Cheap & Good Eats: Top 5 Budget Lunch Spots in Greenway/Upper Kirby

The barbecue pork belly at our #5 spot is one of our favorites.
The barbecue pork belly at our #5 spot is one of our favorites.
Photo by Troy Fields

We've been rounding up our favorite budget lunch spots in different neighborhoods around town. So far, we've covered Montrose, River Oaks, and Midtown.

Today we're diving into Greenway/Upper Kirby's restaurant-packed 'hood.

Here's our list of the best cheap (under $10) lunch spots that this area has to offer:

Note: For the purposes of this piece, Greenway/Upper Kirby is defined as west of Shepherd, east of Weslayan, north of Bissonnet and south of Westheimer.

Honorable Mention: Old-time favorite House of Pies, which serves up classic diner food at classic diner prices; and Pondicheri, where they serve a number of under-$10 Indian-fusion curries and stuffed rotis as well as daily breakfast until 3:00 p.m.

5. Fat Bao

A few of Fat Bao's takes on the classic puffy steamed buns may have been misses, but they've definitely hit more than a few out of the park. And with a $9.25 lunch special (available weekdays from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.) that includes any two bao, a side, and a fountain drink, we certainly think they are worth a taste. Tried and true favorites are the Crab Daddy (as confirmed by our very own Kaitlin Steinberg), stuffed with fried soft shell crab topped with spicy mayo and ginger-spiked Asian slaw; and the Memphis Bao ($3.50), stuffed with a braised, barbecue pork belly that melts at first bite, fresh scallions, and a creamy slaw that brings the rich pork some needed tang. As for the included sides, you can't go wrong with the refreshing ginger miso salad, fresh-cut, lightly sea-salted chips, or the incredibly thin and crisp fries. You'll want a side of the housemade kimchi mayonnaise for those as well; trust us.

Our No. 4 spot offers a healthy turkey bolognese in a snap.
Our No. 4 spot offers a healthy turkey bolognese in a snap.
Photo by Christina Uticone

4. Snap Kitchen

If you're looking for something easy on the waistline, Snap Kitchen is the way to go. And lucky for us, the Kirby location of this health-conscious take-away joint is one of Snap Kitchen's flagship stores, meaning in addition to prepackaged (but daily made) lunches, juices, and snacks, this location offers handcrafted salads ($6.25) from their in-store kitchen. The meals are catered to a number of different diets, from vegan and vegetarian to paleo and gluten-free, and are each available in small, medium, and large portions. We love the Chicken Tikka Masala ($7.25 for a small), with cauliflower, tomatoes, and peas served over brown rice; and the Spaghetti and Turkey "Bolognese" ($5.50 for a small), a meaty marinara served over brown rice spaghetti. Stop in for cold salads or pick up your food to go. Whatever you do, be prepared to eat well and feel good.

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