A new year brings a slew of resolutions, and fiscal responsibility often tops the list. For those looking to bulk up their savings accounts without sacrificing a dining out addiction, we have the answer. We’ve compiled some of the best eats in the Fox Valley for under $10, so you can eat like a king even when you can’t spend like one.
The convenience and affordability of nutrient-packed bowls makes them easy to love (and devour) on the regular.
Maple Chai Smoothie Bowl
Nectar, Green Bay
The Maple Chai Smoothie Bowl at Nectar in Green Bay is the perfect start, middle or end to your day. The smoothie base consists of blended chai spice, banana, cinnamon and maple syrup. All that organic, non-GMO goodness is topped with blueberries, oats, chia seeds, more banana, hemp hearts and pumpkin seeds for a satisfying crunch.
Kung Pao Vegan Bowl
Brewed Awakenings, Appleton
Affordable, fresh and full of flavor – what’s not to love? The Kung Pao Vegan Bowl at Brewed Awakenings starts with white rice layered with green and red pepper, celery, peanuts and seasoned garbanzo beans, topped with house-made kung pao sauce for a flavor explosion.
If you need something light after a season of holiday binging, try the Pangoa Bowl at Freshii. The bowl is made with brown rice, avocado, aged cheddar, cherry tomatoes, black beans, corn and cilantro, and is topped with a fiery BBQ sauce. Add a lean, hunger-fighting protein like chicken for an additional $1.99.
“The Big Parker at Parker John’s BBQ & Pizza in Menasha – first thing I ordered when they opened and it rocks – two 1/3 pound black Angus patties with cheddar and Swiss cheese plus bacon on a Telera roll, with a choice of one side ($9.99).” – Ed Engelman, admin of Fox Valley Restaurant Reviews Facebook group
At Mary’s Family Restaurant, with two locations in Appleton, you can score a two-piece white meat meal with mashed potatoes, gravy, a roll and two sides for $8.49. Or go big with one of Mary’s award-winning broasted half chickens for $9.99.
We are suckers for a perfectly charred, wood-fired pizza, and at Broken Tree Pizza in Neenah, several of the pies (perfect for one to two people) ring up for just $10. Try the classic Margherita, The Fire with Baklouti green chili oil, bacon and fresh jalapeño or The Roasted Goat with white sauce, goat cheese, roasted red peppers and black olives.
“Cozzy Corner in Appleton has the best fried chicken in the Valley, but it’s their spicy fried BBQ chicken lacquered in a delectably sticky sauce that really slaps my taste buds. Ordered with a side of collard greens as well as a helping of red beans and rice, and you have the best plate ($9.49) in the Valley.” — Ben Gorges, founder/blogger at foxvalleyfoodie.com
The $9 “unfried” chille relleno at Osorio’s Latin Fusion in Appleton is a fresh take on a traditional favorite. Each large poblano pepper is stuffed with Osorio’s signature veggie blend, topped with cheese and a so-good-you’ll-want-it-in-a-shot-glass tequila cream sauce.
The pork ramen at City Cafe in Appleton is the stuff dreams are made of, if your dreams happen to include BBQ pork, bok choy, mushrooms, green onions and egg in a flavorful pork broth seasoned to perfection with Southeast Asian spices and herbs. The best part? This dream only costs $6.95 a bowl.
Chicken Pot Pie
Comfort food in the dead of winter is priceless. Tasty Treats & Eats in Appleton serves up a classic chicken pot pie (chicken and veggies in a pastry crust) served with a cup of soup or side salad for $9.95.
The specialty at Eggrolls Inc. in Appleton is their baked-not-fried Hmong eggrolls, which have the heft of a burrito but the heart of an eggroll. A single pork, chicken, beef, shrimp or veggie eggroll is $3.50 or choose a two eggroll combo, with ginger rice and a drink, for just $7.95 – same goes for the cabbage rolls and fresh spring rolls.
Encased meat aficionados will adore the dogs at Hot Dog Charlie’s in Oshkosh. Try the Wisconsin dog, Bacon Sauce dog or Chili Sauce dog for $3.75 each. Upgrade to a combo which includes fries or old-school tater tots and a soda for a grand total (with tax) of $7.61.
“I love the curry noodle ($7.75) from Mai’s Deli in Appleton. Just the right spice, loads of saucy red curry with chicken and shrimp. Also a really big portion! I literally dream about it. And the family there is really, really nice.” Nicole De Franza, co-owner of Carmella’s Italian Bistro
Between Bread & Beyond
From burgers to banh mi, these sandwich interpretations will keep both your stomach and wallet full.
Bulgogi Beef Banh Mi
Chung’s Sandwich Bar, Appleton
Don’t think fresh can be affordable? Try the bulgogi beef banh mi at Chung’s. It’s topped with pickled daikon and carrots that add a delectable tang, as well as fresh cilantro, cucumber and jalapeno. Add fries and a drink for just $2 more.
The Small Gyro
Josef’s Gyros & Kabobs, Appleton
Mediterranean street food is the definitive cheap lunch and Josef’s does it up right with their “small” gyro (which isn’t that small). A 1/3 pound of meat is packed in a pita with lettuce, tomato, onion and cilantro with tzatziki sauce on the side.
Mihm’s Charcoal Grill, Menasha
The burgers at this cash-only Menasha institution are as economical as they are decadent – slathered in butter and never skimpy on the toppings. Go for a classic cheeseburger, but the ground steak sandwich ($4.15) is a great choice too. Or just go ahead and order both. Your wallet can handle it.
Crab Goon Burger
Home Burger Bar, Appleton
You won’t find a menu item over $10 at Home Burger Bar, but the Crab Goon Burger is one of the best. A 1/3 pound burger is topped with homemade crab rangoon dip, scallions, wonton strips and a sweet and spicy sauce.
Pagoni’s Pizza, Neenah & Kaukauna
They say the secret to this made from scratch, hand-rolled calzone is the touch of garlic cooked into the crust. It could also be the irresistible combination of pepperoni, sausage, onions and green peppers over a layer of pizza sauce and a mozzarella and ricotta cheese blend. This mighty pizza sandwich weighs in at nearly a pound, so order with an appetite.
Avocado Power Toast
Tempest Coffee Collective, Appleton
Appleton’s newest coffee shop is slinging more than just damn fine cups of coffee. Case in point: the Avocado Power Toast, where $5 gets you nine-grain toast smeared with seasoned avocado whip topped with sliced tomatoes, spinach, almond slivers, cracked pepper and an olive oil drizzle.
“When I’m able to leave work early enough on Wednesdays I like to go to Sidetracked in Neenah when they have 40 cent wings. A few wings and a High Life after a long day of work is very satisfying. I went to middle school with owner Krista Parks and it’s great to see another successful, young business owner in Neenah.” – Jonathan Horan, chef/owner of Town Council Kitchen and Bar
Food & Dining