Budget Beat

Lunch Under $10 at ZK Grill in Phoenix

Considering how many people think Phoenix is devoid of any culture, we sure have our fair share of kabob joints springing up. From Lebanese to Turkish to Greek, the kabob you get depends largely on where it comes from. We were excited to try out the Persian-style kabobs at ZK Grill. With three Valley locations and lots of rotating specials, Zaytoon Kabob Bistro (as it was formerly known) has a good selection for lunchers eating on the cheap.

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Some of the restaurants we go to for lunch really push the $10 limit, especially when you include a drink or tip. ZK is not one of those places. You can pretty much order any wrap or meal off the menu and stay under 10 bucks. Plus they have great daily specials if you can't decide what to get. The interior of the 16th Street location is a no-frills setup of booths and counter service, but the food is so cheap that we weren't bothered by it.

We tried the $5.99 chicken kabob and kotlet wraps, which come with a side of fries and tzatziki. The chicken kabob was moist and well marinated. The kotlet was unique, a mix of potato and meat pressed into a patty and then grilled. The kotlet was absent of flavor, so we'll probably fork out the extra cash and just stick to a classic lamb kabob or gyros next time.

ZK Grill also offers entrée plates with rice and pita and a variety of salads, like the big Greek salad, that won't break the bank. Their meat, fish, poultry and vegetarian options make it a great place to bring anyone. Our main complaint is that two out of six soda fountains were broken when we went, and, since they don't offer iced tea as a fountain drink either, our drink options were limited to Coke and Sprite. We stuck with water and decided to reward ourselves with a scoop of saffron ice cream, which is right around $3 with tax.

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Heather Hoch is a music, food, and arts writer based in Tucson. She enjoys soup, scotch, Electric Light Orchestra, and walking her dog, Frodo.
Contact: Heather Hoch