6030 Torresdale Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19135
Formerly known as Chink’s, Joe’s Steaks + Soda Shop has been serving affordable and delicious eats since 1949. With a quirky malt shop vibe, it’s no surprise that Joe’s offers a great selection of milkshakes, sundaes, cupcakes, specialty sodas and floats, all for under $5. In fact, the only dessert that comes in over five bucks is the Giant Banana Split, and at just $5.50, it’s still an affordable treat that can easily be shared between two people. For a savory and salty snack, a large order of crinkle fries with cheese sauce will set you back just $3.95. And if you’re looking for something that’s more of main course, the 80/20 sirloin patty cheeseburgers are handmade by Joe’s wife and go for just $4. A large Dietz & Watson all-beef hot dog is served on a steak roll for $4, or with cheese for $4.50. And the hot sausage sandwich (made with Maglio of South Philly sausage) is $4, or $4.75 with sautéed mushrooms and onions. And because no mention of Joe’s would be complete without a shoutout to the cheesesteaks, a small cheesesteak is just $5.50.
2000 Market St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103
The Coventry Deli is the next best thing to eating at home. Top-quality muffins, oatmeal, salads, soup, sandwiches and more are all made right on the premises. Stop by on your way to work to get a breakfast that won’t break the bank. A serving of creamy oatmeal can be topped with fresh fruit like strawberries and blueberries or nuts and is available in mini, small and large sizes – all for under $5. One of the most popular breakfast choices is the Market Street Starter. This hearty sandwich includes two eggs, the breakfast meat of your choice and cheese on sliced bread, a Kaiser roll or a bagel for $4.25. Other options under $5 include French toast or pancakes ($1.75 per piece), fresh-made muffins ($2), cheese or veggie omelettes and assorted danishes and other baked goods.
2491 Grant Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19114
Nifty Fifty’s is known for its friendly service, fun atmosphere and fresh, tasty food. And while the prices might not be what they would have been in the 1950s, it sure doesn’t hurt that everything is so affordable. Choose from six different breakfast sandwiches all for $3.79, or get three buttermilk pancakes, three pieces of French toast or two Belgian waffles for $4.99. Come back for lunch or dinner for Nifty Fifty’s best-selling, fresh-ground bacon cheeseburger for $3.84, or a number of other burgers that all fall under $5. Onion rings, fresh-cut fries and hand-breaded, all-white-meat chicken nuggets are other cheap favorites. And, of course, no mention of Nifty Fifty’s is complete without reference to the milkshakes. Made in old-fashioned milkshake machines and served in the stainless-steel containers, the classic Blue Ribbon milkshakes are just $4.59 and include flavors like coconut, almond, black & white and chocolate cherry.
200 N. 6th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Located in Franklin Square, SquareBurger is the perfect spot to enjoy a cheap bite while spending a day in the park with the family, or even a date. As the name would suggest, this Stephen Starr venue offers a variety of great burgers. Each burger comes in under $5, with the classic flat-grilled burger at $4.25 and the classic cheeseburger for $4.50. For just a bit more, the SquareBurger and veggie burger are both $4.75 and include American cheese, pickle, onions, ketchup and mustard. A split-grilled hot dog is only $3, or order the Philly Dog for something a bit more interesting. This all-beef hot dog is wrapped is Kosher salami and topped with onions, cherry peppers, plum tomatoes and mustard for $4. Also famous for its milkshakes, SquareBurger has vanilla or chocolate shakes with whipped cream for $4.75, but everyone knows that it’s the Cake Shake that keeps people coming back. Made with a Philly favorite, the Tastykake Butterscotch Krimpet, this vanilla and caramel shake is just $5 flat.
630 South St.
Philadelphia, PA 19147
Hot Diggity Dog shows that a truly great hot dog is far from ordinary. Here, high-quality ingredients and fresh and unique toppings transform this ballpark and outback barbecue staple into a gourmet treat. There are about 10 dogs available, and most come in at about $5. Choose from the Desert Dog (bean spread, shredded cheese, chopped tomatoes, onions, green chili sauce and fried tortilla strips), Southern Comfort (creamy coleslaw and Creole mustard), the Fiesta Dog (guacamole, lettuce, red onion, tomato, sour cream and a lime wedge) and more. Grab your favorite hot dog and a seat at the bar-height counter, and don’t forget an order of hand-cut fries! Served in cones and with 12 housemade sauces, these Belgian-styles fries are the perfect partner to your gourmet hot dog.
102 Rector St.
Manayunk, PA 19127
Winners of the “Best Pizza” and “Best Soups” awards from Philadelphia Magazine and City Paper respectively, The Couch Tomato Café is famous for its thin-crust pizza and delicious homemade soups. Stop in and pick up a slice or two of your favorite pie made with white or whole wheat crust (gluten-free is also available if you order a 10-inch pizza). A cheese slice will set you back just $1.99, one topping is $2.49 or get a gourmet slice with fresh, tasty toppings for $2.99. With options like the Green Goat (garlic-infused oil, asparagus, turkey bacon, tomato, goat cheese, pepper and mozzarella), the Barbie (barbecue sauce, chicken or pork, green peppers, caramelized onions, Gouda and mozzarella cheese) and the Florentina (garlic-infused oil, sliced tomatoes, ricotta, mozzarella and spinach), there’s something for everyone. The homemade soups change daily, but with choices such as tomato basil, chicken chipotle chowder and gazpacho, chances are good that you’ll find one you want to try. Order a cup with a homemade roll, crackers or croutons for just $3.19.