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Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Bloomington's Best Cheap Lunches

Categories: Wine & Culinary

Bloomington is a foodie's dream destination. From "International Row" on the famous 4th Street to award-winning establishments like BuffaLouie's, there's a seemingly never-ending list of restaurants to choose from. The best part? There's something for every budget. If you want to grab a quality meal at a great price, follow this helpful guide to cheap* lunches around B-Town. If we forgot one of your favorites, we'd love to hear from you in the comments! 

*For the purpose of this article, we've defined "cheap" as $10.00 or less.

International Cuisine

Dumplings from Little Tibet

Anyetsang's Little Tibet Restaurant
Head to picture-perfect 4th Street for lunch at a local-favorite Tibetan eatery, Anyestsang's Little Tibet. In addition to Tibetan food, the restaurant also offers Indian and Thai dishes. Lunch is served from 11:00 am-3:00 pm, and the entire menu is priced under $9.00.

This authentic Mexican restaurant located on West Kirkwood Avenue offers a variety of daily specials, all $7.50 and under, as well as a generous a la carte menu of items priced no higher than $6.99. Juannita's also serves complimentary chips & salsa for dine-in patrons, which means you get even more bang for your buck! 

My Thai
Serving lunch Tuesday through Sunday, My Thai is a local favorite when it comes to Thai food. They offer 17 different lunch specials, all of which are priced at $8.99. After you've tried one dish, you'll keep coming back to try the rest! During non-COVID times, My Thai also offers a lunch buffet that locals rave about — only $9.99 for all the Thai food you'd like to eat.

Restaurant Ami
Ami is a popular spot in town when it comes to sushi and Japanese fare. All but one of their Maki rolls are less than $8.00, and if you aren't in the mood for sushi, they have a variety of hot entrees, such as bulgogi, bibimbap, and beef udon, priced under $10.00.

Rush Hour Station
On weekdays from 11:30 am-3:00 pm, Rush Hour Station serves Vietnamese-inspired soups and sandwiches. All varieties of their banh-mi and specialty wraps are priced under $9.00, and select bowls of pho are priced under $10.00.


American Grub

Visitors enjoy a burger and wings from Bloomington's famous BuffaLouie's restaurant.

Bub's Burgers
Bub's is another delicious burger joint in town, but they also offer out-of-this-world hotdogs and chili, both loaded up with all of your favorite toppings. Enjoy a 10-inch Angus dog or a bowl of beef chili in a bread bowl for under $8.00.

Voted one of America's top 10 wing joints by USA Today, BuffaLouie's is a must for wing fanatics. Head to the B-Town staple on Tuesdays for $0.89 traditional wings or Wednesdays for $0.89 boneless wings. Although they're famous for their wings, you can also get an incredible burger, hot sandwich, sub, fish & chips, chicken tenders, and buffalo mac 'n' cheese for under $10.00 any day of the week.

Hinkle's Hamburgers
Hinkle's one of those classic burger joints you might see on Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives one day. The family-owned restaurant has been a Bloomington trademark since the 1930s, and their menu hasn't changed much since. They offer pressed hamburgers & cheeseburgers, chicken sandwiches, tenderloin sandwiches, and a number of sides. Nothing on the menu costs more than $6, making it the perfect lunchtime stop. 

Although it's a student-favorite bar on the weekends, Kilroys looks like any other casual dining restaurant during lunch on a weekday. Grab a table on the patio during the warmer months and enjoy literally anything on their menu for $10.00 or less. We recommend their famous breadsticks, pork tenderloin sandwich, or KOK-style BLT.

This local-favorite spot for pizza, stromboli, sandwiches, and beer offers a great lunch special: soup & slice, salad & slice, or soup & salad for $10.00. While you are limited to the soup & slice of the day, the options are always incredibly flavorful & delicious.


Healthier Options

laughing planet

inBloom Juicery
inBloom is Bloomington's first juice & smoothie bowl spot. On Tuesday through Sunday, they offer five different superfood smoothie bowls that are perfect for a light, healthy and fresh lunch under $10.00. Each bowl is very unique, and you can customize them even further with toppings including kiwi, cocoa nibs, chia seeds, and more for just $.50 per addition. 

Soul Juice
Soul Juice is the newest health-focused eatery in town. Although their smoothie bowls are pricier than inBloom's, they offer a variety of organic & vegan smoothies, waffles, gourmet toasts, yogurt parfaits, chia puddings, and Kamut cereals for $9.50 or less. You'll definitely feel at one with your health after lunching here!

Sunny Poke
If you're looking for a protein-and-veggie-packed meal, head over to Sunny Poke. The restaurant serves a small-sized customizable poke bowl for $8.95, along with a variety of noodle soups for $10.00.

Looking for more local food favorites? Check out these blogs:
Alyssa Davis

Alyssa Davis

Alyssa is the Digital Content Coordinator at Visit Bloomington. She's a proud Indiana University alumna, mom to four cats, and Formula 1 enthusiast. When she isn't at work, you can find Alyssa checking out the newest restaurants in the area with her husband, curled up at home with a great book, or planning her next trip to a destination near or far.