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Cheap Eats, Rhode Island

What is your favorite place to get an inexpensive meal, in or around Providence? I'm thinking pub grub kind of place. Definitely need a sit-down restaurant with drinks.

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  1. My favorite Providence cheap eat that fits the bill is McCormick and Schmick's happy hour menu. The most amazing part is the $1.95 half-pound cheeseburger with fries and a pickle! The special is only good if you sit in the bar area (which includes tables and booths) and have a couple of drinks.

    I wrote a bit about it here: http://stephaniedoes.com/2007/happy-h...

    Another one that comes to mind is a sandwich at Cuban Revolution...

    1 Reply
    1. re: cajuntoast

      I've never been to the orig but the new one down on Valley is really good - I've eaten there twice, both times under $10. Good cocktails too.

      Edited to say, I'm referring to Cuban Revolution.

    2. I can't really speak to cheap (because I'm rarely aiming specifically for low prices in my destinations as a driving force), but my favorite drink and grub places are:
      - East Ave Cafe Pawtucket
      - Trinity Brewhouse downtown
      - Jake's in the Jewelry District
      - Ivy Tavern on the East Side

      For just excellent food that's dirt cheap (no drinks), that's Taqueria Lupita in Central Falls on Dexter Street.

      - Garris

      2 Replies
      1. re: Garris

        These are all my favorites, too. I wonder how often we've shared bar space in our fair city? :)

        I'd toss the Fez into the mix, if for nothing other than the delicious grilled cheese. They made a serviceable cocktail there. The gimlets come in a cocktail glass the size of my head, to boot...

        1. re: Garris

          Just had lunch @ East Ave Cafe. Fish & Chips, strong ale(Arrogant Bastard), service, all super. How crowded does this place get before PawSox games?

          1. How about the Red Fez? Definitely a divey atmosphere (I took the BF's mother here for dinner on my first trip), but the food is good.

            1 Reply
            1. re: thinks too much

              red vez is good but i dont think its cheap.actually i felt it was pretty expensive,but whatever.for cheap and good id say lili marlenes on atwells,or maybe jillians (though not really cheap again)or the red stripe.

            2. Uh, Wrights Farm! The best $10.25 I can spend...LJ"s bbq has a new $15 dinner special and Taqueria Pacificia is always on point...Oh, and Chilango's - a guava margarita and "chilango's style burrito" always does the trick for a mere $12.

              13 Replies
              1. re: HungryHipster

                Is Chilango's dinner only? I attempted to try it for lunch today and it was closed! No sign on door for hours.

                But based on board recs I ended up at Rasoi and couldn't have been happier.

                1. re: JaneRI

                  Chilangos is closed on Wednesdays. Open every other day for lunch and dinner.

                  1. re: basachs


                    I have GOT to get back on track, packing a lunch - been going out every day. I just had the BEST burger and fries at Icon on Valley St today. The fries are amazing.

                    1. re: JaneRI

                      Chilango's is my favorite. It is the only Mexican I have ever had in the US that could compete with the showstoppers from my months roaming Mexico... YUM! I need to get there more often. The pambazo is fantastic... ¡riquísimo! (I have been to Chilangos with those more accustomed to US-style Mexican, and they were surprised, even taken aback by the flavors).

                      CH turned me on to La Arepa in Pawtucket. This is NOT fancy, but you can sit down and eat a lot of great food without shelling out a lot of money... no alcohol, but they do have jugos and Colombian sodas, which is very cool, and the food is fantastic! We take arepas to go and load up on pastries from the little place just down the block. Mmm-mmm!

                      1. re: foxy fairy

                        OMG. I went at lunch today. Blows Mexico Garibaldi away. I had 2 tamales (chicken mole, chicken in red sauce) and a taco - bisteck, onions and cilantro. WOW. All that and a can of soda for $6.21 incl tax!

                        1. re: JaneRI

                          just tried la casa del pueblo on another chow rec - great mex on broad in CF. killer tacos - grilled steak, goat (less than $2 ea). friend had some tostadas & the flan. all great.

                        2. re: foxy fairy

                          Try el rancho grande if you are a picky Mexican eater. You won't be disappointed.

                            1. re: foxy fairy

                              La Arepa just got its beer and wine license yesterday (5/21/09).

                              1. re: Hydromel

                                Good for La Arepa! I like that place so much. I would like to eat there again. Yum! Now that La Casa del Pueblo is closed, where are people going? I might try Taqueria Lupita in CF. I do always like Chilangos, but I am looking for something more along the lines of La Casa del Pueblo.

                                Where is El Hidalguense???

                        3. re: JaneRI

                          It's always closed. I can't tell you how many times I've tried to go there and had to go find somewhere else because there was a sign on the door. One of the reasons I finally stopped going there. ::annoyed::

                      2. where is Chilango's I've been dying to try some new mexican place, love mexican food, but hate Don Jose, and that one on Hope street.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: jenluxy

                          On Manton, where Atwells meets it. I think I'm heading there for lunch today.

                          1. re: jenluxy

                            I just posted this below, but figured I would reply here, too... also check out el Rancho Grande. I left Chilango's for it. Only thing is, no margaritas. I complained and was told that they will have them by summer 2008 - I hope so! But everything else I like better.

                            1. re: Mrrrl4real

                              We went to el Rancho Grande for the first time last night. Fantastic! The place was packed, several tables of 8+, and the service was still great. I had the Poblano Mole, and it was wonderful, very spicy. We got a pitcher of sangria & a few extra drinks on top of it, and even so our party of 9 left paying under $100 total, including tip. The best part for us: kid friendly! We'll definitely be back.

                              1. re: dagwood

                                I have also started going to el Rancho Grande, and it really is terrific. The gordita de rajas poblano was very good and unusual--strips of roasted poblano in a crema-cheese sauce on a thick handmade tortilla. Yum. Other standouts were a chopped salad of pickled cactus, tomatoes, cheese cilantro, the mole, the enormous tamale with chicken and plum... pretty much everything. It's also pretty nice inside, no hole in the wall taqueria (not that I don't love those, just saying). They are definitely going to be successful.

                                1. re: celeriac

                                  I have never tried a salad featuring nopal/cactus. Now my mouth is watering. I'm out of town, but I think if I were in RI I would be bouncing right over there... it is funny that I'm one year plus late in catching these reports of El Rancho Grande and I can't wait to get there... I am guessing that the cheese was queso fresco, another favorite. Yes, I am so into the hole in the wall taqueria but the pretty atmosphere is compelling too. The mood, the mosaic tables, and the Virgen de Guadelupe overlooking the restaurant all contributed to my fondness for Chilangos.

                          2. A big bowl of pho with beef at Pho Paradise on Broad Street in Providence... ooohhh, I want some right now! It's incredibly good and filling. Awesome on a cold day.

                            Also, 2 tacos for 2 dollars on Tuesday nights at el Rancho Grande in Providence. It's my second obsession.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Mrrrl4real

                              Always heard raves about Chilango's, but when we went the first time, not impressed. Second time, it seemed that they changed their menus and got rid of the antojitos and only had plato fuertes.

                              Tried El Rancho Grande, and liked it! Although, hubby's complaint about the Mexican restaurants continues...no spicy salsa, so he ended up eating his pancita rather morosely.

                              And every time we go to El Hidalguense (although one of the owners says they may change the name to Los Tres Amigos...jajaja), the food is yummy and plentiful.

                              Same gripe with the salsa of course.

                            2. My favorite cheap eat is a veggie Hudson St. Market sandwich. A small is basically two meals for $5 and they're absolutely delicious. That bread...

                              Not a sit-down place, though.

                              8 Replies
                              1. re: invinotheresverde

                                Can you tell me more about Hudson Street Market?

                                I never heard about that one! I love little markets that make sandwiches... my favorite in Oakland was Genova Deli -- same idea. Wow I miss that place and I've been searching for something on the idea in RI.

                                1. re: foxy fairy

                                  Hudson street market makes thier sandwiches out of a whole loaf of Italian bread...

                                  1. re: Sean

                                    OMG Sean.... you are teasing me. I am out of town and can't get there now. But I can't wait! I've been searching for ***the*** sandwich shop since I moved back to RI. Sandwich Hut is okay but basically a typical grinder in a cool retro we've-been-here-forever atmosphere. I taught a class there during the blizzard last winter b/c I could walk there from my house. But I wasn't overwhelmed with wow-ness for the sandwiches.

                                    What are people's favorite sandwiches/goodies at Hudson Street Market???

                                    1. re: foxy fairy

                                      Anything with their homemade marinated olive salad on top.

                                      1. re: foxy fairy

                                        the hudson street market has closed, but is still selling sandwiches out of Jerkys on Richmond Street downtown. I haven't been to the new location yet. here's more information copied from another local forum:


                                        The Hudson Street Market is closing as of February 20th.
                                        Or rather it is moving location.

                                        Someone bought the 68 Hudson Street building and one of their conditions for the business to stay there is double the rent (literally, not a figure of speech). It was rough to make ends meet in there as it was, 2X the rent isn't even considerable. It has been decided that HSM has to go by the closing of the buildings purchase (Feb 20th).

                                        But you'll still be able to get sandwiches the size of a coffee table, youll just have to go downtown...

                                        HSM will be doing our regular lunch business downtown at 71 Richmond street (thats inside Jerkys. Like a taqueria/as220 kind of set up). This opens on March 1st! We will be doing sandwiches from 11-6 (or so) before Jerkys becomes the club/bar that you all know.

                                        Same chips and drinks too, but now there will be eat-in tables, HOT sandwiches, new prepared sides and the bar will be open for drinks. Get an IPA with your Vegetarian w/ extra avocado. Or a glass of Petit verdot with your Italian grinder no pickles, or a $1.50 PBR with whatever the hell it is you order.

                                        Come on by and support a local business in a transition. Same staff, same ingredients, same bread, even the same 1957 slicer, and of course the same west end attitude, just brought over the highway. We do lose the charm of being and out of the way small neighborhood place, but with the menus new additions and the old standards i hope that folks stay loyal patrons and still come out and grab lunch with us.

                                        Or course until the move happens feel encouraged to come down to 68 Hudson and grab some grud, play some pinball, tell a joke, make fun of the music we have on...whatever.

                                        1. re: pork_chop

                                          Awwww. I loved their old spot (possibly because I lived two buildings away). Sad to hear they left. Good luck to HSM in their newish endeavor!

                                    2. re: foxy fairy

                                      my favorite sandwiches right now are at George's Deli on Ives Street in Providence. They use french bread from LaSalle Bakery. The italian deluxe is delicious and huge and under $5. They also have rotating hot sandwich specials. breakfast there is also good and very very reasonable.

                                      1. re: pork_chop

                                        Thanks for the tip on George's!~ Right in my neighborhood and I didn't even know about it... can't wait to check it out. On my way to the NEW Hudson Deli location right now! yum!

                                  2. Pub grub, sit down with drinks indicates Doherty's East Ave. Irish Pub, formerly known as the East Avenue Cafe (http://www.dohertyseastave.com/), They used to have a pig roast, but not anymore. It's a par 5 from Interstate 95 in Pawtucket, and easily accessible from Providence's East Side. My "philosophy" club has been meeting there monthly for over five years and I would have to say that their current selections of draft and bottled beers is the best it's been in that span.

                                    1. We were traveling through Providence today and had lunch at the Cuban Revolution on Aborn Street. The Cuban sandwiches were 7.25 and were delicious and very filling, they came with a black bean/corn relish. The waiter was friendly and very helpful, it was a very nice lunch experience that I would recommend to anybody who would like this sort of food. They have Mojitos and all sorts of drinks there as well.

                                      1. Just happened upon "The Burger Shack" at URI, Frikkin AWESOME...

                                        1. Resurrecting this thread for a worthy addition…

                                          Tried out Dakar restaurant in CF last Friday night. Being new to Senegalese food we weren’t quite sure what to order, but our waiter pointed us in the right direction. After hearing one lamb dish (Dibbi) described as a man’s meal, my husband made his decision. I finally settled on Chebujenn, a fish and rice dish. Our food came out quickly and portions were generous. My husband enjoyed his lamb, but the fish and rice dish was a standout. The spicy rice was subtly flavored with the fish and accompanying vegetables. The vegetables, which included carrots, cabbage, and yucca, also really adsorbed the flavors of the dish. I believe the fish was striped bass, but I neglected to ask whether it changes. I also tried the ginger juice, which was well worth the $3 if you’re a ginger fan.

                                          I believe the most expensive entrees were $10 and the apps were around $5.

                                          1. Just ate in The Village 220 Main Street in Pawtucket. Great West African food - this is the real thing though they will make it just hot enough to suit your taste. The owner will be happy to suggest a meal - just try it and plan to go back and try something else.

                                            1. Good food and cheap. The Beef Barn.