Discover the best dinners for less than $15 in St. Louis. Grab your wallet and expect to return with some extra bills and change because it’s time to enjoy going out to eat without spending a lot of money and without substituting flavor.
Eating out in St. Louis is often a treat, an occasional necessity, but almost always more expensive than dining at home. However, with a few simple tricks and a little research, the indulgence of restaurants doesn’t have to be a drain on your pocketbook. You can save money without sacrificing the experience by knowing where to go (see below) and practice a few of these money-saving tips:
- Bigger can be better: With portions being the huge sizes they are nowadays, it’s easy to get filled up without clearing your plate all on your own. If on a date, keep it reasonable by splitting an appetizer and a meal to cut back on the overall tab if you know the servings are substantial. One main entree can also be stretched into two meals by simply saving your leftovers for lunch the next day; make sure you tailor your order to something that will keep and reheat well.
- Be smart with your spirits: Make your buck stretch further by finding the BYOB (bring your own booze) restaurants in your city. This will allow for dinner and drinks on a much smaller budget. Always ask about drink specials too. Whether it’s two-for-ones or just discounted house wines and wells, you can shave off a decent portion of the tab if you’re willing to step away from the premiums.
- Keep an eye on the clock: Happy hours are not just for drinks, as many places will offer food specials as well. If you are willing to dine earlier or later, you may be able to save on both your meal and your drinks.
- Have a nose for specials: Many places will have weekly specials, some every day of the week. Whether it’s the college cliché of Taco Tuesdays or half-price Mondays, get to know the schedule of the restaurants nearby and frequent them on those days.
- Sides can steal the show: Free bread or chips and salsa? Unlimited fries? Side salad included? Keep an eye on the extras and a smaller, lower-priced meal could be plenty to fill you up.
These St. Louis area restaurants offer something for everyone, with a wide variety of tastes to satisfy any food-craving mood.
Ethyl’s Wildwood Smokehouse & Saloon
8505 Veteran’s Memorial Parkway
O’Fallon, MO 63366
Be entertained by a volleyball game or watching your kids play on the outside playground while you wait for your food to be prepared to your liking. Bite into a juicy saloon steak that is prepared by searing it over an open wood fire for $12.99. Select from two sides that come with your meal, such as kettle chips, roasted apples, sweet potato fries and a host of other choices. If you prefer, pick your choice of pork, ribs, chicken off the smoker or any other menu item that has helped to make this place one of the tastiest spots to visit since the 1920s.
6504 Delmar Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63130
Like in the popular rock-n-roll song the restaurant is named after, you’ll find your thrill here. At least, you’ll leave thrilled that you still have money in your pocket. This spot is always hopping and sometimes offers live entertainment with an occasional appearance from Chuck Berry, who still resides in the area. Although Blueberry Hill is famous for its burgers as well as vegetarian cuisine, you won’t be disappointed when you order an incredible reuben, turkey and cheese or pastrami sandwich on a pretzel roll that’s served with fries. Add a beverage of your choice, like a hometown favorite Fitz’s root beer, and you’ll still walk away spending less than $15 for your dinner.
Gokul Indian Restaurant
6101 Delmar Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63112
Enjoy an authentic local Indian restaurant that is completely vegetarian and kosher too. Savor most full dinner platters, served with rice, for less than $12. Add a sweet, salty or mango lassi. Sample a wide selection of Gokul’s fare, from naan bread to muttar paneer and a variety of sweet treats, by stopping in for its full vegetarian buffet on Meatless Mondays.
Tortillaria Mexican Kitchen
8 1/2 S. Euclid Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63108
When you’re hungry for Mexican food, nothing quite satisfies your taste buds like the fresh and authentic cooking you’ll find at this local restaurant. Bite into deliciously soft homemade tortillas that gave the place its name, which is translated to mean tortilla shop. Even your wallet will be happy when you discover that everything on the menu is affordable. Tortillaria’s combination, create-your-own platters with several salsas to choose from are less than $13.
Hodak’s Restaurant and Bar
2100 Gravois Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63104
If you enjoy chicken that makes your mouth water without shelling out the bucks, you’ll be excited to visit one of the area’s favorites since 1962. Sit back and enjoy the flavor of St. Louis when you pick up an entire half-chicken meal, served with French fries and cole slaw, for less than $8. If you prefer, savor an entire roast beef dinner served with mashed potatoes, cole slaw and a vegetable for only $7. With these prices, you’ll be able to add some of Hodak’s famous wings or a hometown must, toasted ravioli, to your order.
View more great budgeting advice and Create Your Financial Plan today!
Tere Scott is a freelance writer and author of e-books and two educational blogs. She loves to research information to share. She currently resides in St. Louis. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.