You’re feeling that familiar itch to hit the open road and embark on an adventure. But between work, bills, and life’s other responsibilities, your budget isn’t stretching as far as your wanderlust these days. Don’t despair – there’s a solution. Some of the best meals in America can be found for less than $20 a plate. We’ve tracked down the ultimate cheap eats in every state so you can take a culinary road trip on the cheap.
From juicy cheesesteaks in Philly to spicy jambalaya in NOLA, authentic tacos in Texas to buttery lobster rolls in Maine, your taste buds will be thanking you for this budget-friendly tour de force of flavors. Throw your bags in the trunk, cue up your road trip playlist, and get ready to discover the big flavors for small prices in every corner of this great nation. The open road is calling – and for once, it won’t cost you an arm and a leg to answer.
Northeastern Eats: Affordable Dining in New England and the Mid-Atlantic
The Northeast has no shortage of budget-friendly eats, from lobster rolls to cheesesteaks. Start your culinary road trip in Maine, where you can get an authentic lobster roll for under $15. Lobster shacks like Red’s Eats and The Clam Shack in Kennebunkport offer overflowing rolls in a casual setting.
Head south to Massachusetts for a Fenway Frank at America’s oldest ballpark. Enjoy a hot dog and a beer while taking in a Red Sox game for under $20. Or grab cannoli and a cappuccino in Boston’s North End, Little Italy, for a few bucks.
In Rhode Island, stop by Haven Brothers Diner, a Providence institution since 1888. Open until 3 am, this stainless steel diner dishes out cheap eats like chili dogs, burgers, and milkshakes for pocket change.
In New York, grab a slice of jumbo pizza for a couple bucks or a hot dog from a cart for even less. Or head to Katz’s Delicatessen on the Lower East Side for a classic pastrami or corned beef sandwich. Open since 1888, Katz’s is a beloved institution where you can get a sandwich for around $15.
From Maine lobster to Philly cheesesteaks and everything in between, the Northeast won’t break the bank. With so many budget-friendly options, you can take an affordable culinary road trip and taste the region one delicious bite at a time.
Southern Comfort Foods: Budget-Friendly Bites Below the Mason-Dixon
The South is known for comfort food, and you’ll find some of the best cheap eats below the Mason-Dixon line.
Meat and Three
A “meat and three” is a Southern tradition where you get a meat, usually fried chicken, meatloaf or country fried steak, along with three sides like mashed potatoes, green beans, fried okra or collard greens. Prices are budget-friendly, around $10 or less per plate, at places like Arnold’s Country Kitchen in Nashville or Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken in Memphis.
BBQ Ribs and Pulled Pork
You can’t beat Southern BBQ, especially when a full plate of St. Louis cut ribs or pulled pork shoulder is under $15. Head to places like Lexington Barbecue in North Carolina or Payne’s Bar-B-Q in Memphis where a pulled pork sandwich is only a couple bucks. Don’t forget extra napkins!
Beignets and Gumbo
New Orleans is a food lover’s paradise, even on a budget. Cafe Du Monde’s famous beignets, fried-dough pastries coated in powdered sugar, are only a few dollars. Or fill up on a bowl of gumbo, jambalaya or muffuletta for under $10 at Coop’s Place.
The South has some of the best cheap eats in America. Treat yourself to comfort food galore without breaking the bank on your next road trip down South. Just don’t wear your Sunday best – things might get messy! Dig in and enjoy.