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cheap eats in downtown Ann Arbor

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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 AnnArbor.com (although I don't think much of their food critic):

        http://www.annarbor.com/entertainment...

        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 ingredients...here's my attempt at it that's fairly close:

          http://motherskitchen.blogspot.com/20...

        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. Sushi.com 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: Michigan Mishuganer

              I like Kangs, too

              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.

            2. 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!)

              1. It's hard to do downtown for under 5. When I worked there 4 years ago, I was always looking for good options. I second Sottinis--great sandwiches, and if you split a big one, you have $ left over for a pop.

                I liked Le Dog a lot, but it's all about soup, not the hotdogs. And of course, people have different tastes.

                I had coworkers who would get filled buns at Asian Accents and call that lunch, but it's not enough for me.

                Crazy Wisdom has soup from Seva, usually comes with a big piece of bread and butter. The soups change, so it's a bit chancy.

                For another pizza option try NYPD on William--about a block closer to downtown than Silvios. I think you can get 2 slices for closer to $6, but they are good.

                For those who mentioned bibimbap--is anyone under $7? I love it, but it's not cheap usually.

                1. Another possibility is the People's Food Coop on 4th ave. They have a hot food bar at lunch--not sure about the price, but there is also soup and just plain groceries. I've bought a hunk of cheese and a banana for lunch there before. The lunch bar does include chicken, but everything is well labeled for vegetarians.

                  1. Soup at Monaghan's (fish market in Kerrytown). Different chowder each day.

                    Back to Eastern Accents: try the kim bop, Korean sushi.