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Oct 14, 2009 09:31 PM

cheap eats in downtown Ann Arbor

Any suggestions? I've been slacking on bringing my lunch. I'd like to find some good grub for under $5. I've checked out Blimpy Burger, BTB burritos, the falafel places, Jamaican Jerk Pit, Le Dog, and that vegan buffet. Except for Blimpy, I'd like to move on.

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  1. Uneven, and service can be flaky even for takeout, but you can often get excellent pizza slices, mostly but not exclusively veg, at Silvio's on North University. They used to have a lunch special for $5 or $5.50 with pizza and soup, and many of the soups are pretty good too. No guarantees--it's just that kind of place. Could also get a couple of slices for $5.50 at Pizza Pino on Liberty at the other side of downtown. Malaysian Curry at Eastern Accents is $5.50 and good, and their Asian-style buns are $1-$3. Could probably get several tacos or tostadas at Sabor Latino on Main for under $5. That place had a rough start after the ownership change, but I went in last week and had a great dinner--I think they're getting it together.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Jim M

      When did Sabor Latino change ownership? I vowed never to go back, but if there's a new owner, I might reconsider.

      1. re: crw77

        It was about two or three months ago. Menu has been pretty much overhauled, and there are lots of new dishes, most of them Mexican. The owner is Mexican-born. Pos. review on (although I don't think much of their food critic):

        Anyway, I'm ready to go again.

    2. Aside from the places you've mentioned, here were some of my standards when I worked downtown:

      Twiggim (Korean vegetable tempura) at Kosmo's Deli in Kerrytown is excellent, and is under $5.

      Sottini's subs on 4th between Washington and Liberty can get you out the door for $4 for an 8-inch sub. Try the Wolverine. Their cold cuts are very fresh. They always have a line at lunch, which is a good sign.

      Wonton soup and an eggroll from Middle Kingdom is around $5.

      Newly repoened Red Hot Loves on East U (I think it's renamed Ray's Red Hots?) can get you a chi-dog for under $5.

      Did you know you can eat at Zingerman's for around $5-6? Get a potato knish and matzo ball soup.

      4 Replies
      1. re: charlesbois

        Oh, yeah, Kosmo's! If you don't mind eating with a bunch of high school students, their burgers are good too, and well under $5. You can put kim chi on them. Right across, Monahan's Seafood has chowder of the day for $4.95. Sandwiches at Taste Our Goods in Kerrytown are above $5 but very good.

        1. re: Jim M

          My favorite Kosmo's item is their hot and sour soup! It's the best I have ever tasted. I pestered Don there for his recipe, and he told me the's my attempt at it that's fairly close:

        2. re: charlesbois

          Red Hots re-opened --great! Still Vienna beef products? New owners? Dish details.

          1. re: berkleybabe

            Yes, you can certainly dine for $5 at this place. It is now called Ray's Red Hots, with new owners connected to the former longtime manager. They have switched from Vienna Beef dogs to Red Hot Chicago. I haven't been yet (I get only an occasional hankering for tube steaks), but the reviews and buzz have said that it's largely unchanged.

        3. I just had a great breakfast sandwich made my the two gals that run the new tiny grill at Sparrow meat market. I'd definitely try them for lunch and it was a great food. It might not be under $5, but it's close to $5

          1. on N.University
            get 2 rolls , I like avocado and the picked daikon roll.
            it comes w/ salad, soup & tea

            it will be under $5.00 before tip.

            also Bibimbop places are good & cheap
            I like Kangs on South U

            2 Replies
              1. re: momskitchen

                I like them all. University Cafe does a good stone pot bi bim bop that's still hot 45 minutes after you order it. I've talked to U-M students who've moved to the big East Coast cities after graduating, and they miss these Korean places once they're there.

                Entrees are more than $5, but you get a lot of food.

            1. some cheap place ideas- Have you tried Frank's on Maynard (old style diner type food & really bad coffee) have not eaten there in some time but it's pretty cheap & has an interesting atmosphere ,
              or Momo tea (Taiwanese snacks) on S. University has some cheap tasty food
              you can get tea eggs or some simple sandwiches -fried egg , ham & cucumber toasted sandwich for $2.95 -

              White Market is also popular for really cheap sandwiches (I've never tried) & salad bar

              Also the sandwich place is now open in the new Zaragon Apt complex on East U, they have sandwiches on Zingerman bread & some other things, rice bowls,salads- i think it's owned by the late Zanibar folks. (what a lot of Zs!)