Don't confuse cheap with fast food. St. Pete foodies know that inexpensive quality homemade food (both sit down and take out) is an adventure like finding a Coach bag in a thrift shop. In my hungry meanderings, I've discovered delightful dishes with big taste for small clams. Tell me your favorite cheap chow joint; email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We're looking for under $10 treasures; the cheaper, the better. Stay thrifty, fellow tastemakers.
Downtown St. Pete
- Del Mar Gastro Lounge: Attention to detail in all the under $10 menu items and everything is baked, not fried. Best of show is the pot roast and pesto grinder sandwich, spicy honey Mandarin glazed wings and St. Louis dry rubbed ribs.
243 Central Ave, St. Petersburg, FL 33701, (727) 498-8610,
- Old Key West Bar & Grill: Parrothead laid-back vibe and most under $10 including my faves: soups (gumbo, crab corn chowder), sandwiches (barbecue chicken, pimento), the MacDaddy burger and Cobb salad. [Editor's note: See the Latest Review Here.] 2451 Central Ave, St. Petersburg, FL 33713, (727) 623-0969, http://www.oldkeywestbarandgrill.com/
- Chi-Town Beef & Hot Dogs: Even James Beard loved a good Chicago dog at Sluggo's in San Diego; he'd love the one here as well as the Sicilian beef sandwich.
165 Doctor M.L.K. Jr St N, St. Petersburg, FL 33701, (727) 329-8897
Bodega: Simply the best Cuban in town except for Stillwater's Tavern.
1120 Central Ave, St. Petersburg, FL 33705, http://bodegaoncentral.com/
- Shubee's Shack: Up front, G. David Howard performs his comedy shtick in Sporty's Bar Friday and Saturday night. Locals know that you get a hot dog and seasoned fries from the surf-inspired shack, then sip a cold brewski or cocktail in the bar while devouring your frankfurter. (Redington)
91 171st Ave E, North Redington Beach, FL 33708, (727) 329-8821
- Rick's Reef: This little tiki hut served awesome smoked fish spread, hand cut onion rings, BLT bites with key lime sauce, mac & cheese and all the local gossip. (St. Pete Beach)
6712 Gulf Blvd, St Pete Beach, FL 33706, (727) 826-0752, http://ricksreefstpetebeach.com/
- The Wharf: Cheap drinks, friendly folks and awesome view, this is where the savvy Tierra Verde crowd hang out. Enjoy the Bloody Mary a.m. happy hour, 21 beers on tap plus Tuesday's all you can eat $7.95 fish fry for lunch and $8.95 fried calamari that is light and lively. (Pass-A-Grille)
2001 Pass a Grille Way, St Pete Beach, FL 33706, (727) 367-9469, http://wharfrestaurant.org/
- Señor Taco: Friendly family and amazing food (marinated pork tacos, homemade tortillas, queso fundido, enchiladas) blow Besitos and other high-end Mexican joints out of the competencia! Small beer and wine list. Don't let the strip motel setting put you off.
6447 Park Blvd N #1, Pinellas Park, FL 33781, (727) 289-7080, http://www.senortacomexicanrestaurant.com/
- Tasty Pho: Next to one of my all-time Italian favorites (Campanella's), this tiny shop serves some of the best phos in town, from meatball to flank beef. Start off with mini shrimp pancakes or crispy shrimp rolls.
Park Plaza, 7430 49th St N, Pinellas Park, FL 33781, (727) 851-9997, http://www.tastypho.com/home.html