Cheap Eats

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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J.O.B. Public House
319 E. Walnut St., Springfield, 417-831-1158
The Deal: Two sliders and unlimited fries, $8.50
The Lowdown: The classic slider gets a name change at this downtown eatery. Dubbed “cubicles” to stick with the J.O.B. theme, these tiny treats are served with an unlimited supply of hot and salty French fries and come in a variety of flavor combinations. The Ham & Apple, a popular cubicle, is a bite-sized sammie made with country-style Dijon ham, a heap of tart Granny Smith apple slaw and a slice of melted Swiss cheese. They might be small, but each of these sammies packs an extra-large punch of flavor and is plenty filling. Of course it might be the tasty unlimited French fries that really seal this deal and make it a total steal.

2431 N. Glenstone Ave., Springfield, 417-862-7777; 2110 E. Republic Rd., Springfield, 417-883-3434,
The Deal: Not-so-tiny bites from the Tastes & Shareables lunch menu, $6
The Lowdown: Almost everything on Houlihan’s Tastes & Shareables lunch menu costs less than $10. One of our favs, the Chipotle Chicken Nachos, could easily feed three ravenous diners. For this Mexican-inspired favorite, a bed of crispy chips is smothered in loads of cheese, perfectly seasoned chicken and homemade salsa and topped with massive dollops of sour cream and guacamole. The lettuce wraps, another cheap lunch option, come with several crisp butter lettuce boats that are ready to be filled with scrumptious sautéed chicken, julienne vegetables and crispy wonton strips. Both the nachos and lettuce wraps normally cost a meager $9.50, but during any of the spot’s three happy hours, they’re only $6.

Bambu Vietnamese Cuisine
1338 E. Battlefield, Springfield, 417-881-9881,
The Deal: Six versions of the classic Pho, starting at $7.99
The Lowdown: This authentic Vietnamese favorite is delicious morning, noon and night. Essentially a Vietnamese version of the American chicken noodle soup, a rich beef broth is simmered for hours with fresh herbs such as cilantro and onions and then stocked with bean sprouts, basil, lime and jalapeños to add layers of crunchy texture, subtle heat and a fresh-from-the-garden taste. This makes any Pho noodle soup feel like a healthy and delectable experience. To “beef” up this brothy dish, Bambu offers Pho with brisket, meatballs, flank steak and the always-popular chicken.

Spring Creek Tea Room
107 S. 3rd St., Ozark, 417-582-1331
The Deal: Sandwich, soup, chips and a drink, $7.45
The Lowdown: Delicious soup and sandwiches are never further away than the nearest tea room, and one of our favorites can be found at Spring Creek. The chicken salad croissant here is among the best we’ve ever tried. The chicken salad is filled with sweet grapes, crunchy nuts and loads of juicy and tender chicken, and it’s served on a buttery, flaky croissant. For only $7.45, you can get it with a bowl of the spot’s cold strawberry soup, chips and a drink.

5 Spice Grill
2058 S. Glenstone Ave., Springfield, 417-799-0215,
The Deal: Signature wok-fired noodles with shrimp, $7.95
The Lowdown: The Signature wok-fired noodles are a crowd favorite, chock-full of crunchy carrots, celery, onion, broccoli and red and green bell peppers. The whole mess is coated in a garlic-ginger soy sauce and tossed with slippery linguine noodles. The choice of chicken, beef, pork, shrimp or a combo of all of those makes this dish especially hearty. And with mammoth-sized portions, there’s sure to be plenty of leftovers.

2710 S. Campbell Ave., Springfield, 417-889-9593
The Deal: Eye of the Tiger and Spicy Salmon sushi rolls, $6.95 each
The Lowdown: When looking for an affordable sushi lunch spot, Mijrui is always a sure bet. Almost everything on the menu costs less than $10. One of the tastiest sushi rolls—Eye of the Tiger—is a five-piece roll packed with salmon and rich cream cheese. This yummy, rice-encrusted parcel is then wrapped in calamari, lightly battered and fried till just crunchy. Total price is just $6.95. The Spicy Salmon roll is another juicy morsel at $6.95. Stuffed with salmon, crunchy cucumber and creamy avocado with just enough spicy Japanese mayo, this roll will definitely jump start your taste buds.

Chicago Cheesesteak Company
319½ E. Walnut St., Springfield, 417-865-1775
The Deal: Cheesesteak sandwich, fries and a drink, $8.60
The Lowdown: This hole-in-the-wall spot cooks up tasty, gooey, juicy and rich Philly Cheesesteaks that even Philadelphians would love. Strips of steak are marinated in-house before being covered with grilled onions, green peppers, mushrooms and a thick layer of mozzarella cheese. To add a little extra oomph, each six-inch hoagie is smeared with an olive oil, mayo and secret seasoning combo. The whole mess is then toasted, leaving strings of mozzarella trailing.

The Roost Bar and Grill
2025 W. Sunshine St. Ste. 104, Springfield, 417-865-4000,
The Deal: Chicken Marinara Pasta, $9.99
The Lowdown: Even a half order or this dish is massive. Back in the kitchen, cooks take a whole chicken breast, cut it into strips, bread and fry it, top it with green peppers, mushrooms and homemade marinara and place it on top of a bed of penne before dusting the Goliath with fresh-grated Parmesan cheese. Perfection! The half order is just $5.99.

Nonna’s Italian Cafe
306 South Ave., Springfield, 417-831-1222; 3512 S. National Ave., Springfield, 417-890-8300;
The Deal: Antipasto, $9.99
The Lowdown: This hearty appetizer is a cornucopia of salty goodness. It comes stocked with Genoa salami, spiced capicola ham, provolone, feta, grape tomatoes, black olives, Kalamata olives and artichoke hearts, all of which are sprinkled with a red wine vinaigrette and fresh Parmesan. This dish is only available on the dinner menu and is large enough for several people.

4121 S. Fremont Ave., Springfield, 417-882-0077
The Deal: Bibimbap, $7.50
The Lowdown: For something delicious and nutritious, bibimbap is a must. Served over a mountain of hot, sticky rice are piles of assorted veggies, including mushrooms, cucumbers, green onions and carrots, plus seaweed, kobi, egg and your choice of sweet bulgogi, teriyaki chicken, tofu or spicy shrimp. Douse it with some sesame sauce and stir for what will soon become a new favorite dish. And if you haven’t tried black rice before, this is your chance.

306 S. Campbell Ave., Springfield, 417-832-0077
The Deal: Sushi rolls starting at $7.95
The Lowdown: Kai is known for its scrumptious sushi. A favorite is the Sex and the City roll, a delicious cylinder of indulgence made with scallops, crab and masago and topped with tempura shavings and spicy Sex and the City sauce. This roll is regularly $9, but if you go on a Wednesday or Thursday night, you’ll catch it on special for only $4. Same goes for the Miami Vice and Yummy rolls, which are normally $7.95. Sushi for only $4? See you there.

Bair’s All-American Sports Grill
Multiple locations in 417-land,
The Deal: The Bronco Buster Burger, $8.49
The Lowdown: In the world of hamburgers, this burger is an Olympian-sized creation. Slapped on a cushiony bun, the oversized burger is layered with a thick slice of grilled ham, spicy jalapeños, crispy fried onions and blackened bacon. To top it all off, the entire pile is smothered in Monterey Jack and cheddar cheese. Holy yum.

Thrifty Tuesday: For a steal of a meal, try two tamales, rice and beans at Maria’s Mexican Restaurant. On Tuesdays, it’s only $7.50.

Maria’s Mexican Restaurant
406 South Ave., Springfield, 417-831-9339,
The Deal: Tamale Tuesday, two tamales for $7.50 during lunch or $8 during dinner
The Lowdown: You can get two homemade tamales on Tamale Tuesday for just $7.50 during lunch. And at dinner, that price bumps up a whopping 50 cents. Water-soaked cornhusks are packed with masa and tender meat including chicken, pork or shredded beef. The bundles are folded together and steamed for two hours. To spice things up, the kitchen occasionally adds tamales stuffed with carne asada to the menu. These tamales are served with rice and beans and come topped with a helping of pico de gallo.

The Burger Shack
1946 W. 76 Country Blvd., Branson, 417-544-9856
The Deal: Burger and fries, starting at $8
The Lowdown: These 100-percent-ground-beef, always-fresh, never-frozen patties can be stacked with up to 18 toppings that are always free and unlimited. With options such as fiery jalapeños, grilled mushrooms, juicy onions, firehouse mustard, pineapple slices and A1 Steak Sauce, it’s easy to create a flavor bomb of a burger. And the hot and salty fries that come with this tasty treat are hand-cut and made fresh.

The Eagle Drive-In
4224 S. Main St., Joplin, 417-623-2228
The Deal: Daily lunch specials for $8.95
The Lowdown: The daily lunch specials at this burger joint change day to day and are all priced around $8.95. Everything from prime rib and bison meatloaf to mouthwatering hamburgers make appearances on this menu. And when it comes to burgers, these aren’t your dad’s burgers. Eagle Drive-In has quite the array of burger options with items like Angus beef, lamb, bison and elk lining the menu. If you’re not drooling yet, maybe the brioche buns or the famed jalapeño corn bread buns will get you salivating.

Touch Restaurant
1620 E. Republic Rd., Springfield, 417-823-8383,
The Deal: Dr. Pepper Short Ribs, $9.50
The Lowdown: With a menu as delicious as Touch’s, it’s hard to choose just one item. That’s why the tapas menu is so wonderful—an array of small yummy options that are ideal for sharing. From tacos and quinoa to mussels and sliders, there’s something here for all palates. One tapas item that really stands out as drool-worthy is the Dr. Pepper Short Ribs. These ribs sit on a bed of spicy-sweet jalapeño mascarpone polenta and are adorned with an organic over-easy egg that dribbles fatty egg yolk down the ribs.

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