Cheap Eats: Dining Out on a Budget

By February 26, 2016Lifestyle

I admit it. I love to dine out. Part of it stems from my job, which has exposed me to a number of new, fun and delicious places around town, and the other from my lifestyle, which has me out and about with clients, business partners and friends for lunch and dinner. Last week alone I dined out nine times. And that, my friends, can put a major hit on your wallet.

Retirees, in particular, are focused on staying within their budget. I have learned this from my mother. Thus, in my travels and research, I have had the opportunity to uncover ways to eat light and stay within my budget. Columbus, in the past number of years, has exploded on the food scene with many small local restaurants popping up in neighborhoods all over the city. In addition, there are a lot of chain restaurants that feature small plates, shareable plates and happy hour or early bird dining that really allows you to eat well and the best part – stay within your budget.

Here are a few of my favorites. I hope you share some of yours.

Brio/Bravo: Weekdays from 3:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. some of the restaurant favorites are available for $5.95 and under. For instance, a 6 oz. Bravo burger with cheese and Tuscan fries is available for $4.95. A Caprese salad is just $3.95. Specials like these are available only in the bar area, which features high top tables and some soft cushion seating. Want to enjoy a glass of wine or a cocktail? Again, most are under $5, including a dirty martini. Find more at www.bravoitalian.com

Dirty Franks: Who doesn’t love a good hot dog and tater tots? With locations downtown on Fourth and in Westgate, this local favorite has made the #1 Cheap Eats list for several years running. Nothing on the menu is over $7. www.dirtyfrankscolumbus.com. Try it!

Brazenhead: Located in Dublin and in Grandview, this restaurant is known for a great price on nine of their signature burgers for just $3 each from 4 p.m. – 9 p.m. An amazing and tasty deal! www.hdrestaurants.com

Hudson 29: This relatively new Cameron Mitchell offering is located in Upper Arlington on Lane or in New Albany on Market St. “Get there early” offerings include fresh sushi, dip trio, and even St. Louis BBQ ribs, available for a reduced price from 3-6p.m.only in the bar area. Booths or comfy seats in the bar make you feel like you are not in Columbus. www.hudson29.com

Bibbibop: this Asian fusion-influenced chain can be found in strip malls or stand alone locations all over Columbus. And the good is so good. You can order a bowl, a salad or a roll with fresh ingredients featuring purple rice, your choice or steak, chicken or veggies, and it is under $10. www.bibbibop.com

Like breakfast? Some great food at relatively low prices can be found at Sunny Street Cafe, First Watch, or Bob Evans, which also features pricing for seniors. Some other local & less pricey locations include Nancy’s Home Cooking in Clintonville, Chef-O-Nette in Upper Arlington and Jack & Benny’s on HIgh St. near campus. Food trucks? This latest iteration on the traveling restaurant is a great way to stop and try everything from tacos to BBQ to pizza. There are even Food Truck Festivals dedicated to sampling your heart out. Look for one at the Columbus Commons this August. If you see one out and about, stop by. You and your wallet will be delighted.

Columbus is bursting with good food on a budget. If you are looking for the latest, Google “Cheap Eats Columbus” and uncover a world of dining fun. Do you have any special hidden gems that have become your restaurant go-to for good food on a budget? Share them with us and your friends at Wesley Glen and Wesley Ridge Retirement Communities.

Right now, I am feeling a little hungry. Gotta run…

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