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.
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.
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.
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.
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.