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Favorite cheap eats in Carrboro/CH/Durham?

We have limited cash flow this summer but would like to have *some* meals out, for the fun of it. Just wondering if anyone has any suggestions for good, cheap meals here in the Carrboro/CH/Durham area. For example, at Panzanella they have pizzas that are tasty and relatively cheap compared to their other entrees. And at Med Deli you can get a big plate of food that's enough for 2 smaller meals, and pretty cheap. Are there particular items or dishes at other places that fit that bill? Thanks in advance for any suggestions!

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  1. The Sunday night taco truck, if it's still there this summer. In the parking lot near Cliff's Meat Market. Very cheap and filling!

    1. "good" and "cheap" when applied to meals is just so relative, but I'll toss out a couple ideas. I'm going to start with assuming since you're here on chowhound that I can toss out all the major chain fast food / sandwhich shops.

      Fiesta Grill - inexpensive mexican, really good
      Sals - their pizza buffet. definitely cheap and enjoyable.
      Elmos - some people like elmos. too expensive to me for what you get.
      Carrburittos or Cosmic Cantina - cheap mexican. myself I prefer cosmic of the two, but tastes differ
      Spanky's - I like their lunch.
      Oriental Garden - Tam Yam Gai or Tam Yam Goong soup
      Nantucket Deli - "soup and half sandwich". This is not a cheap eats place, but their soup and half-sandwich isn't a bad value.

      Maybe some of this doesn't count as "good eats" to you. But I personally think Med Deli is pretty sad quality-wise, so maybe some of these suggestions can help you.

      Myself when poor, I rarely eat at really "cheap" places. I just eat out a bit less and try to get better values than previously.

      1 Reply
      1. re: fussycouple

        Mrs. Wimpy will fix you a freshly ground burger for cheap. Cheap beans and soup are also available. Dessert can be had there or down the street at Locopops.

      2. Never hear anyone else here talk about it, but I think the food at Owens 501 Diner is surprisingly good. The specials are often very imaginative, especially for a diner. And the desserts are wonderful. The crabcake appetizer is one of the best crabcakes I've had in the area.

        Merlion isn't very expensive, and there are some very good dishes there.

        I'd love to hear more about the taco truck. When is it normally outside Cliffs (hours?) and do they do a bunch of different tacos?

        3 Replies
        1. re: LulusMom

          LulusMom, I wish I knew more -- I just ran into the truck (well, not literally) and found out that it's parked there Sunday nights. I believe it's open late -- perhaps midnight?

          As I recall, selections are limited to basic pork, chicken or veggie soft tacos with pico, lime, fresh onion, and maybe some guac. It was really good, so perhaps I'll go back and report more.

          Hm, OP Hungry -- I have another idea. We just got back from church, completely stuffed from a potluck dinner. That's the best value out there: bring a dish you're somewhat proud of, and in return, stuff yourself silly.

          Of course, this isn't to presume anything about anyone's religious or spiritual beliefs. Just that church food can be really, really good.

          1. re: peetoteeto

            Friday afternoons/evenings, it is parked at Johnny's Sporting Goods in Carrboro. Basic but very good stuff

            1. re: tommio

              There's also the taco truck in the Fitch Lumber lot (across from Carr Mill and Harris Teeter). Their sign says W-Sat 6-midnight.

              I like the Johnny's truck better but the Fitch truck has 1) more regular hours, or so I can tell 2) usually a few offals 3) tamales

              Being in the same boat, we usually eat cheap at home during the week then splurge on an expensivish place on the weekend.

              Cheap lunches: Sutton's Drug Store (food quality is not great but usually a good conversation), "old-school" burritos at Cosmic, Merrit's Store

        2. Vietnamese days (Saturdays and either Tuesdays or Wednesdays, I forget) at Bahn's on 9th street in Durham.

          1 Reply
          1. re: statolith

            Elmo's Diner for breakfast or comfort food
            Italian Pizzeria III on W. Franklin for great hoagies or NY style pizza
            Carrburritos for burritos

          2. I finally got around to eating at Los Comales in Durham, and it was as great as everybody says. I had three carne asada tacos for around $5.