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A giant burger stuffed with bacon, avocado, peppers, onion, shredded lettuce, with ketchup and mustard on a sesame seed bun. The burger is so stuffed with toppings it looks like it’s in danger of everything spilled out of it
A massive burger for your face
Hamburguesas El Gordo/Facebook

10 Fantastic Choices for Budget-Friendly Dining in St. Paul

Feast for $10 or less

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A massive burger for your face
| Hamburguesas El Gordo/Facebook

Money is tight all around right now. Plus, the pandemic has solidified in all of us the desire to help local restaurants along with the hankering for a good meal created and served by someone else. Thus we present, a few spots offering terrific meals and a break from our kitchens for $10 or less.

Restaurants are listed geographically from west to east.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Mim's Cafe

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Mim’s location at the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul campus means large portions for very reasonable prices. A shawarma sandwich is only $8, add hand cut fries for $1.50. Do not skip the baba ghanouj, it really is the best in town. 

The exterior of Mim’s Cafe, a maroon building with a large, hand painted sign touting Mim’s Cafe, and Lori’s Coffee House Mim’s Cafe/Facebook

The Naughty Greek

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Fresh, never frozen, grilled beef tenderloin slices tucked into a warm pita with fresh veggies and tangy tzatziki would be satisfying enough, but the Naughty Greek does one better, stuffing French fries into the sandwich for less than $10. 

A slab of mousakka with a bottom layer of eggplant topped by a thick oozy layer of creamy sauce and pasta with a golden crust on top
The Naughty Greek has mousakka available for baking at home
The Naughty Greek/Facebook

Nelson Cheese & Deli

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The beloved deli’s menu is gigantic, with hot or cold sandwiches for around seven dollars. Pick up an old timey soda and a hunk of cheese for the perfect car picnic. 

Tommie's Pizza

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Pizza by the slice is not as much of a thing as it used to be, but at Tommie’s a cheese slice is enough for a nice little lunch for three bucks. Add a Caesar for another $4.

Bap and Chicken

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Plates like cheese curds with a kimchi crema or Korean fried chicken sandwich topped with American cheese represent a lovely marriage of Korean street food and hearty Minnesota comfort. 

A person holding a basket of Korean fried drumsticks
Chicken legs double fried and dressed up in spicy sauce
Bap and Chicken/Facebook

Hamburguesas El Gordo #3

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With a box of 30 tacos for just $30, hot dogs for under five bucks and the signature Del Gordo burger hovering around the $10 mark, the burger/tacos/dog joint is a sure thing for a cheap eat. There are two St. Paul locations, one near Victoria and Selby Avenues and another in West St. Paul.

Trieu Chau Restaurant

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The unassuming spot on University Avenue serves hot bowls of flavorful pho and overstuffed Banh Mi to get us through the long, long, long Minnesota winter. 

A large, white bowl with beefy, clear broth with thin slices of beef and onions floating on the top
A fat bowl of pho from Trieu Chau
Trieu Chau/Facebook

Cheng Heng Restaurant

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University Avenue is peppered with Thai and Vietnamese restaurants, but for something a little different, try Cheng Heng, one of the cities few Cambodian restaurants. Start with chive cakes, crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside, and follow up with one of anything — everything here is good (and affordable.)

Mama's Pizza

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The beloved neighborhood pizza joint is known for its adorable heart shaped pizza on Valentine’s Day, but when is it not a good time for pizza?

El Burrito Mercado

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This place has it all: a colorful market, a lovely restaurant, a grab-and-go café and a panderia. The El Café to go is an especially great deal, with classics like burritos and tostadas hovering around the $10 mark.

A Fiestaware plate full of beans, rice, and stewed meat
A fabulous spot for Mexican comforts
El Burrito Mercado/Website

Mim's Cafe

The exterior of Mim’s Cafe, a maroon building with a large, hand painted sign touting Mim’s Cafe, and Lori’s Coffee House Mim’s Cafe/Facebook

Mim’s location at the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul campus means large portions for very reasonable prices. A shawarma sandwich is only $8, add hand cut fries for $1.50. Do not skip the baba ghanouj, it really is the best in town. 

The exterior of Mim’s Cafe, a maroon building with a large, hand painted sign touting Mim’s Cafe, and Lori’s Coffee House Mim’s Cafe/Facebook

The Naughty Greek

A slab of mousakka with a bottom layer of eggplant topped by a thick oozy layer of creamy sauce and pasta with a golden crust on top
The Naughty Greek has mousakka available for baking at home
The Naughty Greek/Facebook

Fresh, never frozen, grilled beef tenderloin slices tucked into a warm pita with fresh veggies and tangy tzatziki would be satisfying enough, but the Naughty Greek does one better, stuffing French fries into the sandwich for less than $10. 

A slab of mousakka with a bottom layer of eggplant topped by a thick oozy layer of creamy sauce and pasta with a golden crust on top
The Naughty Greek has mousakka available for baking at home
The Naughty Greek/Facebook

Nelson Cheese & Deli

The beloved deli’s menu is gigantic, with hot or cold sandwiches for around seven dollars. Pick up an old timey soda and a hunk of cheese for the perfect car picnic. 

Tommie's Pizza

Pizza by the slice is not as much of a thing as it used to be, but at Tommie’s a cheese slice is enough for a nice little lunch for three bucks. Add a Caesar for another $4.

Bap and Chicken

A person holding a basket of Korean fried drumsticks
Chicken legs double fried and dressed up in spicy sauce
Bap and Chicken/Facebook

Plates like cheese curds with a kimchi crema or Korean fried chicken sandwich topped with American cheese represent a lovely marriage of Korean street food and hearty Minnesota comfort. 

A person holding a basket of Korean fried drumsticks
Chicken legs double fried and dressed up in spicy sauce
Bap and Chicken/Facebook

Hamburguesas El Gordo #3

With a box of 30 tacos for just $30, hot dogs for under five bucks and the signature Del Gordo burger hovering around the $10 mark, the burger/tacos/dog joint is a sure thing for a cheap eat. There are two St. Paul locations, one near Victoria and Selby Avenues and another in West St. Paul.

Trieu Chau Restaurant

A large, white bowl with beefy, clear broth with thin slices of beef and onions floating on the top
A fat bowl of pho from Trieu Chau
Trieu Chau/Facebook

The unassuming spot on University Avenue serves hot bowls of flavorful pho and overstuffed Banh Mi to get us through the long, long, long Minnesota winter. 

A large, white bowl with beefy, clear broth with thin slices of beef and onions floating on the top
A fat bowl of pho from Trieu Chau
Trieu Chau/Facebook

Cheng Heng Restaurant

University Avenue is peppered with Thai and Vietnamese restaurants, but for something a little different, try Cheng Heng, one of the cities few Cambodian restaurants. Start with chive cakes, crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside, and follow up with one of anything — everything here is good (and affordable.)

Mama's Pizza

The beloved neighborhood pizza joint is known for its adorable heart shaped pizza on Valentine’s Day, but when is it not a good time for pizza?

El Burrito Mercado

A Fiestaware plate full of beans, rice, and stewed meat
A fabulous spot for Mexican comforts
El Burrito Mercado/Website

This place has it all: a colorful market, a lovely restaurant, a grab-and-go café and a panderia. The El Café to go is an especially great deal, with classics like burritos and tostadas hovering around the $10 mark.

A Fiestaware plate full of beans, rice, and stewed meat
A fabulous spot for Mexican comforts
El Burrito Mercado/Website

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