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Where to Eat on the Cheap in Milwaukee

J. Stephen Conn/Flickr

Is it possible to eat out and not break the bank? Dining contributor Ann Christenson says yes - and you don't even have to eat fast food, or at the buffet restaurant, or even at a church supper.

Christenson, who is dining critic at Milwaukee Magazine, compiled a diverse and sometimes surprising list of "Cheap Eats," which makes up the cover story in this month’s edition.

"I like to find these places that are kind of like little hidden gems or secrets or holes in the walls in some cases," she says.

Some of her recommendations include:

  • Anmol (711 W Historic Mitchell St.)
    Type: Pakistani
    Cheap Eat: $5.50 mutton, kabobs, chicken sandwiches in roti and paratha
  • Thai Bangkok (9112 W Brown Deer Rd.)
    Type: Thai
    Cheap Eat: Good Thai in the reasonable $10 range
  • Pacific Produce (Part of grocery store in 5455 S. 27th St.)
    Type: Asian
    Cheap Eat: A little over $3 for a huge Bánh mì sandwich
  • El Rey  (inside grocery store)
    Type: Mexican
    Cheap Eat: Daily $2 tacos

But while Christenson's found a surprising number of affordable foods, she says there is a limit to how cheap you can go before you sacrifice quality.
Case in point: taco night.

"I mean, there's higher end places in town that do taco night, $3 tacos, and they're really good tacos," she says. "There are also bars that do taco night and you're like, 'Oh my God!' Like, the next day you're thinking, 'I should never have done that.'"

In that vein, Christenson says to avoid places offering:

  • All-you-can-eat sushi
  • Pasta night
  • Steak night
  • Dessert night
  • "Saucy" specials - i.e. poor quality food/leftovers covered in heavy sauces
Dan Harmon was one of the original members of Lake Effect (formerly At Ten). He started at WUWM in November of 1998 and left December of 2015 after 17 years of production.