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East Village Spots for Delish Meals Under $5!

Updated on April 6, 2017
Four yummy food options for under $5!
Four yummy food options for under $5! | Source

Cheap Lunch in NYC

I'm convinced that I live in the best and hippest neighborhood in New York City - the East Village!

Since my 'kitchen' is pretty much non-existent in my living room-dining-room-kitchen- office-hybrid, I have a good excuse not to cook anything that requires the use of my precious counter-space nor pots or pans for preparation. So I eat out, like all the time. But no complaints here because lucky me (and you!), my 'hood has some yummy, I mean, real mouth-watering cheap (read, cheap as in inexpensive and not an oxymoron) eateries that don't dent my wallet the slightest. Seriously, I'm talking food for under $5.

So if you're low on cash or you've got the munchies after a bar crawl (my hood's notorious for those), hit up these four crazy cheap order-at-the-counter and delish spots. And as a bonus, there's no boring same ol' pizza, Chinese take-out, nor halal stands on this list. You're welcome ;-)

I had a Jon Jon Deragon which is topped with cream cheese, scallion and everything bagel seeds.  Thus tasty dog just set me back $3.75
I had a Jon Jon Deragon which is topped with cream cheese, scallion and everything bagel seeds. Thus tasty dog just set me back $3.75 | Source

Inside of Crif's

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Check out the specials!I sneaked a quick pic while inside of Crif'sMy vegetarian friend got the veggie dog whereas I got the Jon-Jon
Check out the specials!
Check out the specials! | Source
I sneaked a quick pic while inside of Crif's
I sneaked a quick pic while inside of Crif's | Source
My vegetarian friend got the veggie dog whereas I got the Jon-Jon
My vegetarian friend got the veggie dog whereas I got the Jon-Jon | Source

Crif Dogs

This spot takes a simple hot dog and elevates it to a whole new level. Forget just the boring old ketchup, mustard, and sauerkraut. Topics at Crif Dogs include the highly recommended and super popular Spicy Redneck, which includes chili, bacon, coleslaw, and jalapenos; or my favorite, the Jon Deragon, which is like a hybrid hot dog-everything bagel.

The tiny hole-in-the wall location of Crif Dogs is pretty awesome because it's eclectic, the hot dogs are delish and inexpensive, and you can also drink up as you play video games as you eat.


Average cost: $3 - $5 per hot dog

Location: 113 St. Marks Place

Phone: 212-614-2728

Size: Small, but you can eat in

Store hours:
Sunday - Thursday Noon - 2:00 AM
Friday - Saturday Noon - 4:00 AM

Here I got two 'Uncle Jesse Baos'.  They're that good and cost just $3.50 each
Here I got two 'Uncle Jesse Baos'. They're that good and cost just $3.50 each | Source
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The Chairman Bao, which is a warm bun filled with a slab of Berkshire pork belly and topped with fresh cilantro and crushed peanuts.  At just $3.50, this is a steal!Inside of Baohaus
The Chairman Bao, which is a warm bun filled with a slab of Berkshire pork belly and topped with fresh cilantro and crushed peanuts.  At just $3.50, this is a steal!
The Chairman Bao, which is a warm bun filled with a slab of Berkshire pork belly and topped with fresh cilantro and crushed peanuts. At just $3.50, this is a steal! | Source
Inside of Baohaus
Inside of Baohaus | Source

Baohaus

OMG, lemme tell you, I LOVE the bao (buns) at this spot. All jokes aside, my vegetarian boyfriend is obsessed with the Uncle Jesse bao (tofu filled) and I can't get enough of the Chairman bao (pork belly). The pork belly bun is soft lardy goodness with a penut crunch from the nuts and dash of freshness from the cilantro.

There's a lunch special here: $15 for three buns and taro fries.

The hole in the wall joint has a hip hop vibe, with music blasting in the background and graffitti scribbled on the walls.


Average cost: $3.50 - $6 per 'bao'

Location: 238 E. 14th St., New York, NY (by Second Ave.)

Phone: 646-669-8889

Size: Small, but you can eat in

Store hours:
Monday - Wednesday, Sunday: 11:30am - 11:30pm
Thursday - Saturday: 11:30am - 4am

'Calamari' Dumplings at Dumpling Man

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Dumpling Man

Dumpling Man is another cute eatery I love going to. You get to watch the cooks craft the dumplings as you eat.

You can get 4 dumplings for under $4 and if you're a regular like me, grab a loyalty card to claim a your tenth order for free.

I also totally recommend trying their sauces ($1.25) although they also have a range of sauces for free such as their special sauce and Sriracha. But I do love the Asian Tahini sauce... yum.

Apparently also if you come by before they close, you'll get a 50% discount.

Average cost: Under $4 for 4 dumplings

Location: 100 Saint Marks Place

Phone: (212) 505-2121

Size: Small, but you can eat in

Store hours:
Monday - Thursday: Noon - 11:00pm
Friday - Sunday: 12:00pm – 12:30am

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Source
Click thumbnail to view full-size
Lines were out the door when doors opened in Oct and I was among the people who waitedThe Vegetarian biscuit my boyfriend ordered wasn't all that great.
Lines were out the door when doors opened in Oct and I was among the people who waited
Lines were out the door when doors opened in Oct and I was among the people who waited | Source
The Vegetarian biscuit my boyfriend ordered wasn't all that great.
The Vegetarian biscuit my boyfriend ordered wasn't all that great. | Source
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Which of these four options would you want to try most?

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Empire Biscuit

Empire Biscuit makes it on my list of favorites due to its uniqueness (it's a single menu item restaurant - the glorious famous Southern biscuits!) and it's open 24-hours-a-day.

There are 24 different butter and jams options, plus biscuit sandwiches, and biscuits and gravy. There's even a few vegetarian options like the black bean, rosemary and olives but my vegetarian boyfriend didn't like it much so refuses to grab anything there again (he claims it's dry and not good). Myself, not being vegetarian, became enamored with all the biscuits topping options like foie gras butter, head cheese, oxtail jelly, arugula-and-fennel butter and Spiced Fried Chicken, Pickled Carrots with Orange Sauce ($8.50). And if you can't decide, there are "meant for each other" combinations.

At Empire Biscuit, one biscuit with two spreads sets you back $4.50.

Average cost: $4.50 per custom biscuit

Location: 198 Ave. A

Phone: 646-682-9529

Size: Small, but you can eat in

Store hours:
Sunday - Monday: 24/7

(click column header to sort results)
Venue  
Price Range  
BaoHaus
$3.50 - $6 (all the baos are under $4, expect for the 'Wagyu Haus Bao', filled with steak, that goes for $6)
Crif Dogs
$3 - $5
Dumpling Man
4 for under $4
Empire Buscuit
All the custom biscuits are $4.50 (all the rest cost over $6)

Got a favorite cheap eatery in the East Village? Which one?

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    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Wish I was headed to NYC sometime soon. But the food sounds great, and at a tourist's price. Thanks for the little imaginary trip.

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 3 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      My mouth is watering! What a great resource for residents and tourists alike. Whether you're watching your finances or you simply want something quick, these are all great options. Thanks for the detailed information.