Sliders, Thai & Tacos: Dining in the D on a Dime

By: Toni Cunningham | February 13, 2014

When your stomach is bigger than your wallet, dining out can be a challenge. I’m sure everyone is familiar with the following scenario: it’s mere days before payday, and your checking account reads something like $12.73. You’re a busy working man/woman, have no time to grocery shop, and skipping meals really isn’t a viable option. What’s a guy/gal left to do? Dine out on a dime, of course.

Whether you’re trying to be sensible until you’re able to cash your next paycheck, or just want to start being frugal in general, it’s easier than you might think. While your bank account might be low, don’t let your standards dip to the same level. When you’re strapped for cash but still want to grab a quality meal, there are plenty of local eateries to suit that need. Keep low cost and healthy portions in mind, as well as the following restaurants.

May’s Bangkok Express, 254 W. 9 Mile Rd., Ferndale, is one of my personal favorites. I’m what you might call a Thai food addict. The best part about this place in particular is that a) it’s cheap and b) you receive a mountain of food that will suffice for at least two days. Most dishes cost no more than $7, and the Kang Kalee (potato curry dish) will change your life, I promise you.

Burgrz, with locations in Royal Oak and Rochester Hills, uses a special custom blend of beef for its patties, which are made fresh every day and never frozen. A hamburger with your choice of toppings will set you back less than $5, and the most expensive burgers on the menu are the Mushroom Swiss Burger and California Burger, both for $5.99.

While you are trying to save money, and a water or pop would fit best with that theme, beer and wine are available at the Royal Oak location. You know, in case you have just a few more bucks to spare.

Mae’s Restaurant, 24060 Woodward Ave., Pleasant Ridge, is a charming café that’s the perfect place for breakfast or lunch. While I can’t speak for any of the lunch items, the cooks make a mean breakfast. Better yet, it’s both delicious and reasonably priced. Omelettes, scrambles, breakfast sandwiches and breakfast platters like pancakes are all in the $5 to $8 price range.

Coffee Cake Pancakes with cinnamon streusel topping and vanilla icing for the low price of $6.50? Sign me up, please. They’ve also got a huge selection of sandwiches, salads and burgers for the lunchtime crowd.

Green Dot Stables, 2200 West Lafayette, Detroit, has over 20 sliders on its menu, all of which are either $2 or $3. Yes, they’re smaller than a regular burger, but that means you can mix and match a few and still eat a full meal for under $10.

The menu includes BBQ Bacon (beef patty with sweet potato and homemade BBQ sauce), Korean (beef patty with peanut butter and kimchi), BCT (bacon, cucumber, tomato sauce and mayo) sliders, as well as catfish, chicken, mystery meat sliders and more.

Hot Taco, 2233 Park Ave., Detroit, is a taqueria (taco bar, for those of you non-Spanish speaking readers), that’s open until 2 a.m. every day. Meaning you can consume tasty tacos, burritos and Mexican pop at all hours of the night, for dirt cheap prices!

Any place that sells three chicken, pork or chorizo tacos for $6 is okay in my book. Other choices include steak, fish and blackened shrimp for, at most, $3.50 a piece. They have a very similar selection in the burrito department, the most expensive of which is $7. Plus, fountain drinks here are only $1, which is basically unheard of, unless you’re at McDonalds. Which you should not be.

There’s a difference between being cheap and being smart with your money, and dining at any of the above Metro Detroit restaurants will allow you to eat out without breaking the bank. Being economical never tasted so good!