$7 at Putty's Pizza

Where: Putty's Pizza, underneath One Allen Center, 500 Dallas St., 713-951-9369

What $7 gets you: A greasy slice of pizza and any item from a menu that would make any bar proud. Unfortunately, Putty's doesn't serve booze.

The lunch options in the downtown tunnels are diverse, but unless you're hungry for fast food, come armed with more than $7. You'd probably make it at Ninfa's or Murphy's Deli, but don't even think about the Post Oak Grill or Café Basil.

You can definitely come under $7 at Putty's. The Thursday special is any slice of pizza for $1.69, and even though the slice we tried was drenched in coppery grease that pooled in the pepperoni and flowed like tributaries in the cheese, it tasted great. Of course, the grease may discourage more finicky eaters.

A friend reported that the vegetable pizza was on mark, even if the crust was a little too doughy.

Thursdays also feature a Philly cheesesteak or meatball sub for $4.99. We chose the cheesesteak loaded with jalapeños, bell peppers and onions. It tasted fine to us, but since we were eating with someone who happened to grow up in Philadelphia, we had her test it out:

"It's no Amorosa roll," she said, "but this is definitely better than I thought it'd be."

Putty's also offers several daily lunch specials under $7, including three pizza slices and a medium drink ($6.99), and spaghetti with meatballs or meat sauce plus a garlic roll ($4.99). The pepperoni roll is advertised as the Great Putty Pepperoni Roll ($2.79), but we can't speak on that.

Recommended? Sure, if you're downtown looking for a cheap lunch other than Wendy's or Subway.

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