We've been rounding up our favorite budget lunch spots in different neighborhoods around town. (See the complete list at the end of the post.)
This week, we're moving just west of the Heights proper to the adjoining neighborhoods of Lazybrook and Timbergrove Manor. Here's our list of the best cheap (less than $10) lunch spots that this area has to offer:
Note: The boundaries for this list are as seen on this map.
Honorable Mention: Po-boys with chow-chow at Antone's Po-Boys.
Expect no frills at this tiny sandwich shop. But while you may not get the fanciest of lunches, you can have your pickings of classics like fresh tuna salad on rye, a ham and cheese po-boy or a pastrami sub -- all available on white, wheat, rye or French bread -- for well under $5. Sandwich combos start at just $2.77 and include chips or potato salad and a can of soda, and boxed lunches, complete with chips, a half pickle and a cookie, are just $4.50.
4. Tia Maria's
Locals are loyal to this tiny Tex-Mex joint that's been slinging cheese enchiladas, tacos and strong margaritas for more than 30 years. Standouts include more traditional Mexican fare like juicy carne guisada, grilled quail and housemade tortillas. Come in for $2 to $3 tacos or daily lunch specials -- including items like chicken enchiladas with rice and beans, tamales, chalupas and crispy beef tacos with chile con queso -- for just $5.25 to $5.50.
This story continues on the next page. 3. Thai Lanna
This cozy little Thai restaurant is a popular takeout spot, but pop in for lunch to try freshly made authentic dishes like green papaya salad ($8), Thai spring rolls ($3), or tom yom soup ($4). Traditional entrees like cashew ginger chicken, garlic beef, yellow curry and larb tofu salad will run you $9 to $10, but believe us when we say portions are generous.
2. Hughie's Tavern and Vietnamese Grill It may have opened only last year, but this Vietnamese "tavern" is already making a name for itself. For just $5, get a Texas-sized grilled pork bahn mi that is out of this world (or come with a friend and get two for $8). From 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., try an $8 combo meal with a grilled beef, chicken, pork, or tofu rice platter or vermicelli bowl complete with a soft drink.
But it's not just traditional Vietnamese here. You won't forget you're in Houston with offerings like chicken-fried steak fingers with sausage gravy ($8 for a lunch combo), shrimp po-boys ($8 for a lunch combo) or the Vietnamese-American frankensandwich, the banh mi burger ($8 with fries) -- a juicy burger topped with traditional Vietnamese fixin's and Sriracha mayo.
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1. Pappa Geno's
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If it's a meaty and gooey Philly cheese steak you crave, Pappa Geno's is the way to go. A house favorite is the Wicked Philly, a Chicago-Italian-beef-and-Philly-cheese-steak hybrid loaded with shavings of steak, melted provolone, mayo and pickled hot giardiniera (we actually loved this sandwich so much that we've re-created it at home).
Go for fantastic chicken or beef cheese steaks on fresh and crisp bread, hot Italian hoagies with all the fixin's, classic burgers, chicken sandwiches and salads, or another one of our favorites -- the Cheese-Whiz-smothered Philly Cheese Fries topped with grilled steak and onions. And don't forget to ask for a side of gravy and hot giardiniera. You can thank us later.
See our other Top 5 Budget Lunch Lists:
Top 5 Budget Lunch Spots in Montrose Top 5 Budget Lunch Spots in River Oaks Top 5 Budget Lunch Spots in Midtown Top 5 Budget Lunch Spots in Upper Kirby Top 5 Budget Lunch Spots in EaDo Top 5 Budget Lunch Spots in Rice Village Top 5 Budget Lunch Spots in the East End Top 5 Budget Lunch Spots in the Galleria Top 5 Budget Lunch Spots in Garden Oaks/Oak Forest Top 5 Budget Lunch Spots in The Woodlands Top 5 Budget Lunch Spots in Old Downtown Top 5 Budget Lunch Spots in Pearland Top 5 Budget Lunch Spots in the Heights