"You want fries with that?"
This is the siren song for any cheap eater. It means a very large plate of some sort of meat or veggie scramble will soon appear in front of them, whether it's at a diner, a burger joint or a bar that just so happens to serve the best breakfast after 3 am. On the side will be a pile of thinly sliced Idaho russets. With one bite, the cheap eater will, once again, know the beauty that can only come from the truly fattening.
This is the way of the cheap eater. So is knowing the best place to find pho, tongue burritos that take two hands to handle or sushi rolls full of soft-shell crab—that won't make you crabby when you get the bill.
That's why we Willamette Week-ers devote a good portion of our winter (and our stomachs) to packing on the pounds in search of the best cheap eats this city has to offer. We've included 150-plus artery-clogging, hangover-easing joints for your enjoyment. We've also made sure to pick out some awesome places for pizza, breakfast and square deals—even some spots for free eats. Plus, writer Mike Thelin artfully displays the "perfect Portland plate"—a.k.a., what a cheap eater should be taking to their next barbecue/picnic/tailgater.
If you don't find your favorite place to eat, there might be a few reasons why:
1. Each fall we publish another guide to P-town's fine dining establishments. It might've ended up there. (Psst: That's where Pok Pok is.)
2. To be considered a "cheap eat" means breakfast and lunch must cost $10 or less (dinner around $15), or the place just serves really huge portions at hard-to-believe prices.
3. I'm sure some of your soon-to-be personal favorites are here, as well as a few that aren't (sorry, we can't go everywhere—we tried). We also may have never heard of the place. If so, we want to know about it. Call us. Send us an email. Whatever you do, LET US KNOW!
And, even though we've triple-checked all the info printed here, we know that restaurants change quicker than Britney Spears' hairstyle. Many places keep longer hours in the summertime, for instance, so call before you go.
Byron Beck, Special Sections Editor
PUBLISHER: Shawna McKeown
Editor: Byron Beck
Assistant Editor: Ben Waterhouse
Copy Editors: Kat Hyatt, Matt Buckingham
Contributors: Angela Allen, Elianna Bar-El, Stephen Marc Beaudoin, Michael Byrne, Bradley Campbell, Kyle S. Cassidy, Lizzy A. Caston, Sue Ceswick, Kelly Clarke, Shoshanna Cohen, Liz Crain, Kat Hyatt, Ian Gillingham, Nigel Jaquiss, Casey Jarman, Issac Kaplan-Woolner, AP Kryza, Lance Kramer, Jessica Machado, Amy G. McCullough, Richard Meeker, Aaron W. Mesh, Joanna L. Miller, Carin Moonin, Becky Ohlsen, Brian Panganiban, Paige Richmond, Anika Sabin, Jason Simms, Laura Shinn, Beth Slovic, Nate Smith, Hank Stern, Mike Thelin, Miriam Wolf
Art Director: Tom Humphrey
Designers: Erik Blad, Brian Brown, Thomas Cobb, Maggie Gardner, Tom Humphrey, Cari Vander Yacht, Matt Wong
Photographers: Jaclyn Campanaro, Tom Humphrey, Tom Oliver, Missy Prince, Jason Quigley, Faulkner Short, Matt Wong
View all of our restaurant reviews in the Food Finder
Introduction: Cheap Eats 2007.
The Perfect Portland Takeout Place: Build your own four-star meal.
Hot Chefs, Cheap Eats: Where the pros eat cheap.
Breakfast and Brunch: Five faves with estimated wait times.
Pizza Places: The holy 'za on your terms.
Square Deals: Dirt cheap eats.
Free Eats: Partake of Portland's culinary cornucopia without dropping a cent.
Restaurant Listings: From A to M
Restaurant Listings: From N to Z