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Six for Six: A Guide to Meals Under $6 Within Walking Distance of Campus

By Isabel Sutter
On September 18, 2014

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Anyone who has dined in Crooker knows that eating their food, even on its best days, is not a viable, long-term plan.

“Everyone needs some variety now and again,” freshman Alyssa White.

However, the car-deprived freshman is not left with many affordable restaurant choices, but here are six restaurants within walking distance to eat at for $6 or less.

We begin with the restaurant closest to Guinan Hall: Brick and Spoon, which is located at at Graustark and West Alabama. This dedicatedly southern restaurant serves a scrumptious breakfast with tons of options including omelettes and breakfast tacos. Though these items are a bit outside of the average student’s budget, a plate of four large beignets is only $5. My five friends and I split two plates, which was more than enough. The doughy, fried, French pastries were perfect for a lazy morning breakfast. Generously served with layers of powdered sugar and thick, citrusy marmalade, these treats are not exactly a well-balanced breakfast, but they are perfect for a decadent weekend brunch. The bill (tip included) ended up being $2 a person.

While many students have already eaten at the Greek restaurant, Niko Niko’s located at 2520 Montrose, most view it as an expensive place to grab a bite to eat. However, one can enjoy a dinner for only $6. Simply order the half hummus appetizer, a large plate that includes a mound of Niko Niko’s signature hummus, pita chips, pita bread and various fresh veggies. An appetizer might sound like too little food, but it was actually incredibly filling! And, as usual, the hummus was the best in town. While the food itself only cost $6, with tip and tax it ended up being a little over $7. Also, UST students get a discount by showing ID.

Just past the admissions office on Montrose at Richmond is a favorite Celt hangout, The Black Labrador. Many UST students, after a meal at this classic English pub, have brushed off The Black Lab as too pricey. However, there are a few affordable options. A cup of soup is only $4.25, a dinner salad is $4.99 and a dinner Caesar is $5.99. I enjoyed the dinner salad, which consisted of romaine with shredded carrots and other veggies with bleu cheese dressing. It was simple, fresh and not from Crooker—three things I look for in my inexpensive restaurant food. In all seriousness though, it was a very good salad for $5. Freshmen Kimberly Sanford and White ordered the chicken vegetable soup, which they described as truly “scrumdiddlyumptious.” All in all, I enjoyed a tasty meal for only $6 (tip and tax included).

A lesser known cheap eatery is the H-E-B Café inside the H-E-B at West Alabama and Dunlavy. For $5.99, one can buy two sides and an entrée. I chose three sides—tortellini, kale salad and Israeli couscous. The fresh, crunchy kale salad contained slivers of almonds and dried cranberries. Surprisingly, this inexpensive, grocery store salad was delicious. Likewise, the couscous was shockingly good. The sticky consistency of the grains struck me as a bit unusual, but, it still tasted great. The tortellini was terribly disappointing—cold, slimy and utterly gross.

Likewise, Sanford thought the diablo chicken was unappetizingly dry and pronounced it “a little similar to a giant chicken nugget.” In a pinch, the H-E-B is a quick place to dine.

Café Express, located within the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, serves mid-priced dishes like burgers, salads and amazing sweet potato fries. But if the hungry college student is looking for something a bit less costly, breakfast tacos (served daily from 8am-11am) are only $1.99 each. The taco consists of potato, egg, cheese and your choice of meat wrapped up in a flour tortilla with a side of hot sauce.

Student Ashley Hughes enjoyed the bacon in hers, pointing out that “it was nice and crispy!” If you’re looking for a hearty breakfast, this is a great option.

Lastly, Einstein Bros. Bagels at 3407 Montrose offers a variety of sandwiches, snacks and, of course, bagels. For $15, one can buy 13 bagels and two tubs of cream cheese. When split between five friends, each ends up paying about $3 and receives at least two bagels out of the deal. We enjoyed a variety of fresh, carb-filled treats, though my favorite had to have been the pumpkin bagel and cream cheese, an Autumn limited edition, and the perk is that there are leftover bagels for breakfast tomorrow!

When faced with the frightening prospect of another day consisting of wilted salad or Easy Mac, look no further than the many fabulous, nearby options.

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