Five dollar finds are everywhere. Every suburb, every town has it's treasures. We like to know about the cheap, good ones. From plant-based chili to peanut butter curry cookies, this week’s Five Dollar Friday pushes some flavor boundaries. We know we are just scratching the surface.
Have another favorite cheap eat around town? Drop a note on the tipline or leave a comment.
One of the most heralded spots for south of the border street food is just south of Minneapolis in Richfield. Andale’s Taqueria & Mercado offers a reasonably priced menu with all the classics. There are 15 different flavors of tacos for less than $2.50.
7700 Nicollet Avenue South, Richfield
United Noodle’s Rice
Known for ramen, United Noodle, the massive Asian grocery store in Minneapolis serves several affordable bites in its casual market restaurant. On the weekends the kitchen gets creative with a savory rice special. A small serving of seasoned sticky rice is cooked with Chinese sausage, mushrooms, and BBQ pork for just $4.50.
United Noodle 2015 East 24th Street Minneapolis
J. Selby’s Chili
Chili is a Minnesota winter staple and J.Selby’s meat-free version has drawn an impressive following. The vegan restaurant touts a hearty bowl for $5. It’s a thick chili served with a dollop of dairy-free sour cream to counteract the spice.
J. Selby’s 169 North Victoria Street Saint Paul
World Street Kitchen’s Cookies
The food truck turned brick and mortar international kitchen is known for its flavor collaborations. Turns out, they finish out the meal with those flavors two. They offer five different desserts all run between $2 and $3 so you may want to try several. From Chocolate Chip Sea Salt Marshmallow cookies to Peanut Butter Curry Pretzel cookies, it’s an inexpensive and adventurous way to top off a meal.
World Street Kitchen 2743 Lyndale Avenue Minneapolis
Freehouse’s Coconut Macaroons
One of the few North Loop restaurants that serves three meals a day is a popular place for breakfast, lunch, dinner, drinks and dessert. The little snowball shaped coconut macaroons are just the treat any day deserves at $2.29 each.
701 North Washington Street, Ste 101 Minneapolis
Five to Try December 1
The Szechuan-inspired North loop menu at Jun is an adventure in spice and heat. The flavors are explosive and the staff will kindly adjust to specified spice levels. Try the Hot and Sour soup that rings in at five dollars flat.
Jun 730 North Washington Avenue Minneapolis
Miso soup is a traditional Japanese soup made with kombu seaweed stock. The flavors are especially deep. It's the perfect way to kick off a sushi or ramen dinner. It will cost you $3.50.
Kyatchi 3758 Nicollet Avenue Minneapolis
Known for their lawn bowling and overflowing pints, most anyone who’s visited Minneapolis for at least 24 hours knows about Brit’s Pub. The fare is British just like the décor but there’s Scottish influence, too. Cock-a-leekie soup is a classic Scottish soup with chicken, leeks and barley in a rich broth. A heaping cup will cost just $3.95.
Brit’s Pub 1110 Nicollet Mall Minneapolis
Eggy’s Biscuits and Gravy
Eggy’s is only open for breakfast and lunch. Amidst the pancakes and omelettes, there’s a hearty dish that costs just $3.95: two biscuits smothered in sausage and milk gravy.
Eggy’s Diner 120 West 14th Street Minneapolis
The Nicollet Diner’s Milkshakes
Just a few blocks down the way from Eggy’s, is another diner with cocktails, all-day breakfast, burgers and most importantly – hand spun malts and milkshakes. The flavors include Chocolate and Banana Oreo, M&M, Butterscotch, Peanut Butter Cup and more. The generous shakes cost $4.95
The Nicollet Diner 1428 Nicollet Avenue Minneapolis
Five to Try for October 13
Sweet Retreat’s Cupcake
While the cupcake shop concept is no longer a rarity, they are not all created equal. Sweet Retreat will still make you excited to indulge in your own personalized treat. From the Cookies-n-Cream to the Almond Snowball to the decadent Cocunut, just one cupcake is perfectly filling. They are all $3.75, and if you are gluten free, cake balls are just $2.15.
Sweet Retreat 5013 France Ave South, Edina
Gray Duck’s Rosemary French Fries
One of downtown St. Paul’s newest darlings, Gray Duck fast became a favorite gathering spot for downtown denizens. The double stack animal burger is getting a lot of buzz, but the French fries make a statement on their own. These are cut thin, fried crispy and finished with fresh Rosemary finish. A generous serving goes for $5 even.
Gray Duck Tavern 345 Wabasha Street North St. Paul
Salut’s Deviled Eggs
Always the first dish to go at a picnic or party, deviled eggs are a cherished treat. The “Deviled Eggs Basquez” are made with chorizo sausage and pepper relish and ridiculously affordable at just $3.
Salut Bar Americain 5034 France Avenue South Minneapolis (Edina)
The Nook’s Chili
Chili season is rapidly approaching. It’s a hearty, high protein take on soup and on a Minnesota winter day, it can be food for the frigid soul. When you think of the Nook, you probably think of Juicy Lucy’s. If the season is right, they also do chili, a filling meal for $4.95
Casper & Runyon’s Nook 492 Hamline Avenue South St. Paul
Red Rabbit’s Hashbrown Waffle
Red Rabbit in the North Loop has a strong brunch game. Some items are traditional, like Eggs Benedict, but some have a unique twist. The Hashbrown waffle is a Hashbrown shaped in waffle form. It’s available Saturday and Sunday morning for just $4.
Red Rabbit 201 North Washington Avenue Minneapolis
Five to Try the Week of September 29
Skinner's Pub Deep Fried Taco's $2
Tacos are a Saturday thing at Skinner's Pub in St. Paul. Deep-fried flour tortillas stuffed with seasoned ground beef are just $2 each. Beginning at 11:00 a.m. fans jockey for space inside this neighborhood bar and the deal only lasts as long as the tacos do. They’re often gone before 2:00 p.m.
Skinner’s Pub 919 Randolph Ave St. Paul
Salsa a la Salsa’s Guacamole $5
Guacamole is one of the rare foods that can be cheaper to buy at a restaurant than to make at home. Salsa la Salsa makes some that is fresh, not too much lime, just the right amounts of salt, onion, and spices and it's just $5. They don't serve queso but when you taste the guac, you may forget. They have two locations, downtown Minneapolis and Midtown Global Market.
Salsa a la Salsa 1420 Nicollet Avenue Minneapolis
Young Joni’s Kimchi $4
It's pretty much been popular since before it opened, Young Joni has artful pizza and vegetables with Korean inspiration like the Kimchi, which is just $4. The spicy, pickled cabbage dish is a staple on Korean tables.
Young Joni 165 13th Ave NE Minneapolis
Burch Butter & Parm Pizza $5
Burch is known for it's steaks and and rich and savory side dishes. But, the basement of the restaurant, is known for it's affordable brick oven pizzas. The most inexpensive and simple of them packs some satisfying taste and it's just $5. You can add other toppings for a few dollars more. Although the basement is where the ovens are, the pizzas can be ordered in the upstairs restaurant, as well.
Burch Steak and Pizza 1933 Colfax Ave Minneapolis
Saint Dinette Drop Biscuit with Maple butter $5
Lowertown's brunch and dinner darling, St. Dinette has established a solid reputation in St. Paul and beyond for beautiful food inspired by everywhere the French settled. The menu has everything from grits, to tacos, to highly acclaimed cheeseburgers. One item that's price friendly is the drop biscuit with maple butter available at dinner or for brunch on the weekends. It's a sweet and savory steal at $5.
Saint Dinette 261 East 5th Street
Five to Try for September 15
6 Smith Happy Hour
The lakeside restaurant has one of the best dining views in the metro. Nestled in downtown Wayzata, the traditional menu can get a bit pricey. But there is a place for every budget at 6 Smith. They have a list of $4 dishes. From Calamari with Thai sauce to Panko Crusted Mac & Cheese, these are hearty dishes. Happy hour happens everyday 3-6pm, again 8pm to close Monday through Thursday and all day on Sunday. The lake views are free.
6 Smith 294 Grove Lane East, Wayzata
Lions Tap Original Burger
One patty of beef seasoned with the secret seasoning is what made this Eden Prairie restaurant a burger lover’s destination since 1958. Back then this handheld meal was only a quarter. Now, the price has escalated all the way up to $4 or $4.65 with a slice of American cheese and fried onions. Not only is it one of the most cherished burgers in a region of ground meat lovers, it’s also one of the best bargains around.
Lions Tap Family Restaurant 16180 Flying Cloud Drive, Eden Prairie
Tavern 4 & 5’s Tavern Potatoes
There's truly an art to preparing the perfect hash brown. If you've ever made them from scratch, you know it's a labor of love. Tavern 4 & 5 has nailed the balance of fluff and crust. It's a local Eden Prairie favorite. Head over on a weekend morning with the hungry hockey players from the local arena squeezing on the Sriracha and gobbling up their post game carbs. The cost is just $4.25 for a filling portion.
Tavern 4&5 16396 Wagner Way, Eden Prairie
The Naughty Greek Eggplant or Sassy Cheese Spreads
This is a Greek restaurant for people who don't think they like Greek Food. It's fast, counter service, in a bustling part of town. On the top of the menu, are two spreads choose either one for $5.00. The Sassy Cheese Spread is made from multiple Greek cheeses and roasted peppers. The Salacious Eggplant Spread is served with sweet bell peppers and an array of Greek flavors. Both are $5 flat.
The Naughty Greek 181 N. Snelling Ave St. Paul
Lotus Egg Rolls
Hard to find a night when Lotus in Loring Park is not packed. They now have an Uptown location will a full bar and the popular menu. The Imperial Egg Rolls are $3.99. For a bargain, you can choose pork or veggie, you can also get fresh spring rolls with shrimp, chicken or tofu.
Lotus 113 West Grant Street Minneapolis
Five to Try the Week of September 1
The Lynhall’s Salads
These salads are hearty. The Lynhall is a new darling of the Twin Cities restaurant scene. The decor is that of a perfectly renovated, repurposed, roomy farmhouse kitchen. The fare is light and affordable. There are four serious salads for $5 served at lunch and dinner. There’s grilled broccolini, kale apricot, beet farro, and cauliflower and potato.
The Lynhall 2640 Lyndale Ave S Minneapolis
Muddy Waters’ Black Bean Hummus
In the popular Ly/Lake neighborhood, just south of downtown, Muddy Waters has a great happy hour twice everyday from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. and late night from 11:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m.. There is a list of $4 appetizers and one of the most satisfying is the black black bean hummus, served with grilled and queso fresco, seasoned with cumin. This vegetarian dish can even be made vegan, if the cheese is skipped.
Muddy Waters 2933 Lyndale Avenue, Minneapolis
Pat’s Tap Crackers and Soup
A rare find for “Five Dollar Friday”, Pat’s Tap in south Minneapolis offers a $5 food pairing. They have a $3 cup of daily soup. You can add a full order of their house made “cheese-it's” for $2 more. You can have the combo for lunch or dinner, Pat’s Tap is open daily 11am-2 am. They also offer pool and foosball, and the feel of an old neighborhood bar.
Pat’s Tap 3510 Nicollet Avenue Minneapolis
Samosas at Ghandi Mahal
Ghandi Mahal offers Indian food in the Longfellow neighborhood. The restaurant promises “peace by pleasing the palate.” That can be done inexpensively with the samosa. It's two deep fried pastry pockets filled with vegetables served with tamarind and green chutney and its $5.
Gandhi Mahal 3009 27th Ave South Minneapolis
Hmongtown Marketplace Wings
Andrew Zimmern recently wrote about his love of this place. It’s a St. Paul go-to for locals and food explorers. One huge deal for a low, price is the chicken wings. And enormous wing is middle is deboned, and stuffed with seasoned, ground meat, bean thread noodles and fried to a crispy, hot crust. One wing is practically a meal for just $5.
Hmongtown Marketplace 217 Como Ave St. Paul
Five to Try from the Week of August 11
Bep Eatery’s Springrolls
Bep makes the skyway fun. It's a guilt-free workday escape. The vibe is fresh and in a time where $15 is standard for a downtown lunch, Bep goes low. Between 2:00 and 3:00 p.m. jumbo spring rolls are $2 each. Choose from fillings like tofu, beef or chicken. And two of them can certainly satisfy for a late lunch for just four dollars. The normal price is $7.95 for three spring rolls all other hours.
Bep Eatery 100 South 5th Street, Suite 210 and 800 LaSalle Ave, Suite 211 Minneapolis, MN 55402
At last, an authentic bagel shop has arrived in the North Loop. Jen and Kate Lloyd, the self-proclaimed “bread heads” behind this Rise Bagel, Co. are filling a need. These bagels are reminiscent of a trip to New York, but are made right in the North Loop. A bagel with butter or cream cheese is under five bucks.
Rise Bagel 530 North 3rd Street Minneapolis, MN 55401
Broders’ Cucina Italiana is the quick service counterpart to its more formal family-owned restaurant across the street. In one of Minneapolis’ most charming neighborhoods, blocks from Lake Harriet, this Italian market sells slices that taste like something straight from Little Italy. They run from $2.95 to $3.95 and they aren’t thin or thick. Try the classic cheese or arugula and prosciutto or the slice of the day.
Broders’ Cucina Italiana 2308 West 50th Street Minneapolis, MN 55410
This boutique bakery on University Avenue in St. Paul serves incredibly fresh doughnuts in classic flavors every day. Score two cake doughnuts, crusty on the outside and full of airy light pockets of dough inside for under $4.
SugaRush Bakery 712 University Avenue West St. Paul, MN 55104
All kinds of low-priced, flavor treasures await in the steaming pots of soup inside Surdyk’s Liquor and Cheese Shop in the Northeast. From chèvre and cauliflower to Spanish tomato to poblano, pork and potato no matter the combination a cup will cost just $3.49, but go for a bowl — it’s $4.99.
Surdyk’s 303 East Hennepin Avenue Minneapolis, MN 55414
Five to Try from the Week of July 17
First things first: it's Friday, so let's start with a cocktail. On many a Twin Cities menu, this would require a $14 investment. Not at Mucci's. The acclaimed St. Paul neighborhood Italian eatery is known for fried pizza and doughnuts. Mucci's Juice, which combines Fanta and red wine, offers lots of taste (and is lots of fun).
Mucci's Italian 786 Randolph Avenue St. Paul 55102
Smack Shack's Bacon Mac
Looking for something hearty? Smack Shack has a five dollar version of their famous lobster macaroni and cheese. It's served during happy hour and late-night happy hour.
Smack Shack 603 Washington Avenue Minneapolis MN 55401
Randle's Sriracha-Soy Edamame
Randle's is a rare find. The upscale sports bar on Nicollet Mall has a thriving rooftop. Check out happy hour and check out the four dollar edamame with Sriracha. This dish makes edamame exciting again.
Randle’s Restaurant and Bar 921 Nicollet Mall Minneapolis 55401
Revival's Butter Beans
Southern cuisine has seeped way outside of the region to Revival, where North meets South. The burger and fried chicken are old news. Meanwhile, the butter beans are $4.50 and very shareable — filling, but not heavy.
Revival Minneapolis 4257 Nicollet Avenue Minneapolis MN 55409
Revival St. Paul 525 Selby Avenue St. Paul MN 55102
Good Day Cafe's Caramel Rolls
Let's finish Friday off appropriately: with dessert. The windowless cafe of happiness sits beside Highway 394. The setting harkens back to a simpler era. The classic breakfast fare is more intricate than an average diner. The caramel roll is just $3.50 and likely requires more than one stomach to finish it. It's sweet but not overwhelming and so Minnesota nice.
Good Day Cafe 5410 Wayzata Blvd. Golden Valley MN 55416
Five to Try from the Week of July 1
Breaking Bread's Cheese Grits
In the heart of North Minneapolis is a gathering place with a lot of soul. Order the cheese grits. Georgia natives like the author would gladly put these up against anything served in the South. The chef marries Caribbean favors with southern classics. They are a cheesy bargain at just $3. Add jerk shrimp for a few dollars more and call it a meal.
Breaking Bread Cafe and Catering 1210 W Broadway AveMinneapolis, MN 55411
Nestled in the base of the posh Ivy Hotel, it's locals who patron this gothic bar. Alongside the meticulous cocktails: a $5 cheeseburger worth much more. The single patty comes wrapped in wax paper with minced onions and two pickles (a la McDonald's). They serve it up 5:00 to 11:30 pm seven days a week.
Constantine 1115 2nd Ave S Minneapolis, MN 55403
PinKU Seared Salmon
The lightly seared salmon is served on a crisped square of rice. The fish is cooked just enough. It's a quick-service experience, but for those not in a hurry, they have sake and champagne.
PinKU 20 University Avenue Northeast Minneapolis
Esker Grove's Fries
Although the menu at this restaurant is complex, one side dish quietly reigns; the thinly cut French fries. Try them for an afternoon snack, and maybe with a glass of Rose served on tap. The restaurant overlooks the newly renovated Minneapolis Sculpture Garden from inside the Walker Art Center. In a building flowing with unconventional creativity, the fries fit right in and they are priced at exactly $5.
Esker Grove 723 Vineland PlaceMinneapolis, MN, 55403
Moto-I Corn Soup
An Uptown staple, Moto-I has been serving up ramen since way before it was a Twin Cities menu staple. This is a ramen restaurant that knows how to craft a perfect broth. The corn soup is reminiscent of chowder, and garnished with a spice blend on top with a smattering of cilantro. It's $4 and this dish is vegan.
Moto-i Ramen and Sake House 2940 Lyndale Ave S Minneapolis, MN 55408