Food Challenge: Dining for a Buck

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

When we heard about the two Social Justice teachers who went on a "Dollar a Day Diet" back in 2008 (they're now working on a book deal) and Rebecca Currie's follow-up project on healthy eating for a dollar a day, we thought they all must be crazy.

We can't even eat for a dollar a meal, much less a dollar a day. And if we did try to eat out for a buck, we'd be limited to Mickie D's dollar menu. Right?


Turns out there are a few tasty treats you can score around town for a one-spot. We're certain there are more dollar deals to be found, so feel free to add your fave in the comments below. 

  • Pittsburgh Willy's, the little gourmet hot dog joint tucked inside the Merchant Square Antiques Mall at 1509 N. Arizona Avenue in Chandler, has 95-cent pierogies. It's unlikely that you'll be able to eat just one of these puppies, but if you've got a little extra pocket change, you can spring for a bbq chipped ham slider ($1.50) or the Li'l Willy, a 1/8 lb. hot dog ($2).
  • It's still "buy one, get one for a buck" during reverse happy hour from 8 p.m.- close Sunday and 9 p.m.- close Monday through Thursday at Kabuki Japanese Restaurant.

    You'll have to buy an order of dumplings, edamame or sushi (or a drink) at regular price before you get your dollar dish, but if you can convince a friend to order some sake or a glass of Cedar Brook wine at full price, you can walk out leaving just a buck behind.

  • McDonald's may have started the trend, but now Wendy's, Arby's and a bunch of other fast food restaurants offer dollar menus. If there's no convenient alternative to fast food, Sonic is one of our faves, with dollar selections including a Fritos chili cheese wrap, jr. breakfast burrito or deluxe burger and a vanilla ice cream cone. Valley staple Filiberto's also has 99-cent shredded beef or shredded chicken tacos on Tuesdays at select locations.  
  • It's easy to find tacos under a buck in Phoenix, but harder to find ones that aren't greasy or made with "Grade D, But Edible" meat (don't laugh, we spotted a box of this once at a college cafeteria) at that price point. The 99-cent street tacos at El Nopalito at 2831 N 24th St. in Phoenix are a reliable choice -- decent quality meat with onions and cilantro in a soft corn tortilla.
  • If you're looking at cooking on the cheap, the Arizona Farmers Bureau puts out a quarterly list of recipes using ingredients that have gone down in price recently. They've got pretty decent selections, from waldorf salad to meatball subs and chili egg puffs. While it's not a dollar menu, if you get creative you can probably dine for a buck or two per serving each day. 

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.