DISCLAIMER: The information in this article was fact checked and accurate at press time, but 417 Magazine cannot guarantee its accuracy indefinitely.
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1601 W. Sunshine St., Springfield, 417-864-8195, tortilleriaperches.com
The Deal: Tamales for $.99 each on Tamale Thursday
The Lowdown: The kitchen at Tortilleria Perches whips up nearly 500 handmade tamales every day. Made from corn meal and a few secret ingredients, the tamales here are stuffed in a cornhusk and packed with pork or chicken, then steamed for two hours. The plump bundles of savory goodness will easily calm any grumbling stomach. The limit is six per person, and the deal is only available for dine-in customers. For more cheap eats at this hotspot, stop by for 99-cent tacos on Taco Tuesdays.
Various Locations in 417-land, braums.com
The Deal: A cappuccino caramel fudge sundae, $2.99
The Lowdown: This sweet treat is made of two honkin’ scoops of Cappuccino Chunky Chocolate ice cream, heavy drizzles of hot caramel and hot fudge, whipped cream and a sprinkling of roasted pecans, and it’s topped off with a candied maraschino cherry. Yum! Check out the Braum’s sundae menu to drool over other delicious concoctions, such as the Black Forest Sundae or the Brownie Fudge Sundae.
Five-cent favorite: Troy Landwehr enjoys a five-cent scoop of vanilla ice cream at Ava Drug. The shop is known nationally for its five-cent offerings, including ice cream dips, ice cream sodas and coffee.
124 W. Washington Ave., Ava, 417-683-4127, avadrug.com
The Deal: 5¢ ice cream scoops
The Lowdown: This nostalgic soda shop received national attention for its nickel ice cream scoops. Five cents will get you a dip of ice cream, a small ice cream soda from the old-fashioned soda fountain or a cup of hot Joe. This too-cheap-to-pass-up price is the same as when the drug store opened in 1950. And as for ice cream flavors, taste buds delight with options including strawberry cheesecake, orange sherbet, black walnut, butter pecan, rocky road, mint chip and chocolate brownie fudge. Whether in a glass dish or a sugary-sweet cone, that five-cent scoop won’t make too big of a dent in your weekly allowance. And be sure to check out the sandwiches. Options include fresh ham, tuna salad, chicken salad and many more, served on white or wheat bread with a bag of Lay’s, all for a meager $3.25.
Multiple locations in Springfield
The Deal: Two fish tacos, $4.20
The Lowdown: Fish tacos are a delicious alternative to the usual bean burrito or crunchy beef taco. Of course, at Purple Burrito, part of the attraction is their price tag. Wrapped in a thick corn tortilla, strips of breaded and fried tilapia are mixed with homemade tartar sauce, cabbage, pico de gallo and a shredded cheese medley of Monterey Jack and cheddar. The mix of crunchy cabbage and tender flaky fish is the perfect complement to the tangy tartar sauce.
Lucy’s Chinese Food
Multiple locations in Springfield, lucyschinesefood.com
The Deal: Half order of cashew chicken, $4.99
The Lowdown: This half order of cashew chicken comes with a pile of fried rice and is more than enough to fill you up. The chicken is rich and salty, and unlike most places that tack on an up-charge for all white meat, the higher-quality meat is the standard here. For only a buck more, you can get the combo and add your choice of an egg roll, six wontons or three crab Rangoon.
Skybox Grille & Lounge
1271 E. Montclair St., Springfield, 417-877-9595
The Deal: 50-cent wings on Mondays after 4 p.m.
The Lowdown: The hot wings at Skybox prove that some of the tastiest cheap eats come doused in sweet, spicy and tangy sauces. These jumbo wings are loaded with succulent and tender meat. If you’re in the mood for something spicy, try the burn sauce. It’s not the hottest sauce you’ll ever eat, but it’s got plenty of flavor. You can also load up with the pineapple habanero sauce, barbecue sauce or Asian sauce. For fifty cents a wing, you can afford to try them all. But pull up a chair; these cluckers can’t be ordered to-go. Skybox Too (1645 W. Republic Rd., Springfield), offers this yummy special on Wednesday.
601 W. Walnut St., Springfield, 417-866-9750
The Deal: Frito Pie, $5
The Lowdown: Even though this dive is closed in June, July and August, it has a loyal and hungry fan base during the winter months. One of the favorite menu items here is the Frito Pie—a cheesy, melty, delicious masterpiece featuring a crunchy pile of Fritos corn chips topped with Casper’s homemade chili and covered with a hefty layer of real cheddar cheese. The whole mountain of yumminess is then placed under the broiler, melting the cheese until it runs. If you’re worried about not getting enough veggies, go for the Frito Pie Deluxe, which comes with lettuce, tomatoes and creamy ranch dressing for just cents more.
Burger Bargain: Burgers at Whisler’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers are $1.55 each, or you can get two cheeseburgers, chips and a drink for only $5.25.
Whisler’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers
208 W. McDaniel St., Springfield, 417-864-5565, whislersdowntown.com (Editor's note: This restaurant has rebranded since the publication of this article. Check out Slider's for more cheap eats.)
The Deal: Hamburgers, $1.55 each
The Lowdown: These burgers might be small, but they pack plenty of flavor. Cooked to order, each slider comes on a warm bun, and when you toss on juicy pickles and melty cheese, it’s no wonder people line up for them.
Nearly Famous Deli & Pasta House
2708 S. Glenstone Ave., Springfield, 417-883-3403, nearlyfamous.net
The Deal: Pecan bars and lemon bars, $.99
The Lowdown: These homemade desserts are as delicious as they are cheap. The oh-so-flaky crust resembles a shortbread cookie, and the lemon bar is filled with a luscious lemon curd. The pecan bars are equally scrumptious with pecan pie filling and crushed pecans. Delish!
2415 W. Division St., Springfield, 417-831-0883
The Deal: Quarter-pound hamburger or cheeseburger, $3.69
The Lowdown: Don’t let its size fool you. Louie’s might by tiny, but its kitchen is pumping out some of the most delicious burgers Springfield has to offer. And get this—cheese doesn’t cost anything extra. Made fresh for each order, every burger is loaded with lettuce, tomato, pickle and onions, all settled on a pillowy-soft bun. And even though these burgers could easily quell even the most side-splitting hunger pain, we recommend throwing down a few extra bucks for a large order of homemade French fries or the breaded mushrooms or fried pickles.
2767 W. Republic Rd., Springfield, 417-877-7625; 317 Park Central East, Springfield, 417-862-7625, dublinspass.com
The Deal: $2 burgers on Tuesday nights
The Lowdown: From 7–10 p.m., single patty burgers join this bar’s happy hour menu. For two bucks, you can enjoy a plain burger, or add additional toppings for a slight upcharge. Drink specials run from 8–10 p.m. downtown and from 10 p.m.–close at the Republic Rd. location.
101 N. Wood St., Neosho, 417-451-3330, samscellar.com
The Deal: Wood-fired jumbo pretzel, $4.95
The Lowdown: This soft and chewy jumbo pretzel is reminiscent of those ballpark bites that always seem to cost a fortune. But these salty puppies are far from breaking your wallet. Fresh from the bar’s wood-fired oven, this pretzel arrives piping hot and plenty soft. It comes with a scrumptious and spicy ballpark mustard, or you can splurge on cheddar fondue for $1.50 more.
221 E. Walnut St., Springfield, 417-866-1111, pappospizzeria.com
The Deal: Pizza by the slice, $3
The Lowdown: On Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights from 11:30 p.m.–2 a.m., this pizzeria switches to by-the-slice only. Offered in cheese, pepperoni and sausage (made in-house), slices are dripping with gooey cheese and a special homemade red sauce. These hand-tossed pies are a thicker version of droopy New York–style pizzas, and they’re plenty filling.
943 N. Main St., Springfield, 417-866-8744
The Deal: BBQ Pork sandwich, Southern style, $6.95
The Lowdown: When talking about cheap eats, it’s impossible to ignore the beloved sandwich. Almost a food group all on its own, you can pile almost anything between two slices of bread and still bite into a taste sensation. That’s why we have to share one of our favorite sammies with you: the barbecue pork sandwich at Pappy’s Place. Heaping spoonfuls of barbecued pork are topped with creamy southern-style coleslaw before being sandwiched between a hamburger bun. This massive sandwich comes with an order of hot-and-crispy fries for only $6.95. Once you become a Pappy’s fan, take home some of its legendary barbecue sauce in pint and gallon sizes.
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