$7 at Pat and Joe’s Bellaire Broiler Burger

Where

: Pat and Joe’s Bellaire Broiler Burger, 5216 Bellaire Blvd., 713-668-8171

What $7 gets you: A great meal for pocket change.

I opted for the #3, a flame-broiled hamburger with mustard, onion, pickles, lettuce and tomatoes ($3.80). Add a side of crinkly cut fries ($2) and a small soda ($.80) for a total of $6.60.

Recommended: Yes. The “flame-broiled” tag is true. From our seats in the dining room, we could see the flames shooting in the air every time a patty was added to the grill. (It was sort of like a poor man’s light show.) It makes for a down-home, clean taste.

True, it’s not the meat monster that those three quarter-pound burgers are at other places, but if you’re looking for a meal and not a food challenge, the Bellaire Broiler Burgers are plenty big.

The fries are crinkle-cut and crisp, without being greasy. Ditto for the onion rings (although the crust on the rings was a little too polite for our taste).

And the prices are 1950’s crazy – a soda for $.80? A cup of chili and crackers for $3.30? A deluxe burger with chili, cheese and onions is just $4.20, while the half-pounder is $5.15.

Bonus point: The place has an open kitchen just behind the counter where you order, so you can play health inspector while you look over the menu. The four-person team that was working when we visited never stopped cleaning and everything was sparkle shiny. — Olivia Flores Alvarez

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