Cheap Eats

We scoured local restaurants and put together this list of our very favorite cheap eats.

By Ettie Berneking | Edited By Corin Cesaric

Aug 2019

Sliders Burgers Fries Onion Rings on Tray
Photo by Brandon AlmsSlider's burgers may be small, but they sure are delicious and cheap too! Purchase Photo

Cheap eats.
There’s a certain level of excitement that surrounds these two words when they’re used together. There’s the thrill of finding a terrific meal for an affordable price. There’s the excitement in learning that your very favorite steak house also serves grilled salmon, and it’s a fraction of the cost of prime rib. And really, there’s just something about knowing you’re getting the very best bang for every one of your hard-earned bucks. That’s why we scoured local restaurants and put together this list of our very favorite cheap eats.

Some of these items are truly cheap, hovering in the $5 or less section, and others range from $10–20. But whether it’s a $4 frito pie or a $20 plate of seafood-loaded pasta, all of these items are a terrific deal. They give you the most flavor for the least green, and more than anything, they prove that cheap food can also be great food. Dig in.

This article has been updated with new information 07/30/2019.

Less Than $5

Nearly Free

Urban Roots Farm Tomato Salad

2144 E Republic Road, Suite B101, Springfield, 417-597-4858
Part of the half-price small plates during Progress’s summer happy hour menu, this salad comes packed with veggies and garden-fresh flavors, all for a fiver (and a quarter).

Bacon Wrapped Peppadew Peppers at Jimm's Steakhouse

1935 S Glenstone Ave., Springfield, 417-886-5466
Come hungry and dig into a plate of Jimm’s most popular appetizer—or any of the steakhouse’s appetizers. Appetizers and drink specials are all $5 on Sundays and from 2 to 6 p.m. on weekdays.

House Burger at Flame Steakhouse

314 W Walnut St., Springfield, 417-862-4444
Flame is known for high-quality seafood and steaks, but you can also get $5 apps and bites like burgers, chicken sandwiches and portobello burgers plus half-price drinks during happy hour.

Sex and the City Roll at Kai

306 S. Campbell Ave., Springfield, 417-832-0077
Kai’s signature Sex and the City roll, along with other signature rolls and fried oysters, is only $5 after 9 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays through Saturdays.

Tortilleria Perches

1601 W. Sunshine St., Springfield, 417-864-8195 
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
The Deal: A cappuccino caramel fudge sundae, $3.49 
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.

Purple Burrito

Multiple locations in Springfield
The Deal: Two fish tacos $4.84
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.

Skybox Grille & Lounge

1271 E. Montclair St., Springfield, 417-877-9595
The Deal: 75-cent wings all day on Monday
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. 


601 W. Walnut St., Springfield, 417-866-9750
The Deal: Frito Pie, $3.99 for a small
The Lowdown: This dive has a loyal and hungry fan base. 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.

Where Kids Eat Free

It doesn't get cheaper than free. Find the places in southwest Missouri where you can get a cheap eat and your kids eat free. 

Free meals

Mini burger sliders
Photo by Kevin O'Riley

Burger Bargain: Burgers at Slider’s are $1.65 each

Purchase Photo
couple ordering at the bar
Photo by Brandon Alms

Order the Frito Pie at Casper's and take a seat to enjoy the atmosphere of this Springfield staple.

Purchase Photo


208 W. McDaniel St., Springfield, 417-864-5565
The Deal: Hamburgers, $1.65 or $1.85 if you add cheese
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
The Deal: Pecan bars $1.15 and lemon bars $1
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!

Dublin’s Pass

2767 W. Republic Rd., Springfield, 417-877-7625; 317 Park Central East, Springfield, 417-862-7625
The Deal: $2 burgers on Tuesday nights after 8 
The Lowdown: After 8 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. 

Less Than $10 

Pretty Darn Cheap

Lucy’s Chinese Food

Multiple locations in Springfield
The Deal: Half order of cashew chicken, $5.50 
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.

Sam’s Cellar

101 N. Wood St., Neosho, 417-451-3330 
The Deal: Wood-fired jumbo pretzel, $5.99
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.

BBQ Pork Sandwich from Pappy's Place
Kevin O'RileySouthern Steal: BBQ Pork Sandwich, Southern Style, from Pappy's Place Purchase Photo

Pappy’s Place

943 N. Main St., Springfield, 417-866-8744  
The Deal: BBQ Pork sandwich, Southern style, Small $5.50 or Large for $7 
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. Once you become a Pappy’s fan, take home some of its legendary barbecue sauce in pint and gallon sizes.

Pappo’s Pizzeria

221 E. Walnut St., Springfield, 417-866-1111
The Deal: Monday–Friday 8-inch pizza and salad for $9.99 from 11–2 p.m.
The Lowdown: Pizzas 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 and the deal includes a salad on the side. 


2431 N. Glenstone Ave., Springfield, 417-862-7777; 2110 E. Republic Rd., Springfield, 417-883-3434
The Deal: Chipotle Chicken Nachos, $7 during happy hour.
The Lowdown: Almost everything on Houlihan’s apps menu is pretty cheap. 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 option, come with several crisp butter lettuce boats that are ready to be filled with scrumptious sautéed chicken, julienne vegetables and crispy wonton strips. The nachos are normally $11.95, but during happy hour they are $7 and lettuce wraps are $10.50, but during happy hours they’re only $5. 

Bambu Vietnamese Cuisine

1338 E. Battlefield, Springfield, 417-881-9881
The Deal: Seven 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, $7.53 
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 $7.53, 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 during lunch
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 sushi roll for $8.25, and Spicy Salmon for $7.25
The Lowdown: When looking for an affordable sushi lunch spot, Mijrui is always a sure bet. 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 $8.25. The Spicy Salmon roll is another juicy morsel at $7.25. 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 sandwich
Photo by Kevin O'RileyThe signature sandwich! A Philly cheesesteak sandwich on toasted bread with your choice of Chicken or Steak. Purchase Photo

Chicago Cheesesteak Company

319½ E. Walnut St., Springfield, 417-865-1775
The Deal: Chicago combo $8.69 on Thursdays
The Lowdown: This hole-in-the-wall spot cooks up tasty, gooey, juicy and rich Philly Cheesesteaks that even Philadelphians would love. They offer daily specials and a favorite is the signature Chicago combo. Strips of steak or chicken are marinated in-house before being covered with fresh tomato, lettuce raw onions, oil, vinegar, seasonings and a thick layer of mozzarella cheese. The combo is served with fries and a drink.

The Roost Bar and Grill

2025 W. Sunshine St. Ste. 104, Springfield, 417-865-4000 
The Deal: Tomato Cream Pasta, $9.99; $6.99 for a half order 
The Lowdown: Even a half order of this dish is filling and it’s only $6.99. You get the best of both worlds with this pasta, AKA marinara and alfredo sauce. The cooks top the pasta with sauteed mushrooms, onions and blackened chicken. Garlic toast is served on the side.  

Nonna’s Italian Cafe

306 South Ave., Springfield, 417-831-1222; 3512 S. National Ave., Springfield, 417-890-8300
The Deal: Grilled Eggplant Sandwich, $8.99
The Lowdown: This hearty sandwich is a cornucopia of healthy goodness. It comes stocked with fresh mozzarella, roasted red bell pepper, pickled carrots, onion and arugula. It’s topped with fresh vinaigrette and is served on a perfectly-toasted baguette. 


4121 S. Fremont Ave., Springfield, 417-882-0077
The Deal: Bibimbap, starts at $7.95
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: Maki Rolls starting at $4.50
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 less than $5? See you there.

Tamales from Maria's Mexican Restaurant
Photo by Kevin O'RileyThrifty Tuesday: For a steal of a meal, try two tamales, rice and beans at Maria’s Mexican Restaurant. On Tuesdays, it’s only $8.95. Purchase Photo

Maria’s Mexican Restaurant

406 South Ave., Springfield, 417-831-9339 
The Deal: Tamale Tuesday, two tamales and rice and beans for $8.95 
The Lowdown: You can get two homemade tamales on Tamale Tuesday for just $8.95 . 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 $7.31
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: Filet burger for $10 during lunch on Thursday
The Lowdown: The daily lunch specials at this burger joint change day to day and are all reasonably priced. 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. A favorite is the filet burger that is offered on Thursdays. 

Happy Hour on a Dime 

When it’s time for a post-work drink and snack, head to these happy hours and try out these tasty specials.

Nonna’s Italian Café

306 South Avenue, Springfield, 417-831-1222 
Hours: 3—6 p.m. Mon.–Sat.
The Goods: Nonna’s doesn’t cheat with small plates when it comes to happy hour, it offers everything on its appetizer menu at half-off. The bruschetta, crab cakes and hummus all pair nicely with a beverage of your choice.
Must-Try: Fried cheese ravioli made with ricotta, asiago, mozzarella and cheddar. 

Flame Steakhouse and Wine Bar

314 W. Walnut St., Springfield, 417-862-4444
Hours: 4–6 p.m. Monday-Saturday
The Goods: Flame Steakhouse and Wine Bar runs happy hour food specials and the menu ranges from potato skins to mussels.
Must-Try: $1 oysters

Touch Restaurant

1620 E. Republic Rd., Springfield, 417-823-8383 
Hours: 4–7 p.m., Mon.–Thurs.
The Goods: Touch does something similar to its downtown counterpart Flame Steakhouse and Wine Bar. The restaurant offers discounted apps that range from fried brussel sprouts to seafood salads, $2 off wine and beer and $5 spirits. 
Must-Try: Encrusted goat cheese dip, $7.75

Ocean Zen Pacific Rim

4117 S National Ave, Springfield, 417-889-9596 
Hours: 3–6 p.m. and 8–10 p.m. Sun–Thurs.; 3–6 p.m. and 9–11 p.m. Fri.–Sat.
The Goods: Ocean Zen is running happy hour deals seven days a week. Stop in Sunday through Thursday between 3 and 6 p.m. and 8 and 10 p.m. and on Friday and Saturday between 3 and 6 p.m. and 9 and 11 p.m. The menu has lots of options for every taste bud.
Must-Try: Salt N Pepper Jalapeño Fried Chicken for $7

Haruno Sushi Bar and Grill

3044 South Fremont Ave., Springfield, 417-887-0077, Kai After Dark, 306 South Campbell Avenue, Springfield, 417-832-0077
Hours: 5–6:30 p.m., Mon.–Sat. And 9-11 p.m. (downstairs only)
The Goods: Haruno and Kai run an early-bird special between 5 and 6:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday. You can choose three of some of the favorite sushi rolls like the Sex and the City and Spicy California in half sizes for only $10. 
Must-Try: Crunchy spicy tuna avocado roll for $5 during the late night specials

Houlihan’s South

2110 E. Republic Rd, Springfield, 417-883-3434; Houlihan’s North, 2431 N. Glenstone Ave, Springfield, 417-862-7777
Hours: 4–6 p.m. and 9 p.m.–close daily
The Goods: Houlihan’s has happy hour daily between 4 and 6 p.m. and late night from 9 p.m. to close. You can grab an item from the shareable menu for just $5, and it can easily feed two people (or one really hungry human.)
Must-Try: Char-Crusted Ahi Tuna

Dublin’s Pass

2767 W. Republic Rd, Springfield, 417-877-7625; 317 Park Central East, Springfield, 417-862-7625
Hours: 3–6 p.m., Mon.–Fri.
The Goods: Dublin’s Pass has one of the earliest happy hours beginning at 3 p.m. and ending at 6 p.m, Monday through Friday. Most appetizers are half-off and fully delicious.
Must-Try: Guinness cheese dip and fries. A bucket of hand-cut fries and served with ooey-gooey Guinness cheese dip.

Big Whiskey’s

311 Park Central East, Springfield, 417-862-2449; 1440 W. Republic Rd., Springfield, 417-882-2249; 1550 E. Battlefield Rd., Springfield, 417-883-5999 
Hours: 4–6 p.m., Mon.–Fri.
The Goods: Big Whiskey’s does $5 appetizers Monday through Friday between 4 and 6 p.m.
Must Try: We are partial to the Buffalo Chicken Dip. Shredded chicken, cream cheese and buffalo wing sauce all blended together and served with warm tortilla chips and celery.

Less Than $15

Bang For Your Buck

J.O.B. Public House

319 E. Walnut St., Springfield, 417-831-1158
The Deal: Two sliders and unlimited fries, $10.50 
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.

Bair’s All-American Sports Grill

Multiple locations in 417-land
The Deal: The Bronco Buster Burger, $10.99
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.

Touch Restaurant

1620 E. Republic Rd., Springfield, 417-823-8383
The Deal: Mediterranean calamari salad, $10.75
The Lowdown: With a menu as delicious as Touch’s, it’s hard to choose just one item. That’s why the small plates are so wonderful—an array of small yummy options that are ideal for sharing. From oysters to goat cheese, there’s something here for all palates. One item that stands out as drool-worthy is the Mediterranean calamari salad. Fresh calamari is boiled and served cold with olive oil-tossed kalamata olives, onions, celery and red pepper and topped with fresh squeezed lime.

Level 2 Steakhouse

200 E. Main St., Branson, 417-243-3433
The Deal: Whiskey Beef Saute, $14
The Lowdown: For this appetizer, a pile of tenderloin beef tips are sautéed with Jameson Irish Whiskey, butter and roasted tomatoes garlic. Chowing down on this tender treat is a great way to enjoy the tasty steakhouse steak without racking up the bill. Pair these steak tips with a bowl of the velvety smooth tomato basil bisque that comes covered with puff pastry crust, and you’ve got yourself a perfectly affordable meal.

Ocean Zen

600 E. Battlefield, Springfield, 417-889-9596 
The Deal: Lunchtime bento box, $12.95
The Lowdown: The bento box is always a sure bet when it comes to finding a filling, inexpensive lunch option. Plus, knowing that you can get the mouthwatering Teriyaki chicken for $12.95 during lunch… Well, it’s a definite go to. Also packed inside this box is miso soup, half of a California roll, a crab wonton, two pieces of pork gyoza (fried potstickers) and an Asian slaw salad.

Jimm’s Steakhouse & Pub

1935 S. Glenstone Ave., Springfield, 417-886-5466 
The Deal: Hawaiian Chicken, $14.49 for a small 
The Lowdown: This joint is most known for its steaks, but even the white meat options are worth looking at. For this dish, a grilled chicken breast is marinated in a tropical blend and then topped with a freshly grilled pineapple slice. It’s served with a side of rice pilaf.

Leong’s Asian Diner

1540 W. Republic Rd., Springfield, 417-887-7500 
The Deal:  Dim Sum Sampler Platter, $14.49
The Lowdown: One eggroll, two crab Rangoon, two Asian barbecue ribs, Hoisin BBQ Pork and three pot stickers make up this platter served with Thai chili sauce and Sriracha aioli. From the crab Rangoon filled with cream cheese and scallions to the eggrolls that are plump with shrimp, roast pork, peanut butter and cabbage, everything is made in-house.

Tacos de Pescado from Cantina Laredo
Photo by Kevin O'RileyCantina Laredo offers an upgrade from your standard fish tacos. Purchase Photo

Cantina Laredo

1001 Branson Landing Blvd., Branson, 417-334-6062
The Deal: Lunch Tacos de Pescado, $11
The Lowdown: These savory morsels are a delicious upgrade of the standard fish taco. Packed with sautéed mahi-mahi, marinated vegetables, queso fresco, chipotle aioli and tender red cabbage, each of these three corn tortillas is bursting with flavor. 

Primas Mexican Grill

2101 W. Chesterfield Blvd., Springfield, 417-823-7180; 1769 W. James River Rd., Ozark, 417-582-2776 
The Deal:  Bistek Norteño for $14
The Lowdown: One of the great things about Mexican restaurants, besides a never-ending supply of chips and salsa, is build-your-own tacos. And the Bistek Norteño doesn’t disappoint with its tender, 8-ounce flank steak that’s marinated in-house, grilled and served with piles of rice and black beans. Served alongside grilled jalapeños and slices of fresh avocado, you can load up tortillas till they burst.

Less Than $20 

Fine Dining Steals

Dobyn's Dining Room at the Keeter Center

1 Opportunity Ave., Point Lookout, 417-690-2146
The Deal: Meatloaf Mignon, $18
The Lowdown: This dish is a carnivore’s dream meal. Meatloaf made from ground chuck and ground campus pork is wrapped in bacon, blended with mushrooms and topped with ketchup. Roasted garlic mashed potatoes, brown gravy and green beans come on the side of this mouthwatering meatloaf. Sometimes food just tastes better when it’s grown in the backyard.

Fire & Ice

2546 N. Glenstone Ave., Springfield, 417-522-7711 
The Deal:  Gochujang Duck, $18
The Lowdown: For this entrée, duck breast is pan-seared, topped with gochujang pineapple glaze and served with fried rice and grilled baby bok choy. The duck is a on the fancier side for dinner, but you still won’t break the bank with this entree. 

Avanzare Italian Dining

1908 S. Glenstone Ave., Springfield, 417-567-3463
The Deal:  Rigatoni Buttera, $17
The Lowdown: When you’re really in a mood for pasta, look no farther than the the Rigatoni Buttera at Avanzare Italian Dining. A large bowl of  rigatoni is topped with spicy tomato sauce, homemade Italian sausage, peas and a bit of cream that has us always licking our bowls cleab.

Haruno Sushi Bar & Grill

3044 S. Fremont Ave., Springfield, 417-887-0077 
The Deal:  Misoyaki Black Cod, $22
The Lowdown: It takes 24 hours for this black cod to soak up all the flavors of its saki and sugar marinade. The result is a sweet-n-salty delicate filet of fish ready to be seared and served over a bed of fluffy rice and earthy sautéed mushrooms, baby bok choy and other seasonal veggies. It's a couple bucks over our price limit, but we promise you’ll love it.

Bruno’s Italian Restaurant and Wine Bar

416 South Ave., Springfield, 417-866-0007
The Deal:  Salsíccía Sícílíana Con Funghí Al Vino Rosso, $17.40
The Lowdown: It takes the chefs at Bruno’s a couple of days to make the homemade Sicilian sausages in this dish. Two fat links are stuffed in-house and then pan seared with sautéed onions and mushrooms in a red wine demi-glace. The juicy links are plopped next to a pile of garlic-packed roasted Yukon gold potatoes, making an Italian creation that will leave you feeling stuffed and happy.

Metropolitan Grill

2931 E. Battlefield, Springfield, 417-889-4951 
The Deal: Jameson & Garri, $17.50 for a half order 
The Lowdown: This dish features citrus Mediterranean grilled chicken. To make this menu item even more drool-worthy, chefs add zucchini, sweet onion and red pepper skewers with fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and feta tossed in Tzatziki. Tapenade made from chopped olives, capers and olive oil is served on the side. 

Meals On Wheels

417-land is home to a handful of food trucks that offer some tasty treats and won't break the bank. 

FireLight Pizza Company

Springfield, 417-848-4541
Workers sling wood-fired pizzas that are made to order in less than two minutes. To find these super-speedy pizzas around town, check out the FireLight Facebook page.

Speedy’s Cowabunga

Grab a hula skirt and your appetite. Speedy’s serves tricked-out Hawaiian food including Hawaiian Chicken Kabobs, Aloha Honey Shrimp and Kalua Pulled Pork. Visit its website to find where it’s parked.

Pineapple Whip

1309 S. Glenstone Ave., Springfield; 1517 W. Battlefield, Springfield; 4228 S. National Ave., Springfield 
A Springfield dessert staple, pineapple whip is a light, low-calorie, ice-cream-like treat. At press time, the S. National location was moving, so check its website to find its new spot.


Want to know more about food trucks in Southwest Missouri? We've got you covered with a guide to the local food truck dining scene.

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