Ave. What’s affordable here is the Little Turkey bagel sandwich with turkey, provolone cheese, lettuce and tomato. Or you can get a bagel with a variety of flavored cream cheeses including bacon, chive and onion or cinnamon walnut raisin.

If you’re in the mood for legendary burgers, Irma’s Burger Shack, 1035 NW 63rd St., has them. The famous Irma Burger is a scrumptious five-ounce burger with all of the trimmings: lettuce, tomato, pickle and onions. The all-natural beef is exclusively provided to Irma’s by the NoName Ranch located in Wynnewood. Now that’s farm-to-table.

City Bites, 2220 N. Classen Blvd., is a beloved home-grown restaurant chain that has won its way into our hearts. What should you order when you are at one of its many locations? The Razzmatazz, a 6-inch sub with hickorysmoked turkey, cream cheese, cucumbers, alfalfa sprouts, lettuce, tomatoes and a raspberry vinaigrette. Get this sandwich for takeout back to work and you will be the envy of everyone at your office.

When you have a craving for Mediterranean, try Basil Mediterranean Café, 211 NW 23rd St. Located in the historic Uptown district, Basil offers a classic chicken gyro with marinated chicken and traditional garnishes and sauces wrapped in pita bread.

Someplace Else, a Deli & Bakery, 2310 N. Western Ave., is delightfully oldschool and a very popular lunch stop.

Try the Polish sausage sandwich with sauerkraut and mustard. Biting into it quickly takes you back to the Old World, all while on your lunch break.

Where can you get a whole medium pizza with one topping for less than $5.00? At Stars & Stripes Pizza, 2805 NW 122 St. My favorite is olives. Or you can order a small specialty pizza, including Hawaiian, spinach Alfredo or chicken bacon, each for $4.99.

There are a lot of tacos to choose from at Big Truck Tacos, 530 NW 23rd St., but let’s go straight to my favorite, The Wojo. The Wojo taco includes sautéed vegetables, white bean dip and queso fresco, a soft creamy cheese. At $2.85, you have enough left over for an order of chips and tangy salsa to round off your meal.

I’ve always admired the retro, space-age architecture that makes Neptune Submarine Sandwiches, 3301 N. Classen Blvd., a unique landmark. To go along with the bold architecture outside is a bold submarine sandwich inside, namely The Torpedo. The half-size sandwich is more than substantial with ham, Italian cheese, shaved roast beef and sliced turkey. It’s served with mayonnaise, lettuce, tomatoes and Neptune’s special dressing. It’s an entire delicatessen within one little sandwich.

While strolling in the Paseo Arts District, stop in at charming Picasso Café, 3009 Paseo St. Here, you will want to order the Picasso house salad with lettuce, mandarin oranges, almonds, blue cheese and a sweet onion vinaigrette, a salad enough for a meal. Or try a cup of lobster bisque with brandy cream and Madeira tomatoes.

 
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