News & Politics

Dirt Cheap Eats 2009: Lunch Steals

Think lunching for less than $15 at a special-occasion dining room like Kinkead’s is impossible? Not these days.

That’s a happy meal: a juicy burger, fries, and a soda are $8.99 at BGR the Burger Joint. Photograph by Stacy Zarin-Goldberg.

For more Dirt Cheap Eats click here

BGR the Burger Joint (locations in Bethesda, Old Town Alexandria, and Dupont Circle). The tab can add up quickly at these family-friendly places, but it’d be a shame to skip the thick-cut Yukon Gold fries. To try it all on the cheap, go weekdays from 11 to 2 for the “box set”: a cheeseless burger, fries, and a soft drink for $8.99 (veggie burger $1 extra).

Good Stuff Eatery. Capitol Hill staffers form long lines for Top Chef alum Spike Mendelsohn’s thin but juicy burgers; even Michelle Obama is a fan. Weekdays from 11:30 to 2:30, a cheeseburger, hand-cut fries, and a soda are packed into the $10 “lunch bag” special.

Grapeseed. This wine-centric bistro goes a bit more casual during the day, offering an appetizer and a main course—such as fish tacos with avocado and lime and grilled salmon with shiitake salad—for $12 Tuesday through Friday.

Kinkead’s. At this DC seafood institution, lunch entrées ring in around $20, but daily between 11:30 and 2:30 at the bar (our favorite place to sit) and cafe, $12 will get you a sandwich—crispy cod, oyster po’ boy, pork Cuban, or chicken—with a cup of Bob Kinkead’s signature clam chowder or the day’s special soup.

The Majestic. Grab a leather-backed bar stool at this comfort-food cafe between 11:30 and 2:30 weekdays for the $12 “royal pick” special—an entrée (selections range from a cheeseburger to bratwurst to barramundi to seafood stew) and an iced tea or soda.

Proof. The $12 “lunch crush” special—your choice of six entrées plus a glass of wine—at this Penn Quarter wine bar features such gourmet options as a shrimp burger and a Wagyu steak and cheese. It’s available weekdays 11:30 till 2.

Restaurant Eve. A top-ten restaurant on a dirt-cheap budget? Yes, with the “lickity-split” special weekdays from 11:30 till 4 at this elegant Old Town spot. Snag a seat at the cozy bar and order any two dishes from a short list of appetizers, entrées, drinks, and desserts for $13.50. The menu changes, but two of our favorites—the Irish “BLT” and the birthday cake—are always available.

Teatro Goldoni. Dinner prices in this Italian dining room reach the expense-account stratosphere, which makes the $13.95 bar lunch—an entrée from a special menu and a glass of wine—served weekdays from 11:30 to 2 that much more of a steal.

Vermilion. Monday through Friday from 11:30 to 3, you can score Anthony Chittum’s robust cooking for $11. The midday “intern” special features a small green salad, a cup of butternut-squash soup, and half a roasted-portobello sandwich.

>> See all Dirt Cheap Eats Restaurants   

Don’t Miss Another Big Story—Get Our Weekend Newsletter

Our most popular stories of the week, sent every Saturday.

Or, see all of our newsletters. By signing up, you agree to our terms.