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).
Today, we've moved outside the loop to the ever-expanding Woodlands area. With tons of families and new developments, including ExxonMobil's soon-to-be-completed 385-acre campus, the already-booming restaurant scene is sure to continue growing. While there are tons of upscale hotspots around, we're looking at the places that offer quick and cheap, but still fantastic, lunches.
Here's our list of the best cheap (less than $10) lunch spots that this area has to offer:
Honorable Mention: Pallotta's Italian Grill, located just east of I-45 in Conroe, for their classic Italian and $5.95 weekday pasta specials; Jax Burgers, Fries and Shakes, for their upside-down burgers, garlic fries, and thick shakes; and Kim Son Café, for their Vietnamese vermicelli bowls and pho.
Personal pies are just $9-$10 at both of these Woodlands pizza joints. Head to Grimaldi's for authentic Brooklyn-style coal-fired pies and to Crust for more creative toppings.
At New York import Grimaldi's, thin-crust pies are crisp and light, while calzones, loaded with melted and gooey ricotta and mozzarella cheese, are perfect for the hearty appetite. We like coming with a crowd and sharing an Antipasto Salad -- with sweet roasted red peppers, salami, olives, house-made vinaigrette, and freshly baked bread ($9 for a small, $13 for a large) -- and a large pie or calzone ($16 to $18). Add toppings like artichoke hearts, sun dried tomatoes, Italian sausage and anchovies for $2 to $4.
At Crust Pizza, you'll find the made-from-scratch dough is a bit thicker, but that's all the better to hold toppings for pies like The Jerk -- loaded with Jamaican jerk chicken, caramelized onions, bell peppers, bacon, and two kinds of cheese; or the Old Smokey -- piled high with spicy sausage, jalapeños, red onions, cilantro, smoked mozzarella, Cheddar, and ranch. There are tons of hot subs, pastas, and salads, all for under $10, as well.
Come to this family-owned café for a true home-style Mediterranean and Greek lunch. Share a plate of hummus, baba ghanoush, or stuffed grape leaves for around $3, then move on to the main event. Tender and juicy shawarma sandwiches -- filled with spit-style slow-roasted chicken or beef, tomatoes, pickles, and onions -- come with a side of creamy slaw for just $5.99. Or try the gyro platter ($8.99), which comes stacked high with juicy sliced beef, rice, pita, cucumber salad, and tzatziki sauce.