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Five Out-Of-The-Way, Inexpensive Grand Rapids Restaurants

Okay, I admit it. I am a cheap bastard. I don’t like paying a lot for food when I go out. This skill has allowed me to find some pretty darn good dining spots for those on a budget.

Here are five of my favorites.

1. Lai Thai Kitchen, 1621 Leonard NE.

Situated in a non-descript strip mall, a friend turned me onto this place a few years ago because of their great all you can eat lunch buffet. I have since found out they have some pretty good dinner delights as well. What makes them exceptional is their ability to offer a pretty wide ranging Asian menu at an affordable price. Come for the Pho with steak, stay for the many varieties of Pad Thai.

2. Zesty Gyros, 1971 East Beltline.

Just south of the Knapp Corners Meijer, this hidden gem will fill any Mediterrean dining dish you’re missing in your life. The Chicken Shawarma is delicious enough, but you can get a shawarma/gyros combo plate for under ten bucks. Order the Black Castle platter, you won’t regret it.

3. The Elbow Room, 501 Fuller NE.

Sometimes you just need a good burger from a dive bar. The thing about that is I wouldn’t call the Elbow Room a dive bar. Nicely appointed, the atmosphere and the burgers are really good,┬áif a little crowded on a Friday night (which is a good sign). I was once told the bar was a hang out for guys who just got out of the County lock up across the street. If that’s the case, those guys know a good burger when they smell it.

4. Fat Boy, 2450 Plainfield NE.

Too many diners have veered away from the simple things that make diners great like good coffee and a solid line up of omelettes. It’s a simple menu, but it’s good and low priced. I’ve never been to Fat Boy for anything but their magnificant breakfast, but if the burgers are half as good as their ‘kitchen sink’ omellette, it’s worth the trip as well. Fat Boy is what a diner should be.

5. The Grist Mill, 8000 Cannonsburg Rd NE

Located in the only gas station in Cannonsburg, I stumbled upon this little treat while biking one summer afternoon and needed sustenence to pedal back home. I’ve been coming back without my bike ever since. The deli not only has a full selection of good sandwiches, they also offer up salads and homemade sausages. A nice place to stop after an active afternoon hiking in the fall or skiing in the winter.

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