Best cheap eats in the Twin Cities


Knowing how to live frugally does not make you a granny who separates two-ply toilet paper. Being thrifty nowadays means you are crafty and wise. Plus, it's too hot to cook at home. So here are a few places where you can eat well while saving your dimes.

5. The Wienery Wieners are where it's at at this perfect hole-in-the-wall, where the Chicago, Tasmanian Devil, and Drive-in Dog (cheese, chili, and coleslaw) or any choice of dog--even vegetarian--will only set you back $4.25 or less. (414 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis, 612.333.5798. website)


4. Breakfast at Liquor Lyle's If you're feeling super strapped, there is nothing like breakfast at Liquor Lyle's to make things seem a little bit brighter. The basic omelet is hella big and only $6, and Lyle's also offers a daily $4.99 breakfast special. And since their 2-for-1 happy hour runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., you can make an afternoon of it and majorly forget your woes. No one will judge. (2021 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis, 612.870.8183. website)

3. Trung Nam French Bakery and Restaurant Said to be the first place in the Twin Cities to serve the banh mi sandwich--the ultimate meal for eating fat on the skinny--Trung Nam's house-baked baguette is what puts it a notch above your average banh mi. This beautiful sandwich is made with Asian sausage, pickled carrots and daikon, snappy cucumber, bright fresh cilantro, and a killer mayo. (739 University Ave. W., St. Paul, 651.229.0887. website)

2. Cheap date night at Red Stag and Bryant Lake Bowl OK, if you don't want to take your date to Lyle's or the Wienery--although those places have been the host to many a hot date---you can impress your special friend with an evening out at one of Kim Bartmann's places, where Cheap Date Night means an affordable, chef-y, farm-fresh meal. Here's the scoop:

Monday, 6 p.m.-midnight--Bryant-Lake Bowl: Two entrees, bottle of wine or four beers, and a round of bowling, $28. (810 West Lake St., Minneapolis, 612.825.3737. website)

Tuesday, 5 p.m.-10 p.m.--Red Stag Supperclub: Two entrees, a bottle of wine, and dessert, $32. (509 First Avenue Northeast, Minneapolis 612.767.7766. website)

1. Yarusso-Bros. Italian Restaurant On the East Side of Saint Paul, the ultimate in old-school Italian cooking is going down, with the Godfather trilogy on constant rotation in the bar and the plates of pasta with their secret-recipe red sauce always overflowing. At Yarusso-Bros., the large plates of spaghetti, rigatoni, mastaccioli, and ravioli are enough to share, and priced around $11. Another great deal is the dinner for two: salad, pasta, and garlic cheese toast for $21.69. And where else can you still order a carafe of Lambrusco? (635 Payne Ave., Saint Paul, 651.776.4848. website