Eating Cheap in North Spokane

Thirty-eight affordable eateries from the 7th Rail to Tecate Grille

1911 N. Maple St. • 325-7751 • Lunch, Dinner, daily
The Rail’s about two things, see. Drinkin’ and shootin’ pool. The place is dark, lit up mainly by pinball machines, but the food — burgers, steak, fish and chips — is tasty pub grub, and the pool sharks are circling. You break. (DW) TRY Build your own burger ($8), Shake and bake sirloin steak ($8.50)

1724 N. Monroe St. • 327-4270 • Lunch, dinner daily (closes at 6 pm on weekends) | 1220 W. Francis Ave. • 509-413-2029
The original on North Monroe is a classic hole-in-the-wall with one table, two chairs and a line out the door during lunch rush as loyal lovers of teriyaki queue for the daily infusion of meat, rice and sauce. The new place is easily twice as large and even has a drive-through, complete with espresso. The menu is simple: chicken or beef, mac salad or pea salad (Fridays), full plate or half (or rice bowls). Aloha also grills burgers and sandwiches, and the staff is frequently cheerful and chatty. (KT) TRY Kahlua pork, offered Wednesdays and Saturdays ($7.30/half plate)

810 N. Monroe St. • 327-7040 • Breakfast, Lunch daily
An institution in the area around the Spokane County Courthouse, Alpine Bistro is a lunchtime favorite for the law community. And for good reason. It’s got everything a luncher would want, from the usual complement of soups and sandwiches to macaroni and cheese, spanikopita, quiche, a Nathan hot dog and bratwurst. Beef up before your next bail bonds appointment. (JS) TRY French dip ($6.75)

3827 E. Boone Ave. • 534-1212 • Dinner daily
The max you’ll pay for one of their dishes, lovingly described by their drink server as “bar food,” will be $12. It’s finding the place that’s hard. Tucked away amongst industrial buildings, this hidden little rhinestone will serve you a cool beer and a burger that will barely break 10 bucks. (TLM) TRY French dip with Swiss ($7)

2501 N. Monroe St. • 326-7171 • Lunch, Dinner, Mon-Sat
Don’t be fooled by the exterior, which looks like a former hamburger joint. Azar’s serves up tasty Greek and Middle Eastern fare and offers a free belly-dancing show on Friday nights. Established in 1980 by Najeeb and Najla Azar, daughter and current owner Katy Azar continues to prepare tender kebabs and savory dips from her mother’s recipes. (KH) TRY Lentil soup ($5), Gyro melt ($8), Hummus ($7.25)

4111 N. Division • 489-3630 • Lunch, Dinner, daily •
With an Alamo-meets-the-rainforest aesthetic, Casa de Oro is precisely what you want in casual Mexican food: fast service, generous portions, cheap food and a never-ending procession of chips, bean dip and salsa. We recommend the classics: burritos, enchiladas, tacos. And mucho chips. (DW) TRY Combo Mexicali ($8), Combo Tijuana ($8)

801 N. Monroe St. • 328-8911 • Lunch, Dinner, Mon-Sat
Not that I would know, but keep this in mind if you’re, say, having to go to the County Courthouse for business, or if you’re maybe hanging out while waiting for a friend who’s dealing with a bail bonds place down the street: Stop in at Charley’s. Their new Recession Busters menu boasts 10 items from $6.95- $7.95 with a beverage, and there are lots of appetizers to go with the full service bar. (MCP) TRY The works burger ($7.14)

113 W. Indiana Ave. • 327-7127 • Breakfast, Lunch, Mon-Sun •
Any place that focuses on organic, local food is OK in our book. Patrons beware: The menu may be affected by seasonal food shortages. The cream slush-colored walls and 10 percent off drinks for walking or biking to the café is worth the trip. For board game geeks, they even have a copy of Settlers of Catan. (JB) TRY Veggie pasties ($9), Hummus sandwich ($6)

10410 N. Division • 466-8434 • Lunch, Dinner daily
A popular lunchtime hangout for Whitworth faculty and staff, Didier’s is a family-run joint that serves shakes and frozen yogurt (with all manner of toppings), plus a small but sturdy selection of sandwiches, soups and burgers. Though the ambience is Spartan, it’s a homey enough place to take down a cup of chili or Mike’s Incredible Burger. Plus, there’s nothing here over our $7 limit. (JS) TRY Barbecue beef sandwich ($6.19)

1825 N. Washington St. • 325-9034 • Breakfast, Lunch, Mon-Sun
Recently remodeled, Dolly’s doesn’t have the kind of run-down charm some other older diners do — but it’s so small, it doesn’t need it. Dolly’s the perfect spot for a cozy, intimate brunch, whether you’re finally catching up with your mom or treating a hangover with hashbrowns and bacon grease. (CJ) TRY Eggs benedict ($9), Mushroom and swiss burger ($9)

1814 N. Division • 327-2856 • Lunch, Dinner, Mon-Sun
Owners Fred and Gilda Meyer got tired of driving to Pasco for authentic Mexican food, so they opened their own store. Stocked with colorful piñatas, dried chilies and house-made salsas, this bright, clean Mexican grocery has an on-site bakery and limited take-away food. You’ll find snacks, fresh produce and imported sodas. (KH) TRY Jalapeno-cheese tamale ($1.75), Grilled chicken torta ($5)

6409 N. Maple St. • 328-4764 • Lunch, Dinner, daily
Gourmet pizza always sounds good — but sometimes (to me, at least) an old school, checkerboard-tablecloth, pizza-parlor pizza sounds amazing. Five Mile Heights is a long-time north-side favorite — a place for pizza, video games and cheap pitchers of cheap beer. And they even have a mascot: Professor Pizza. Come on, that’s cute. (LS) TRY Cheese pizza ($8.30, small), Cheese and garlic bread ($5.40, full order)

331 W. Hastings Rd. •%uFFFD466-5354 • Lunch, Dinner, Mon-Sun
A North Side staple, Fizzie’s is karaoke dive-bar glory. Try the broasted chicken for lunch (a house favorite), or pop in at night for entertainment, drink specials and quality bar food. Specials are always changing and menu choices are pleasingly varied. Fizzie’s is spacious, has a dance floor, pool tables and foosball. (BT) TRY NY Italian griller ($7.50)

3903 N. Madison St. • 326-2405 • Lunch, Mon-Sat
This small neighborhood spot feels a little bit like being in someone’s kitchen. The Shoppe offers basic lunch fare, including soups, salads and sandwiches (cold or grilled). Owner Kristen Speller takes pride in offering high-quality ingredients, low prices and service with a smile. Scratch-made sides like quinoa salad and gooey brownies set this place apart from the chains. (KH) TRY Marinated portobello sandwich ($5.50), Granola bars ($1.50)

2710 E. Garland Ave. • 489-8543 • Lunch, Dinner, Mon-Sun
Walking into Ha Ha’s Grillhouse made me feel like I was back in Korea. The place is tiny and run by a group of friendly Korean women. Formerly Too Yong Korean, Ha Ha’s retains its Korean roots while adding Americanized soups and sandwiches the menu. (CJ)
TRY Garland Burger ($8), Daeji Bulgogi ($13)

2435 N. Division • 328-6888 • Lunch, Dinner, daily
Hong Kong Express is the sort of Chinese restaurant with a Coca-Cola machine in the lobby. But authenticity of atmosphere hardly matters. There’s a delicious all-you-can-eat buffet: Orange chicken, egg soup and kimchi. Big shrimp, little shrimp and medium shrimp. The one downside? There is a point, sadly, where you have actually eaten all you can physically eat. (DW) TRY Lunch buffet ($6.39), dinner buffet ($9)

601 E. Francis Ave. • 483-0467 • Lunch, Dinner, Mon-Sat
The menu at this friendly refuge from a gritty stretch of Francis is enormous. It lists Combinations, Entrees, Cooked on Char-Broiler, Side Order and, my favorite, Authentic Food. Mmm, You got all your teriyakis, bulgogis, two kinds of katsu and plenty more. A genial counterman steered a newbie to the lunch buffet as a hands-on way to figure out future faves. (KT) TRY Lunch buffet ($7.50)

927 W. Garland Ave. •%uFFFD326-0202 • Lunch, Dinner, Mon-Sat
Delicious. Fast. Cheap. If you’re looking for authentic offerings of the Eastern persuasion, Kim’s Teriyaki falls under the latter criteria. The ambience is nothing to write home about, naturally — but that’s OK, because if you’re coming here, it’s either for takeout or to satiate an intense hunger craving that must be met expeditiously. Everything is under $10: combos, entrees, wok specials, stir-fry. Bam. (BT) TRY Honey garlic chicken ($6.25)

2909 N. Market St. • 484-0015 • Breakfast, Lunch, Tue-Sun
This railroad car turned diner is charming with dark hardwood paneling and stained glass windows. In here an egg’s an egg and a hamburger tastes like a hamburger. No frills. Anticipate a wait well worth it. There are no tables and this diner bench has just enough room for a plate and a cup of coffee. Elbows stay home. (JB) TRY Short stack ($6.80), Cube steak ($8.85)

820 E. Francis Ave. • 489-4146 • Lunch, Dinner, Tues-Sun
The décor is cheerfully colorful, and we were pleased to find that everything on the menu is under $10 and the traditional Filipino flavors were interesting enough to make us want to come back for more another day. (MCP) TRY Pork Adobo ($8), Sisig ($10)%uFFFD

2901 W. Northwest Blvd. • 328-5500 • Breakfast, Lunch, Mon-Sun •
This salmon-colored stucco building is an ideal rendezvous for 20-somethings, mothers and grandmothers. The cafe’s gold-leaf mirrors and cozy wicker chairs are perfectly placed for good conversation and a bigger-than-average cup of tea. With a children’s play area and its proximity to Audubon Park, why not get out there and play? (JB) TRY Quiche ($4.79), Italian panini (6.79)

4803 N. Nevada St. • 483-0155 • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Mon-Sun •
There’s enough bear, moose, duck and deer decor to put Cabela’s to shame. The restaurant has just the right combination of small-town, roadside-diner charm. Chances are you’ll share a booth and some Jell-O with a regular. Look for old men with their hats and newspapers on the table. Simple. American. Diner. (JB) TRY Chicken fried steak ($7.50), Meatloaf ($6.50)

3402 N. Crestline Rd. • 413-1589 • Breakfast, Lunch, Tue-Thur; Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Fri; Brunch, Lunch, Sat •
A casual, relaxed atmosphere is helped along by the outstanding artwork by local artists on display and for sale. Friendly staff and inviting ambience makes this cozy café worth the drive to Hillyard. Live music on Fridays with dinner specials. (MCP) TRY Quiche ($4), Hot caprese melt sandwich ($8)

10411 N. Newport Hwy. • 464-1442 • Lunch, Dinner, Wed-Sun; Dinner, Tues •
Opa! bills its Italian/Greek cuisine as “food for Gods!” (We get it — Roman/Greek mythology.) Luckily, for the most part, Opa! can back up these claims. The food is delicious and comes in liberal portions. (CJ) TRY Flaming Saganaki ($9), Chicken a la pesto pizza ($17, feeds 2 plus)

9326 N. Division • 467-0123 • Lunch Mon-Sat •
This cafeteria-style eatery screams county kitchen. The plastic blue-and-white-checkered tablecloths and sunflower pictures on the wall are safe and homey. It often smells like bacon, but vegetarians don’t fret, there’s plenty for you on the menu. Great soups, tasty sandwiches and archetypal combinations made this a wonderful little lunch joint. (JB) TRY Milan Picnic ($5.55), Roma Picnic ($7.75)

10925 N. Monroe St.%uFFFD • 466-8080 • Lunch, Dinner, daily •
All we ask of our pizza, really, is that it comes when we call. But it’s even better from Pizza Pipeline. It’s piping hot. The crust is tasty, the sauce is saucy, the pepperoni has pep. One extra tip: Ask for the zesty crust. (DW) TRY 10-inch, one-topping pizza ($9.88)

2023 W. Northwest Blvd. • 327-2723 • Lunch, Dinner, Mon-Sun
One of two Rancho Chico locations in Spokane, this is the smaller of the two, filled with colorful wooden parrots and mariachi music. The food is fantastic and fantastically affordable, especially for lunch. I love the sopapillas and being called “Chiquita” when I walk in the door. (CJ) TRY Chorizo burrito ($10), Vegetarian chimichanga ($11)

921 W. Garland Ave. • 324-9718 • Lunch, Dinner, Mon-Sun
If there’s anything better with a bar than good food, it’s a bar with good food within walking distance. Rick’s is to the Garland District what the Elk is to Browne’s Addition: casual and smack dab in the middle of a residential area. It’s a classy dive with pool, ping pong and food competitive to the big daddy of Spokane bar food, the Swinging Doors. (BT) TRY Papa Burger ($7.75), Jo Jo’s Loaded ($6)

118 W. Francis Ave. • 464-3641 • Lunch, Dinner, daily; Breakfast weekends
Wings, wings, wings, wings, wings, wings, wings. Thirteen different varieties of wings from your basic BBQ to the Screamin’ Demon. Visit on challenge night for dinner and a show. (TLM) TRY Wings ($10), Korean-style chicken strips ($7)

9315 N. Nevada St. • 466-1696 • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, daily •
This combination event facility and coffee shop is a Whitworth-area landmark, with shows in the huge venue in back and students (and others) curled up, sprawled out and deep in concentration across the chairs, couches and fireplace of the shop in front. Most of their food is of the warm-it-up-and-serve variety, but the coffee and hangout-ability make it an interesting place to people-watch. (JS) TRY Three meat Italian grilled panini ($6.50)

926 W. Indiana Ave. • 325-3473 • Lunch, Dinner, daily •
The most expensive sandwich at this excellent little deli costs a dime over seven bucks (roast beef). Every sandwich is made fresh, and they have some smokin’ sauces like basil pesto, horseradish and BBQ. (TLM) TRY The 12-inch Avocado ($6.90)

4423 W. Wellesley Ave. • 327-1551 • Lunch, Dinner, daily
On a recent visit to Stadium Pizza, one half of the joint was devoted to poker, the other half to loud guys with pitchers. And sometimes that’s a perfect balance. What could possibly contribute to this equilibrium? Greasy pizza, an all-you-can-eat salad bar, burgers and hot hero sandwiches. (ND) TRY Salad Bar ($6.50), Salami hero ($7.50)

9820 N. Nevada Dr. • 468-9820 • Lunch, Dinner, Mon-Sun; Breakfast, Sun •
A branch of Twigs, Stix has a similar vibe — tall tables and chairs in dark wood and marble and lots of potted plants. Stix is a great place for a quiet lunch, whether you want to relax or have a t%uFFFDte-%uFFFD-t%uFFFDte with a business associate. The food won’t let you down. (CJ) TRY Southern BBQ pork sandwich ($9), Thai chicken pizza ($11)

1418 N. Division • 328-6727 • Lunch, Early Bird, Mon-Fri; Lunch, Sat •
Hard-to-find location off Division? Check. Plastic chairs? Check. Half-hearted sports motif and pair of noisy retro arcade games? Double-check. Despite its weirdness, Sub-Division has a lot going for it, including 23 different old-school, no-frills sandwiches and soup. (JS) TRY Division Street Special ($6.90)

1724 W. Carlisle Ave. • 328-4458 • Breakfast, Lunch, Tues-Sun
A simple menu in a cozy neighborhood cottage, Sweetie Pie offers comfort food for breakfast and lunch, including light airy biscuits, generous sandwiches and fresh fruit pies. If you’re feeling nostalgic, head for Sweetie Pie’s and order a slice of pie and a bottomless cup of coffee. Maybe life isn’t so complicated after all. (KH) TRY Biscuits and gravy ($4.50), Clam chowder ($3.50, Fri-only)

1018 W. Francis Ave. • 326-6794 • Breakfast, lunch, dinner daily
A crowded yet friendly sports bar, the Swinging Doors is the kind of place where middle-aged couples double-date so the wives can spend quality time with their Coug-obsessed husbands. Frat guys hoist beer steins every time one of the Zags dunks. The food’s plentiful, varied and good; so’s the service. They’ve just added a quartet of $8 dinners, including shrimp with fries and a chicken alfredo flatbread pizza. (MB) TRY Sliders and eggs ($8), broasted chicken dinner ($12)

3110 N. Division • 327-7313 • Lunch, Dinner, daily
While there’s not a lot of Indian food to eat in Spokane, Taste of India is really all you need. Their lunch buffet is up everyday, offering a mix of meaty and vegetarian items. If you settle for an entrée, get the Malai Kofta — little vegetable balls cooked in a sauce that is so good, I swear it’s made from the tears of the baby Jesus. (LS) TRY Malai kofta ($10), Aloo gobi masala ($10)

2503 W. Wellesley Ave. • 327-7817 • Winter hours Lunch, Dinner, daily
Rightly described as “casual upscale,” the dining atmosphere is a bit more Southwestern than the typical Mexican restaurant. Comfortable and plentiful seating works well for a small group or a family gathering. (MCP) TRY Tecate burrito ($8), All-you-can-eat-tacos ($5 on Tuesday nights)%uFFFD%uFFFD%uFFFD

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