Cheap Eats Done Right

When it comes to eating out, finding good food at an inexpensive price is no easy undertaking.
Follow our exclusive list spotlighting 20 nearby restaurants and discover where to experience the best deals of the moment for $10 or less.

Destination: Another Broken Egg Café
1121 Market Center Drive, Morrisville
Deal: Traditional steak and eggs ($9.99)
Premium breakfast and brunch purveyors are rare, so Another Broken Egg is a welcome addition to the area. Whether you choose pancakes or Belgian waffles, omelettes or Benedicts, your taste buds will do a happy dance. The traditional steak and eggs features two eggs any style, English muffin, seasoned potatoes and a 4-ounce flatiron steak. Gourmet salads, burgers and sandwiches are available at lunchtime.

Destination: Bonefish Grill
2060 Renaissance Park Place, Cary
Deal: Wednesdays, Bang Bang Shrimp ($5 dine-in or $6 take-out from 4 p.m. until closing)
Anyone who’s dined at Bonefish is familiar with the wildly popular signature starter Bang Bang Shrimp. While the recipe is undisclosed, reliable sources indicate that the lightly fried crustaceans comprise mayonnaise, Thai sweet chili sauce, hot chili sauce, cornstarch and scallions. Even the regular $9.90 menu price is reasonable, but you can get more bang for your buck (sorry, couldn’t resist!) on Wednesdays.

Destination: Bosphorus Restaurant
329-A N. Harrison Ave., Cary
Deal: Gyro plate entrée ($8)
Bosphorous dishes up well-prepared traditional Turkish and Mediterranean food in a cozy atmosphere. Grilled meats, kebabs, falafel and gyros all hit the mark. You’d be hard-pressed to find a healthier appetizer than the Meze Platter with hummus, tabouli, eggplant salad, cucumber dip, stuffed grape leaves and more. Turkish coffee and baklava are as reliable as you’ll find this side of Europe.

Don’t miss the French toast candied bacon or Ahi tuna wrap at The Brunch Box in Morrisville.

Destination: The Brunch Box
10970 Chapel Hill Road #120, Morrisville
Deal: Fridays, seafood special ($7.29-7.99)
If you don’t go anywhere else, here’s a locally owned hideaway worth seeking out. Sausage gravy biscuits will not disappoint. At lunchtime, consider a Tuscan chicken melt or tomato bisque. The Friday seafood special varies from a shrimp Philly sandwich or fish and chips to Cajun mahi mahi or Ahi tuna wrap (side and drink are extra). Sides like broccoli salad and twice baked potato salad are transcendent. The thick-cut French toast candied bacon ($1.50 a slice), may be the best sweet-and-savory treat ever concocted.

Destination: BurgerFi
2052 Renaissance Park Place, Cary
Deal: BurgerFi cheeseburger ($5.97)
A steadfast commitment to serving all-natural, free-range Angus beef elevates BurgerFi in the fast-casual burger space. Among the free accompaniments, garlic mayo, neon relish and grilled diced onions stand out. Premium toppings, especially Peter Luger steak sauce and fried egg, are worth the extra $1 upcharge per item. Fresh-cut fries and crispy onion rings are solid add-on options.

Destination: China Uno
308 Village Walk Drive, Holly Springs
Deal: Lunch box ($5.75)
An enticing blend of Szechwan, Hunan, Mongolian, Cantonese and other Chinese cuisine is accessible in a warm, traditional Asian setting. For the midday meal, choose from 18 lunch box offerings ranging from pepper steak with onion and kung pao chicken to szechuan shrimp and moo goo gai pan. If dining in, you’ll enjoy full service that’s gracious and hospitable. Just be sure to save room for a yummy fried doughnut hole.

Destination: Danny’s Bar-B-Que,
311 Ashville Ave., Cary;
9561 Chapel Hill Road, Morrisville
Deal: Lunch plate ($6.50-7.75)
Meat is slow-cooked over hickory wood, so can’t-go-wrong selections involve chopped pork, beef brisket, smoked chicken or pork spare ribs. Lunch plates come with Texas toast and two side items such as Brunswick stew, collards and baked beans. Suggestion: Order the toothsome ranch dressing-infused potato salad. Friendly servers bring food to your table faster than butter melts on a hot griddle.

Destination: Firewürst
various Wake County locations
Deal: Daily special (entrée, fries or slaw and drink $6.99 each weekday)
Flame-grilled sausages and spiral-cut all-beef hot dogs rock at this locally owned fast-casual spot, the first of which opened in Cary’s Shoppes of Kildaire. Witness the divine Bacon BBQ Dog with Swiss cheese, house-made barbecue sauce, smoked bacon and Crispy Onion Tanglers. “We now also serve Angus burgers,” said Dan Morgenstern, Firewürst’s vice president of marketing. Natural-cut fries and sassy slaws up the ante.

Destination: Havana Grill
404 W. Chatham St., Cary
Deal: Cuban sandwich ($5 on Tuesdays; $6.95 regular price)
Authentic Cuban cuisine emerges at this casual downtown eatery. The signature sandwich showcases tender roasted sliced pork, ham, Swiss cheese, dill pickles and mustard on pressed hot Cuban bread. Chef’s favorite Arroz con Pollo features yellow rice and chicken garnished with peas and pimientos. Top off the meal with some sinfully rich Tres Leches Cake or Flan de Coco.  

Destination: La Farm Bakery & Café
4248 NW Cary Parkway, Cary
Deal: Chicken & avocado salad ($5.95 half size; $8.95 full size)
La Farm’s bustling café churns out virtuous provisions like omelettes, gourmet sandwiches and hearty soups. Even the salads are worth relishing, as evidenced by the mixed greens with sliced chicken and avocado. The salad brims with tomatoes, cucumber, bacon crumbles, hard-boiled egg, blue cheese and buttermilk ranch dressing. Unless you are ravenous, the half size contains plenty of protein-rich heft.

Destination: Lubrano’s Ristorante Italiano
101 Keybridge Drive, Morrisville
Deal: Lunch specials ($6.99-8.99 includes drink and side)
“Everything is prepared the old-fashioned way using fresh ingredients,” opined chef-owner Paul Zoccola, who hails from Naples, Italy. Lunch specials range from ricotta-rich lasagna and fettuccine alfredo to the mozzarella-smothered chicken Parmesan sub sandwich. The only thing better than the restaurant’s romantic vibe: the addictive complimentary garlic knots.

Destination: Mahoney’s Pub
6490 Tryon Road, Cary
Deal: Half sandwich and soup or salad ($7)
Family owned and operated Mahoney’s melds Irish and American fare with distinction, serving everything from Bangers and Mash to Philly cheesesteak sandwiches. Corned beef, homemade chili and beer-battered fish and chips are equally satisfying. While you wait for your food, take in a game of darts, cornhole or shuffleboard.

Pork carnitas and breakfast all day are just two of the tempting and affordable options at Mesa Fresca Diner.

Destination: Mesa Fresca Diner
775 Center St., Apex    
Deal: Carnitas tacos ($2 each)

You might think a counter-service restaurant attached to a convenience store would be a risky proposition, but Mesa Fresca dishes up seriously legit tacos and breakfast grub. Chef-owner Roberto Galvan’s impeccably seasoned pork carnitas are presented on soft corn tortillas with fresh cilantro, onion and a lime wedge. Breakfast is served all day. Order the eponymous burrito loaded with two over-easy eggs, beans, potatoes, cheese, salsa and bacon.

Destination: Nil’s Café
513 Broad St., Fuquay-Varina
Deal: Nil’s specials ($8.99)
For authentic Mediterranean cuisine that’s affordable and delicious, the locals flock to Nil’s at lunchtime. Expect winning specials like the gyro dinner with lamb and feta-imbued spinach pie. Incomparable chicken salad and scratch-made seasonal soups also keep tables turning. Be sure to introduce yourself to affable Turkish proprietors Sibel Hizaroglu and Mustafa Karaca, who recently added dinner service, and extra chef Halil Ustun.

Salvio’s White Pizza with spinach, Roma tomatoes, Feta cheese and extra virgin olive oil is both fresh and filling.

Destination: Salvio’s Pizzeria
2428 SW Cary Parkway, Cary
Deal: Weekday lunch special ($5.75 yields two gourmet slices and drink)
A bona fide New York-style pizzeria situated in a commonplace strip mall, this locally owned establishment conjures quality pie, pasta, stromboli, calzone and more. For stellar gourmet pizza, choose Mediterranean chicken; Carolina hamburger; or white with spinach, Roma tomatoes, Feta cheese and extra virgin olive oil. “Our gluten-free pizza is also really popular,” said co-owner and Empire State native Dustin Ambrosecchia.

Destination: Skipper’s Fish Fry & Market
1001 E. Williams St., Apex
Deal: Fish sandwich lunch plate ($7.42)
This counter-service seafood haven will have you hooked once you try the signature fried cod sandwich with house-made tartar sauce. The weekday special lunch plate includes a drink, fries or coleslaw and melt-in-your-mouth hushpuppies. Fish tacos, lobster bisque and shrimp cocktail all deserve merit. Scrumptious peach cobbler is better than your grandmother ever hoped to make.

Destination: Tijuana Flats
151 SE Cary Parkway, Cary
61 Grand Hill Place, Holly Springs
Deal: Tijuana Tuesdaze (two tacos, chips and drink for $5.49 on Tuesdays)
Tijuana Flats’ business manifesto reveals an “anything goes” approach to food, wall art, hot sauce and life in general. Edgy and irreverent, the Tex-Mex eatery fires up made-to-order burritos, quesadillas, enchiladas and tacos fashioned with fresh ingredients and flavorsome toppings. A hot sauce bar serves audacious offerings, several of which will make you sweat.

Destination: Taqueria del Sol
204 Crossroads Blvd. #212, Cary
Deal: Daily specials like black bean enchiladas ($7.99) or fried shrimp tacos ($2.39 each)
There’s a lot to love about this Southwestern counter-service taqueria with a simple, well-executed menu. Among the half-dozen taco choices, the pork-filled Memphis with piquant jalapeño coleslaw and tequila barbecue sauce shines brightest. Occasional off-menu special cheeseburger tacos are also worth consuming. Zesty Shrimp Corn Chowder is a winner as are the turnip greens in a peppery potlikker.

Destination: Taziki’s Mediterranean Café
302 Colonades Way #201, Cary
Deal: Daily fresh features ($7.79-8.69)
The fast-growing franchise opened its first North Carolina store last year in Cary’s renewed Waverly Place. Daily fresh features range from the Portobello mushroom sandwich on Monday to the tilapia-infused Taziki’s Taco on Thursday. The Greek Lemon Chicken Soup is lick-the-bowl-clean good. A handcrafted community table accommodates more than 15 guests.

Destination: Yuri Japanese Restaurant
1361 Kildaire Farm Road, Cary
Deal: Lunch special bento box ($9.95)
At family-owned Yuri, superb Japanese fare is freshly prepared and artfully presented. The bento box features a choice of two beef, chicken, tofu or seafood items plus miso soup, salad and rice. More than three dozen house special rolls are available, including the exquisite Ahi Tower with tuna, crabmeat, avocado and caviar. A serene atmosphere offers an ideal place for a business lunch or romantic dinner.

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