Head Backstage to be in the know. 

We want to take you behind the scenes, to give you insider information you won't find anywhere else. This is where we pull Bloomington's hip happenings together with recommendations from our team, first-hand accounts from project producers, and guest blogs by local gurus.  The Backstage Blog helps you stay in front of it all.

Monday, February 14, 2022

Bloomington's Best Cheap Lunch Spots

Categories: Wine & Culinary

Bloomington is a foodie's dream destination. From "International Restaurant Row" on the famous 4th Street to award-winning establishments like BuffaLouie's and Mother Bear's Pizza, there's a seemingly never-ending list of restaurants to choose from. The best part? There's something delicious for every budget. If you want to grab a quality meal at a great price, follow this helpful guide to cheap* lunch spots around B-Town.

*For the purpose of this article, we've defined "cheap" as $15.00 or less.

International Cuisine

Dumplings from Little Tibet

Anyetsang's Little Tibet Restaurant

Head to picture-perfect 4th Street for lunch at local-favorite Tibetan eatery, Anyetsang's Little Tibet Restaurant. 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 7 build-your-own taqueria plates at $9.95 or less, as well as an a la carte menu of items priced no higher than $8.99. 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, from massaman curry to orange chicken, all of which are priced at $9.99. After you've tried one dish, you'll keep coming back to try the rest! 

Restaurant Ami

Restaurant Ami is a popular spot in town when it comes to sushi and Japanese fare. All but four of their 30 Maki rolls are less than $10.00, 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.

American Grub

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

Bub's Burgers

Bub's Burgers & Ice Cream is a delicious burger joint in town that also offers out-of-this-world hotdogs and chili, both loaded up with all of your favorite toppings. You can enjoy a 10-inch Angus dog or a bowl of beef chili in a bread bowl for under $10.00, or if you're feeling a burger, you can order a quarter-pound beef or elk burger for under $13.00.


Voted one of America's Top 10 Wing Joints by USA Today, BuffaLouie's is a must for wing fanatics. 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 $12.00 any day of the week.

Hinkle's Hamburgers

Hinkle's Hamburgers one of those classic burger joints you might see on Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives one day. The family-owned restaurant has been a Bloomington staple 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 — none of it priced at more than $8.00, making it the perfect lunchtime stop. 


Lennie's is a local-favorite spot for pizza, Stromboli, sandwiches, and beer. They offer a great lunch special: soup & slice, salad & slice, or soup & salad for $11.25 and under. While you are limited to the soup and slice of the day, the options are always incredibly flavorful & delicious.

Healthier Options

A smoothie bowl from Soul Juice

inBloom Juicery

inBloom Juicery is Bloomington's original juice & smoothie bowl spot. On Tuesday through Sunday, they offer two different superfood smoothie bowls that are perfect for a healthy and fresh lunch under $10.25. Both bowls are 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. They offer a variety of organic & vegan bowls, smoothies, waffles, gourmet toasts, yogurt parfaits, chia puddings, and oatmeals for $12.00 or less. You'll definitely feel at one with your health after lunching here!

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

Alyssa Davis

Alyssa is a former Digital Content Coordinator at Visit Bloomington.