Cheap College Eats Under $10


Everyone loves a cheap meal. For college students, it’s a necessity. This week’s diverse choices come from a classic burger joint, a taqueria, and a Japanese eatery – all in town, and all under $10 a meal.

We all have go-to places to eat. And as college students, we love to add to our ever-expanding list of inexpensive options. In the first of a series of such articles, we’ll explore three great places to get your grub on – that don’t require taking out (another) student loan.

As any practitioner of the art of the frugal food find will tell you, variety is key. You’ve got to break up the meal monotony. With this in mind, this week’s diverse choices are a classic burger joint, a taco shack, and a Japanese eatery – all located in town, and all under $10 a meal.

The Chubbie – a local favorite at only $4.95.

The Chubbie – a local favorite at only $4.95.

First up a home-town favorite: Chubbies Hamburgers

Located in an iconic red-tiled adobe with a small bell tower, this is the place to go to if you’re not in the mood to make decisions but still want a tasty burger. The menu is as simple as the decor. Thankfully, the burgers more than make up for the interior design.

The rightfully famous culinary classic is a third pound double-cheeseburger of unpretentious goodness.

Sure, Chubbies sells other sandwiches including cheeseburgers, hamburgers, veggie burgers, and chicken burgers. But when the place is called Chubbies Hamburgers, you order the Chubbies burger. The rightfully famous culinary classic is a third pound double-cheeseburger of unpretentious goodness. The bread to burger patty ratio is perfect. The American cheese – for there is no other type of cheese more satisfying when it comes to burgers – is plentiful and perfect in all its gooey glory.

The iconic Chubbies Hamburger housed in the iconic adobe with the small bell-tower.

The iconic Chubbies Hamburger housed in the iconic adobe with the small bell-tower.

Don’t even hesitate – get the fries. They are always fried to golden crispy perfection. The fries are cut thin but not too thin. Another perfect ratio, this time the crunchy surface-area to pillowy  yummy insides of the fries.

Local Tip: If you ask, Chubbies gladly grills your onions.

In fact, just get the combo — a Chubbies Hamburger, fries and a cold drink, all for $7.45. Upgrade for only 69 cents to a classic milkshake combo (for when you really need a hug from the inside out). This meal makes you feel like it’s all gonna be OK.

Chubbies Hamburger is located at 2908 De La Vina St.

Lilly's Tacos – Beef Cheeks and Adobado (marinated pork).

Lilly’s Tacos – cachete (beef cheeks) and adobado (marinated pork).

Next up: Lilly’s Tacos aka Lilly’s Taqueria.

At Lilly’s, they serve one thing and one thing only — tasty, cheap tacos in three categories: steamed, grilled and veggie.

 Local Tip: Order like a pro and ask for free, off-menu grilled onions and peppers.

Lines out the door is a common sight at Lilly's Tacos.

Lines out the door are common.

Steamed tacos include more esoteric cuts including cabeza (beef head meat), cachete (beef cheeks and my personal fav), and lengua (beef tongue). Grilled tacos include more popular cuts like asada (beef), adobado (marinated pork, another personal fav), and chicken. The sole veggie entry is a taco with corn, green beans, carrots and zucchini. At only $1.80 a taco, you can mix and match and still stay within budget.

Lilly’s Taco’s is located at 310 Chapala St.

The Chicken Katsu, Crab Roll/Burrito, and the Ponzo Fries.

The chicken katsu, crab wrap, and the ponzo fries.

Finally: Miso Hungry

At Miso Hungry, the Japanese answer to Subway or Chipotle, you can order a wrap that is closer in size to a burrito than a sushi-roll or you can get a bowl.  Order a pre-fab off the menu or build your own custom culinary concoction. They make it all right in front of you.

I went pre-fab off the menu and ordered a crab wrap and the chicken katsu bowl.

Miso Hungry, a great place for Japanese-style fast-food.

Miso Hungry, a great place for Japanese-style fast-food.

Miso Hungry is generous with its sauces, which employees apply in a beautiful criss-cross pattern on your bowl. Ask for sauce on the side if you prefer. Miso Hungry offers a wide assortment of ice teas and juices. Blend them for flavor combinations like pomegranate, blueberry & green tea or lemonade & jasmine tea.

Local Tip: Can’t make up your mind on sauces? Get a variety on the side.

Prices varies from wrap to wrap and bowl to bowl. My order was only $7.50 for the crab roll/burrito. And my chicken katsu bowl was only $8.50.

Miso Hungry is located at 3891 State St.

Stay tuned for more Cheap College Eats here exclusively on Antioch’s Odyssey Online.


About Author

AJ Skiles

AJ moved from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara over 20 years ago. A Liberal Arts major, with a concentration in Communication and Media – AJ has found a new passion for writing while at Antioch University, Santa Barbara.  AJ’s other passions include traveling and visiting the National Parks, movies of all kinds (especially sci-fi movies), and foraging for wild mushrooms in the redwoods.  In another life, AJ used to clean carpets for the stars, including Steven Spielberg, John Candy, and former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger – true story. While AJ was fired from that job, he still knows how to properly clean carpets and rugs.

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