Where Can I Eat in Downtown Asheville for $10 or less?

The critically acclaimed fried chicken sandwich at Buxton Chicken Palace. Photo via swmarketavl.com.

This is a question I ask myself and discuss with other locals quite often. Asheville has an incredible, diverse culinary culture, but when you’re on a budget it’s like being a diabetic kid in a candy store. Fortunately, you don’t have to bleed your bank account dry to enjoy some of the best bites around town. Here are six favorites.

  1. Bomba Roll, Bomba. This Hector Diaz haunt has a big focus on chicken, but for only $7.50, you can’t beat this iteration of a breakfast burrito with eggs, potato, beans, cheese (they use sheep feta, which is key), and avocado. It comes with a small salad and plantains for a plate that someone with more self-control could stretch into two meals. PRO TIP: Ask for Hector’s housemade hot sauce to go with it… you won’t be sorry.
  2. Del Mar Taco + Cauliflower Barbacoa Taco, El Gallo. You can pair almost any two tacos (remember the “almost”) on their menu for $10 or less. Or do what my mom does and make the Chilmol—their amazing version of guac—your meal. I love sitting at their outdoor tables on Rankin Ave. and pretending I’m in Mexico City (Paris isn’t the only city with sidewalk cafés).
  3. S&W Food Hall. This place was literally designed for one-stop accessible dining. If you haven’t experienced a food hall before, it’s basically a glorified food court minus the mallrats. As a flexitarian, I would choose a Soul Rebel taco ($4) from Peace Love Tacos paired with Sauteed Veggie Bao ($6) from Bun Intended. Meat eaters will have a hard time choosing between the Classic Fried Chicken sandwich at Buxton Chicken Palace and the chef-driven Market Dog from Farm Dog. You might just have to come back for more! PRO-TIP: While waiting in line, take a pause to appreciate this historical building in all its art-deco glory.
  4. Diner Classic Burger, The Med. Some of the most discerning foodies in Asheville have confided that The Med has their favorite burger in town. I guess the secret’s out.
  5. Slice, PIE. ZAA Pizza. A whole pizza from here barely fits into my SUV. Luckily, you can order a large slice of one of the largest pizzas ever for less than $6 with five options to choose from (cheese slices are only $4.50!). PRO TIP: Eat at one of the outside tables and watch the live street performance unfold as people struggle to fit their orders into their cars.
  6. Buttermilk Pancakes, Green Sage Café. Gluten sensitive foodies, rejoice! These served-all-day pancakes may lack gluten, but the flavor hasn’t suffered one bit. Just one fills me up ($5.50) but if you’re really hungry or want to split a stack with a friend, you can double it at just $8.95.

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