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Dining on a budget: the best spots for cheap eats in St. Pete

Dining on a budget: the best spots for cheap eats in St. Pete

exterior of a restaurant with a blue paint job and a pointed roof. The photo was taken at sunset and the sky has a pinkish hue
Exterior of 1Chick1Bro, a new Venezuelan restaurant in Gulfport

Craving a good meal without breaking the bank? In the Sunshine City, you can take your pick from home cooked BBQ, bright and casual taquerias, cozy breakfast cafes, and more. Whether you’re strolling down Central Ave or exploring the city’s outer limits, you’ll find that the St. Pete food scene offers a lot in terms of laid-back vibes and dishes brimming with local charm. Here’s our top spots for savoring the flavors of the Burg without spending more than $15.

Did we miss your favorite spot for cheap eats? Send an email to info@ilovetheburg.com and we’ll add it to the list.

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Five Bucks Drinkery

247 Central Ave N
Although you may know this as a mainstay of downtown St. Pete, Five Bucks also has locations in Pinellas Park and Seminole. You can come in anytime from late morning until after midnight for tasty bar eats, juicy burgers, and sandwiches. Add a “Not a Colada” cocktail or alcoholic Strawberry Lemonade to your meal for–you guessed it–five bucks. With the biggest outdoor patio space downtown, Five Bucks is the prime spot to enjoy lunch, dinner, or a late-night snack.

Big C’s Chopped BBQ

1035 9th St S
Nothing beats Big C’s famous chopped chicken tray sandwich for only $5. This is the best kept secret of St. Pete with its affordable prices, smoked meats, and classic BBQ sides. Their collard greens are crowned the favorite in town, though you also can’t go wrong with their potato salad. But don’t worry if you have trouble choosing. You’ll be able to pick more than one to go with your meal. Most dinner platters come with two sides, ranging from baked beans and candied yams to crab salad and mac and cheese.

The bright and welcoming front entrance of Casita Taqueria on Central Avenue in downtown St. Petersburg.
Outside Casita Taqueria’s Central Ave location | Photo via Casita Taqueria

Casita Taqueria

2663 Central Ave
Voted Best of the Bay four years in a row, Casita Taqueria is a staple of the St. Pete community. You can find them at just about any corner, thanks to their three locations throughout the Burg. Their corn tortillas are made in-house, and their meats are all slow-braised to guarantee that the tacos, bowls, burritos, and more are all served fresh. Tacos here are in the $3 to $4 range, and you can order their churros drizzled in honey and cinnamon sugar to end the meal on a sweeter note.

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9Bangkok

571 Central Ave
Whether you’re on the hunt for Thai curries, noodles, or sushi, 9Bangkok has you covered. Their lunch menu pairs your choice of entrée (including Thai classics like Pad Kee-Mao and Pad Thai) with soup and a spring roll. Want something lighter? Go off their sushi lunch menu, where you can pick two rolls for the same deal of soup and spring roll. Dinner entrées come at a slightly higher price point, but you can still order most plates for $15 or less.

Chile Verde

2801 22nd Ave N
Serving authentic Mexican dishes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, here you can get huevos rancheros, tacos, tostadas, flautas, chimichangas, and more. Their list of meats is endless, with options from the familiar toppings of chicken, chorizo, and carnitas to lamb and tripe. With tacos for just $3, you can mix and match your proteins to try as many different meats as you want. A hole-in-the-wall eatery of St. Pete, this restaurant prepares everything to order and even offers a lunch and dinner buffet for less than $10 per person.

At The Frog Pond, start the day off right with an order of eggs benedict with crispy potatoes.
Breakfast at The Frog Pond | Photo via The Frog Pond (FB)

The Frog Pond

890 3rd Ave S
Opening back in 1982, The Frog Pond is a neighborhood breakfast cornerstone. Across the street from Tropicana Field, hop on in for omelets, benedicts, and waffles seven days a week. Coffee lovers will also rejoice. The Frog Pond exclusively serves Kawha brand coffee, so you’ll know you’re guaranteed to start your morning off right when you dine here. Whether it be for breakfast or lunch, just make sure you swing by early. The Frog Pond closes each day at 2pm.

Colonial Corner Hoagie Shop

7201 49th St N
From the moment you step into Colonial Corner and smell the caramelized onion, you’ll know you came to the right place for a Philly cheesesteak. So right, in fact, that their cheesesteak was voted the best outside of Philly in 2005. This historic shop goes back to 1977. Since then, it’s been proudly bringing hot and fresh sandwiches straight from the griddle and to the Burg. You’ll also find on the menu an assortment of deli sandwiches in addition to homemade specials of macaroni salad, fries, and more.

1Chick 1Bro Cafe Bistro serves warm and fresh jasmine rice bowls topped with veggies and your pick of protein.
Fresh jasmine rice bowl at 1Chick 1Bro Cafe Bistro | Photo via 1Chick 1Bro Cafe Bistro (FB)

1Chick 1Bro Cafe Bistro

1431 49th St S
This newly opened brother-sister run bistro in Gulfport promises Venezuelan dishes that will keep you coming back for more. Rice bowls, arepas, and other specialty items like cachapas and tequeños are all reasonably priced. For under $10, you can come in for their Venezuelan breakfast platter, served with black beans, plantain, cheese, arepas, and a protein of your choosing. Need a recommendation? A creamy chicken, avocado, and mayonnaise mix makes up their Venezuelan Queen arepa.

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