Editor’s note: The eateries featured in this story are evaluated using Reddit, Google, Yelp, TripAdvisor and staff experiences.
With inflation hitting hard, more people are looking for great deals on great food. Fortunately, Gainesville offers plenty of filling favorites for $15 or less throughout the city.
The following eateries feature menus mostly consisting of meals for under $15 and come with the seal of approval from Gainesville natives who keep going back time and time again.
Big Mill’s Cheesesteaks
Most everything on Big Mill’s menu is under $15, but university students and residents alike have enjoyed Big Mill’s cheesesteaks for decades. The restaurant got its start at a tent during UF home games and has been serving ever since.
All of Big’s Mill’s cheesesteaks are made fresh to order and served hot. The cheesesteak sandwiches are served traditionally, or you can order it with chicken. Or try one of their twists on the original parmigiana or pizza cheesesteak.
Big Mill’s also offers salads and a wide variety of sandwiches ranging from Reubens to meatball subs, burgers and hotdogs.
- Cheapest meal on the menu: naked dog, fries, and a 20-ounce drink ($11.65)
- Hours: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Mon.-Sat., 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sun.
- Location: 2111 NW 13th Street
Mi Apa Latin Café
Mi Apa mixes cheap prices with lots of delicious food. With three locations throughout Alachua County, the Cuban restaurant is serving up a lot of food to area residents. Reviewers constantly comment on the authenticity of Mi Apa’s Cuban cuisine.
A favorite on the menu is the Cuban sandwich (priced at $9.50), but a wide variety of Cuban American classics such as croquettes, Ropa Viejas, tamales, salads and empanadas are all under $12.
- Cheapest meal on the menu: Veggie Bowl (Cuban salad, sweet plantains, white rice, black beans $8.50)
- Gainesville location: 114 SW 34th Street Hours: 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Sun.-Thur., 7 a.m.-11 a.m. Fri.-Sat.
- Alachua location: 15634 NW US Hwy 441, Suite F, Alachua, FL 32615 Hours: 7 a.m.-9 p.m. Sun.-Thur., 7 a.m.-10 a.m. Fri.-Sat.
- Jonesville location: 14209 W. Newberry Road Suite B, Newberry Hours: 7 a.m.-9 p.m. Mon.-Sun.
Located right next to the UF campus, Crispy Baguette serves inexpensive Vietnamese meals. The name “Crispy Baguette” comes from the Vietnamese words, banh mi, a thin and crisp baguette often split and served as a sub sandwich.
Crispy Baguette also offers rice and noodle bowls, rangoons, pot stickers and exotic milkshakes (avocado and Thai tea). Fries, onion rings and some other traditional American sides are also available.
- Cheapest meal on the menu: 8-inch Vietnamese cold cut sandwich, a side, and tea or soft drink ($9.75)
- Location: 1702 W. University Ave Suite, Unit E
- Hours: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Tue., 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Wed. 11:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Fri., noon-5:30 p.m. Sat.
Mac’s Drive Thru
Already featured once in Mainstreet’s roundup of the best burgers in Gainesville, Mac’s Drive Thru has earned its way onto another list. That’s because it has a reputation for being one of the cheapest places to eat in the city. Everything on the menu is under $5.
Mac’s specializes in burgers but also serves sandwiches, fries and drinks.
- Cheapest meal on the menu: hamburger, fries, and small drink ($6.07)
- Location: 129 NW 10th Ave
- Open: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sat.
The Sandwich Inn has been open for over 63 years, making it the oldest locally owned restaurant in Gainesville. The economical, delicious food keeps residents coming back. Everything offered at the Sandwich Inn is $5 or less.
The Sandwich Inn is best known for its namesake, offering burgers, grilled cheese, BLTs and other famous sandwiches. The restaurant also has an all-day breakfast menu and sides like french fries, fried okra and hash rounds. The Sandwich Inn also offers shakes, ice cream cones and soda floats.
- Cheapest meal on the menu: Egg sandwich, small fry, and small drink ($4.17)
- Hours: 6 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 7 a.m.-4 p.m. Sat.
- Location: 110 NE 16th Avenue
Got your own cheap favorites? Let us know in the comments!