The mission: try to have lunch - for two - on ten bucks.
I meet up with my thrifty lunch companion and say, "I don't know if you're up for an adventure, but I heard of this place that's supposed to do a really cheap lunch, wanna try it?" "Sure" he says, "why not."
We drive to the vicinity of Priest and Elliot and start looking for Skip & Jan's
. It's a sports bar with crazy cheap lunch specials. We find it in a totally nondescript pink stucco strip mall. We've got to be honest -- the place doesn't look like much. It's the kind of place you might drive past dozens of times without even seeing it.
"Should we do this?" we ask one last time on the stroll across the parking lot. We open the door and -- oh-my-god -- the place is packed. As our eyes adjust to the dark interior we see that the space is big. The center of the room is filled with round 4-top tables, and only a couple are unoccupied.
We walk across the room and sit down at a free table. "Hey look captains chairs." A friendly waitress walks over with menus.
And this is where things start to get really good, because as we sneak a peek at the guys burger at the table next to us, it looks well ... pretty good.
We take a look at the lunch specials. It's bar food for sure: burgers, dogs, wings, tacos. But check out the prices. Burger with trimmings, $2.89. A ½ dozen wings with ranch dressing, $2.89, Natalie's pork ribs, $4.99. In fact there are 13 choices all under $5.00. Holy cow, these are 1970's prices. We're feeling excited. Oh, and all lunches include a large soft drink or a small domestic draft beer.
We order a cheeseburger with fries (that will set us back an extra dollar) and a chilidog with fries, settle into our chairs and look around. Ok, so men outnumber women by two to one, but there's an amiable, friendly vibe about the room. There is off-track betting in one corner and large flat screen TV's in the center of the room. But the place is clean and not too loud for people to talk and relax.
When our food arrives we are practically giddy with our bargain hunting good fortune. The cheeseburger is good. It has a nice char flavor, it comes with lettuce, tomato, and onion and a sizable amount of fries. I have had way worse burgers in my day, believe me. Our lunch companion says the chili on his dog is good and his only regret is not ordering the kraut too.
When the bill comes it is $10.51. I tease my lunch partner that ordering chili for his dog busted our budget. We laugh.