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

Posted by Holly Whitfield | July 25th 2012 26664 0

UPDATE: If you’re looking for the updated, 2017 version of this post, just click here.

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. 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!

  32. matt says:

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

  33. matt says:

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

  34. claire says:

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

  35. […] 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/).  […]

  36. 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 🙂

  37. CoRey says:

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

  38. Elizabeth says:

    Holly – can we get an updated list for cheap food? Please and thank you!

  39. EDuncs says:

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

    Poor student

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