Cheap Eats 2010: Good Stuff Eatery

100 places that offer great food at low prices.

Why go: You might spot Michelle Obama buying lunch for her staff, and owner Spike Mendelsohn, a Top Chef contestant, is in the kitchen. The messy but manageable burgers sport offbeat toppings, but the thin patties retain the appeal of humble diner fare.

What to get: Bacon cheeseburger capped with a sunny-side-up egg; Colletti’s Smokehouse, with bacon, cheddar, fried onions, and barbecue sauce; turkey burger with avocado and Muenster; a deliciously sloppy chili cheeseburger with sour cream; Blazin’ Barn, a bánh mì–inspired creation with pickled daikon, Thai basil, and mint; milkshakes in such flavors as toasted marshmallow, black and white, and soursop-strawberry.

Best for: A comfort meal—nothing chases the blues like a burger and a great shake.

Insider tip: Soggy fries and onion rings continue to be a wet blanket. But they’re worth ordering—in the shareable “snack” size—to dip into the flavored mayos.

>> See all 2010 Cheap Eats restaurants here 

Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Petworth.