Cheap eats in Alpharetta

Every Friday Roots in Alpharetta features an article on food and dining in a series called Foodie Friday.

Meet James, a co-worker of mine who eats out for lunch everyday. Sounds familiar. We ought to have a lot in common yet seldom do our restaurant paths cross. But James, along with his cadre of old timers who eat together everyday, are rather set in their ways. They’re also very frugal.

One day I challenged James to break out of his routine of Subway and Speedy with beans. He returned my challenge with one of his own. Find restaurants that are close to our Windward office, offer something delicious and will cost $8 or less including drink and tip.

So James, without further adieu, here’s your list.

Pizza by the slice – Alpharetta is completely covered up in New York-style pizza. Your cheapest way to enjoy is ordering by the slice at lunch. Most joints will do two slices with toppings and a drink for around seven bucks. Top picks in this category include Verra-Zanno Pizzeria in Johns Creek along with their sister restaurant Joe’s New York Pizzeria on Mansell Road. Mama’s Pizza on North Point and Brooklyn Joe’s off Windward are also fine choices and a little closer to most cubicle dwellers.

El Trompo signAuthentic Mexican – Give Speedy Gonzalez the adios. He’s certainly cheap but you can do far better for the same pesos. Mr. Taco and our beloved El Trompo Mexican Taqueria are where you need to be. Mix and match some a la carte tacos and wash it down with a Mexican coke.  It easily fits within our $8 budget.

Mediterranean – Two words: gyro wraps. They are delicious, very filling and well within our budget in most instances. I like Grecian Gyro in Johns Creek Walk, Cafe Efendi on Main Street and Seven Seas Cafe Devore Road. And if you’re willing to approach the $10 mark, nothing beats the chicken shawarma wrap at Jerusalem Bakery on Old Milton.

Chinese – It’s certainly cheap at lunch, but it takes a lot to impress me in this category. Head down to Johns Creek for the good stuff. Liu Fu will serve the Chinese food your accustomed to for $8 at lunch. Or better yet, establish yourself as a Chinese food epicure and order the Szechwan-style hot boiled fish. It breaks our budget at $10 but is well worth it. You’ll need extra napkins to dab the sweat off your brow.

For quality Thai food at very reasonable prices hit Satay House on Alpharetta’s South Main Street. Some lunch options are priced as low as $6.25. How do they do it?

X-tudoAnd finally, for my off-the-wall budget lunch pick, head over to Old Milton’s  Coisas de Brasil and order the X-tudo. For a measly six bucks your sammich comes with hamburger, a fried egg, mozzarella cheese, ham, lettuce, tomato, corn and peas. It’s the most bizarre lunch item in Alpharetta, but it’s cheap!

Not every good restaurant in Alpharetta has to be fine dining. Guys like my friend James are never going to shell out $18 for a plate of tacos at The El Felix. You don’t have to either. Hopefully this list gives the budget-conscious gastronome a decent place to begin. If you’ve got ideas for delicious cheap eats, I’d love to hear them!

14 Responses to “Cheap eats in Alpharetta”

  1. A January 23, 2015 at 9:39 am #

    Great post for the folks complaining about food snobs. Ain’t nothing wrong with going on the cheap, as long as the food is good!

    Lee–you forgot to include Crust in your pizza roundup. Their weekday lunch special is (if I remember correctly) $5 for two slices of cheese and a drink and $7 for a slice and house salad plus drink. If you want anything other than cheese, there’s an upcharge, but you could probably still get out of there for under $10.

  2. Frank January 23, 2015 at 9:46 am #

    Taziki’s greek salad w/ chicken wrap is my go-to. Their hummas is one of the better hummas in the area IMOA. I don’t order anything but water, and I’m under the $10 for the wrap w/ a side of hummas, and pita bread, or chips

  3. Kara January 23, 2015 at 11:36 am #

    One of my favorite Roswell/Alpharetta area lunch places is Athens Greek Restaurant. Everything on their lunch menu is under $8 (ok, some just barely) and their grilled chicken salad is really good.

  4. Kevin Davis January 23, 2015 at 12:34 pm #

    Joe’s, Seven Seas and Satay House are definitely some of my favorites. Grouchy’s Deli and Thai Thai are walking distance from my office, though, so they get some frequenting as well (can’t wait for Cookout there too if they ever actually start the build out!). Would like a good taco place closer to my office, Taqueria del Mar in Peachtree Corners is my favorite with several good lunch specials under $10, but it’s a little far to make it for lunch on a work day.

  5. Cool Papa Bell January 23, 2015 at 12:35 pm #

    Athen’s is a good choice Kara. And yes much cheaper than those corporate chains loved by the non-snobs.

  6. A January 23, 2015 at 2:23 pm #

    One place that’s now very difficult to get out of for under $8/person including drink is Panera, which I find very disappointing. They’ve steadily raised their prices over the past few years, so even if you get something relatively cheap, once you add in the drink you’re well over $8. My family of 3 can’t get out of there for under $25, and for that price we can eat quite well at a number of locally owned and operated eateries.

  7. DoubleDach January 23, 2015 at 3:16 pm #

    Find smokin’ Mo’s BBQ trailer and spend all your cholesterol points on something worth it. $7-$8 per item last time I visited.

  8. Kate January 23, 2015 at 6:53 pm #

    Collet French Bakery – even though the focus is pastries, there’s a few lunch options including outstanding ham croissants for under $5.00. Chennai Express on State Bridge for “fast casual” south Indian food, most everything on the menu is $6-$8. Thai Thai or Thai Star Café are a tad higher at mostly $8-$9 before tax/tip, but are solid choices.

  9. A January 23, 2015 at 7:09 pm #

    @DoubleDach, is that the place that seems to be permanently parked at the Midas on Highway 9 at Mayfield? It just doesn’t look very inviting to me. And on the general topic of food trucks, don’t go looking to them for cheap eats. Some of the ones that come to the Alpharetta Food Truck Alley charge more than sit-down restaurants!

  10. Dave January 24, 2015 at 5:04 pm #

    Vincenza’s Pizzeria just opened on McFarland Pkwy and they have slices as well. I’m pretty sure you could get out of there under $8 at lunch time.

  11. Doug January 25, 2015 at 1:58 pm #

    Don’t forget about Chipolte. Under $8.00

  12. Dan January 25, 2015 at 11:19 pm #

    Lin’s has good chinese (less than $10) and it’s close to Windward. 5 Guys for your burger binge ($10). Vincenzas (McFarland) ($5-6, slice/drink) for pizza.

  13. DoubleDach January 26, 2015 at 8:45 am #

    @A That’s the place. Usually at Midas on Hwy 9. Don’t let the looks put you off. It’s well worth a try. Actually has a web site now with sandwiches listed at $6-$7. http://smokinmos.com/

  14. Ron January 28, 2015 at 5:18 pm #

    Vincenza’s has a drink and plain slice for $4.99. i got an additional slice of pepperoni for another $3.49. All said and done, just a smidge over $9. Crust was crunchy and wonderful. The sauce was ok/good but improved a bit more with a sprinkle of red pepper and parmesan cheese. Definitely one of the better options if you’re in the mood for traditional slice.

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