Poor and Hungry: The Ultimate Guide to Eating Cheap in Memphis

Posted by Holly Whitfield | July 25th 2012 12001 102

There are some cities where it’s nearly impossible to dine out while broke, but Memphis is not one of those cities. Here’s the official I Love Memphis guide to eating on the cheap.

This list is a work in progress, so if you know of a special, all-you-can-eat night or some other cheap food (think less than $10), leave it in the comments and I’ll add it to the list.

Lunch Specials


Thai Bistro (closed)

– Pearl’s Oyster House (299 S. Main): All specials are $8 or less, Monday – Friday, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

T.J. Mulligans (all locations): Your choice of daily lunch special for $7.95, or half of a hotdog with two topings, $6.95.

Elliott’s (16 S 2nd): All sandwiches and wraps are less than $10, and many are less than $5.

Bleu (221 South 3rd): The daily chef’s lunch special is $11, which includes tax and iced tea.


Pho Hoa Binh, Memphis, Tenn.

– Pho Hoa Binh (1615 Madison): all-you-can-eat lunch buffet for $5.79.

Bosco’s (2120 Madison): $8 express lunch, item changes daily.

– Little Italy Pizza (1495 Union): All New York-style slices are less than $3.

– Jasmine (916 S Cooper): Lunch entrees with an egg roll, dumpling and soup, less than $9.

India Palace (1720 Poplar): All-you-can-eat lunch buffet, $8.95 for adults, $4.95 for kids.

Fino’s (1853 Madison): Fino’s has a box lunch speical that’s $7.50 for a cold sandwich, pasta salad, chips and cookies.

Celtic Crossing (903 S. Cooper): Daily lunch specials, $5.95 each.

South Memphis:

Coletta’s (1063 S. Parkway): Get a 6″ pizza, lasagna or spaghetti plus salad and a drink for $7, Monday – Friday until 4 p.m.

East Memphis:

Grove Grill (4550 Poplar): A different $9 lunch special every Monday – Friday.

Dan McGuinness (4698 Spottswood): Your choice of one of three daily lunch specials for $6.95, Monday – Friday, 10:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.

– Ryu (5137 Summer): Hibachi with your choice of meat for $10 or less, or two or three roll sushi combos for $14 or less.


Mama Mia’s (255 New Byhalia): two one-topping slice and a salad or breadsticks and a drink, $6.99. Or, just get a one-topping slice or $2.79.

Eat Well Sushi (closed)


Dino’s Grill (645 N. McLean): All-you-can-eat spaghetti, $7.50, Thursdays, 5:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Hi-Tone Cafe (1913 Poplar Ave.): All-you-can-eat wing night, Mondays, 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. (wash it down with a $1 PBR draft).

– Buccaneer (1368 Monroe): All-you-can-eat wings on Wednesday nights, $8.

Buccaneer, Memphis, Tenn.

Chow Time (all locations): Memphis’ most mind blowing soul food / Chinese buffet is $7.19 at lunch and $9.49 at dinner for adults.

Weekly Specials

Trolley Stop Market (704 Madison): Different specials every weekenight. Tuesday is taco night.

B.B. Kings (143 Beale): $1 per rib bone from 2 p.m. – 5 p.m. every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Papa Pia’s (83 Union): Half price pizzas every Wednesday night.

Dan McGuinness (4698 Spottswood): Fish and chips, $5.95, every Thursday, all day long.

Patrick’s (4972 Park): Patrick’s has special lunch and dinner menu items that change every Wednesday.

Spaghetti Warehouse (40 Huling): Score a bowl of spaghetti with your choice of sauce plus salad and breadsticks for $5.

R.P. Tracks (3547 Walker): One special menu item every day of the week. Tuesday is Philly day!

Celtic Crossing (903 S. Cooper): Two-for-one Fish and Chips on Tuesdays means that you can feed two people for $11.50.

Onix (412 Main St.): Tuesday is two-for-one wing night.

Cheap, All the Time

Earnestine and Hazel’s (531 S. Main): Soul Burgers are always $6.

Lee’s Fresh Sushi (6646 Poplar): Sushi rolls are always less than $10 at Gas Station Sushi.

Gas Station Sushi, Memphis, Tenn.

Memphis Pizza Cafe (all locations): Half sandwich and half dinner salad, $6, all the time.

Jim’s Place (518 Perkins Extended): The food menu at the bar during happy hour has four options that are all $7.50 or less.

Caritas Village (2509 Harvard Ave.): Caritas is a non-profit community space that serves simple, delicious lunches and dinner every day. Plus, it’s a non-profit, so there’s no tax.


Have I left your favorite special off the list? Leave it in the comments and I’ll add it.

Author: Holly Whitfield

I write about what’s going on with Memphis music, food, arts, events, sports, people, and culture. Memphians love Elvis and barbeque with a passion that must be seen to be believed, but there is so much more to this place.

Show Comments


  1. nina says:

    ok, it's $10.86 but eat well sushi & grill has to be in there for the all you can eat sushi lunch. Bargain and none of the usual buffet feel.

  2. Richard says:

    The original Wangs Mandarin House at Park & Ridgeway lunch buffet is $6.50

  3. Natasha says:

    Half a Hot Dog?!

  4. Rebecca says:

    Simialar to Eat Well, there is also Ichiban in Cville, which is ~$8 for buffet lunch, including sushi, Chinese food, etc.  There is also Corky's buffet on Wednesdays for a cheap price, and an all you can eat Mexican buffet at Su Casa.

  5. critter42 says:

    Don't forget $5.95 Fish and Chips at Dan McGuinness all day Thursdays!

  6. Flying Fish has All You Can Eat Catfish on Wednesdays and All You Can Eat Oysters on Sundays. http://flyingfishinthe.net/.
    Bleu Downtown has lunch specials. http://www.downtownbleu.com/.
    Spindini does half price pizzas on Mondays. http://spindinimemphis.com/
    High Point Pizza does cheap pizza by the slice for lunch M-F. I am pretty sure they are $2.

  7. Andy says:

    I think the Flying Fish Downtown has 50 cent oysters on Sundays.

  8. linea says:

    Spindini has half price pizzas and wine bottles on Mondays!

  9. Natalie says:

    Finos is my favorite cheap eats spot in Midtown. Half sandwiches (which are huge) are around $5 or less – and super delicious!

  10. Andy says:

    I love this blog topic!  Here are a few of mine…  Celtic Crossing is cheap everyday.  Lunch specials are 5.95.  Tuesday is 2 for 1 Fish night so 11.20 divided by 2!   My other is Sidestreet.  They have a lot of cheap options anyway.  BUT on Tuesday you get 2 pasta dishes and an appetizer for $20 a couple.  Then on Wednesday, you get 2 steaks, 2 salads, an appetizer for $28 a couple. 

  11. Teresa says:

    What about the weekends? Are there any specials for those of us who only dine out on Saturdays?

  12. Jeni says:

    Caritas Village in Midtown.  http://www.caritasvillage.org/menu.html  It's an non profit so there is no sales tax too.

  13. Terri says:

    Dixie Cafe. Lunch everyday……6.29: Entree and 2 sides, rolls and cornbread. East Memphis on Poplar. 10 minutes or it is free!

  14. Leno says:

    Onix, Tuesday all Wings are 2 for 1

  15. Tundrea says:

    I went to Jack Magoo's (on Broad Ave., right beside Broadway Pizza) and they have a new lunch special with $5 burgers and $1 fries, so for $6 you get a great meal. *Tasty burger, folks!* Their menu is awesome and pretty price conscious anyway, though.  :o)

  16. Samira Jubran says:

    Tom's BBQ on Getwell (and Rains) has great food, reasonable prices, featured on foodnetwork twice!

  17. Brent W says:

    Don't forget COSTCO  $150 Footlong Hotdog and Coke.   One of the cheapest places to eat in town.

  18. Brent W says:

    Sorry $1.50

  19. Sannie says:

    Don't think you mention it, but on Tuesdays Celtic has a buy-one get-one fish and chips deal. It's pretty cheap, if you and your buddy split the cost of the one lunch. :]

  20. melynda says:

    Logans roadhouse has happy hour specials including a HUGE platter of nachos (enough for two plus) for $5 and super cheap other foods!

  21. Donald S says:

    $4.99 Breakfast Special at The Cupboard in Midtown served from 7am-11am daily

  22. scootette says:

    The Flying Saucers all have lunch specials, and I believe they are around $6.99. Usually consisting of a sandwich, chips and salsa, and a soda.

  23. Jon says:

    I have fond memories from 2003 of good and cheap lunches at the Little Tea Shop (we went there more than once). The Cupboard Two was also good; sadly it has since shut but they have a Midtown Cupboard that may be worth investigating. 
    Ellen's Soul Food, Alcenia's and The Gayhawk I have heard good things about; we also managed to do Leach's Family Restaurant  sadly that one is another now gone.

  24. George H says:

    Brent, is that after the $ 55 membership?  I'd say a $ 56.50 hot dog and coke is a great price.

  25. Margaret Banks says:

    Mulan in the Cooper Young District has several lunch specials, but my fave is your choice of soup or salad with two sushi rolls for $9.

    Also, Aldo’s Pizza Pies just opened Downtown on Main and has great East Coast style pizza by the slice under $4. A slice of cheese pizza runs about $2.65. Good size slices!

    For a taste of fine dining without the price, Itta Bena offers $3 appetizers during Happy Hour M-Th.

  26. Anthony says:

    Don't forget us "Lowbrows." Tops Bar b que has a sandwich combo (sandwich, 2 sides and a drink) for about $7. Jack Purdles has a snack box (2 pieces of chicken, frie, biscuit, and gravy) for $6, I think. They are two local chains I love.

  27. Katie says:

    $5.00 spaghetti and meatball dinner every Tuesday at the Green Beetle. 4pm-close.

  28. Courtney Ratts says:

    Qdoba on Germantown Blvd has $1 tacos on Tuesday nights. (limit: 6)

  29. Michael says:

    " Beijing " 6149 Macon Road. GREAT food and very cheap 4.95 lunch specials and 7.50ish dinner specials. It's across the street from the Bass Pro shop.

  30. Becky says:

    Eat Well and Thai Bistro are now closed.

  31. Matt says:

    You do not need a costco membership to buy food from the front or go to the pharmacy, for some reason not many people know this.

  32. Adie says:

    Correction to post re: Itta Bena… It is $3 OFF appetizers during Happy Hour Sun-Thurs 5-7 pm.  NOT $3 each!  Prices are pretty steep, so even with the discount it ain't cheap!

  33. matt says:

    Moes…. $5 burritos or bur. Bowls. On mondays, there Big.

  34. matt says:

    Tgif $3 martini’s and half off apps on Wednesday.

  35. claire says:

    Chiwawa has Taco Tuesday and Wiener Wednesday – both 1/2 off, I believe.

  36. […] Finally, avoid luxury purchases like video games and movies and eating out (although, in a pinch, there are some cheap restaurants in Memphis: http://www.ilovememphisblog.com/2012/07/cheap-food-guide/).  […]

  37. Sarah says:

    I firmly believe you should re-do this post, Holly! It's one of my most-used resources, and alot of it is in need of an update 🙂

  38. CoRey says:

    Ribeye and baked potatoe at Green Beatle Monday nights for $10, just dont drink many beers and it's cheap and delish.

  39. EDuncs says:

    Could you please please please update this? I love your blog!

    Poor student

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