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Hands reach for fries across a table that’s covered in black carryout containers filled with fries, pressed sandwiches, and shrimp sandwiches.
Detroit 75 Kitchen in Southwest Detroit.
Michelle and Chris Gerard

20 Essential Restaurants for Affordable Dining in Detroit

Where to find affordable and filling meals around town

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Detroit 75 Kitchen in Southwest Detroit.
| Michelle and Chris Gerard

The auto industry culture in Detroit helped drive the evolution of the city's iconic affordable dish — the chili-drenched, mustard and onion-covered Coney dog. While the assembly lines are less prominent today than they once were, the Motor City still thrives on a steady stream of inexpensive foods from grilled onion-topped sliders to corned beef egg roll mashups.

Find, here, a guide to some of the city's top destinations right now for an inexpensive meal. Some restaurants included serve individually thrifty items like sliders and hot dogs, while others deliver whole plates of food for under $10. From Venezuelan arepas to big slices of pizza, here is a bucket list of Detroit's classic and contemporary best-value restaurants serving affordable (and most importantly filling) bites.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission.

Did we overlook your favorite affordable spot? Drop a note at the tipline and we’ll check it out.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Asian Corned Beef

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Founded by Kim White in the 1970s, this unassuming takeout empire has gone on to inspire numerous imitations of its eponymous dish: the corned beef egg roll. The fried wonton envelopes come filled with anything from corned beef and melty swiss cheese to steak and grilled onions. They’re are big, hot, and downright affordable for under $5.

Gonellas Foods

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Three-quarters of a century old Italian sub shop Gonella’s is situated in the Oakwood Heights area of Southwest Detroit. It maintains a loyal following for its deli sandwiches stacked with layer upon layer of meats and cheeses. Everything is topped with shredded lettuce and tomato. Customers can also pick up sides of marinated olives, mushrooms, pasta salad, and even cannoli.

Bucharest Grill

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There are plenty of reputable shawarma shops in metro Detroit, but within city limits few have the following of carryout king Bucharest Grill. The wraps here are filling and inexpensive starting at $7.95, especially the garlicky Bucharest chicken shawarma that comes stuffed with pickles and fries. For something less meaty, the falafel is a smart bet.

El Rey de las Arepas

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Visit this Venezuelan restaurant in Southwest for arepas — corn dough patties that are split in half and filled with meats, cheese, and other toppings. A basic arepa retails for a mere $5.50. Add meat and additional toppings for a few bucks more.

Telway Hamburgers

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Open 24/7, Telway is cure-all for the hungry but skint. Because just one of its thrifty sliders won’t do, the restaurant offers them four-to-a-bag for around $3.50. Add a cup of coffee for 45 cents. Don’t forget to bring cash.

Motz Burgers

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Since 1929, Detroiters have turned to this Delray burger spot for budget-friendly sliders. Get the classic slider hamburger for $2 or splurge on the double cheeseburger, ringing in at $3.50. Be advised: It will probably take a few to fill up and make sure to bring cash.

Pollo Chapin

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Guatemalan carryout restaurant Pollo Chapin serves some of Detroit's finest fried chicken and is also one of the best bets for budget dining. Grab three pieces of fried chicken, two sides, and a roll for under $9 or try the enormous banana leaf-wrapped chicken tamal with cabbage salad and a roll for $6.99.

Fried chicken on a plate with black beans, a roll, and purple cabbage slaw. Brenna Houck

Duly's Place

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For a late-night coney dog with a satisfying snap or a hulking yet wallet-friendly breakfast of bacon, eggs, and pancakes, this Vernor Highway diner is the place to be. With more than 90 years under its belt, Duly’s continues to dole out coney island classics with consistency and the ambiance worthy of an essential greasy spoon. It’s easy to get a full spread here for less than $10. Just don’t forget to bring cash.

Antojitos El Catracho

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This casual Honduran restaurant on West Vernor offers dishes for dine in or carryout at affordable prices. Consider mixing and matching la carte options like pupusas stuffed with loroco or cheese — available for $2.49 each — or the fried baleadas (stuffed flour tortillas) for around $4.

Detroit 75 Kitchen

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Southwest gas station-adjacent food cart Detroit 75 Kitchen serves some of the best street food around at bargain prices. Pick up a wrap for $8 or a grilled sandwich on seeded bread starting at $11. Fans also make the trip for weekly specials like the smoked chicken.

Green Dot Stables

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The whole concept behind Green Dot Stables is to offer diners a variety of sliders, fries, and drinks for just a little dough. Burgers are available in beef, chicken, and veggie form and range between $2.75 and $4.25 a piece. Loaded fries, salads, soups, and other sides start at $2.75, while beers go for as low as $2.83.

Green Dot Stables.
Green Dot Stables.
Michelle and Chris Gerard

El Taco Veloz

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Located inside Cass Corridor’s Marcus Market, El Taco Veloz’s is slinging Mexican street food favorites at affordable prices. Pick up a single taco for $2.50. Choose from fillings like grilled chicken, chorizo, and veggie sausage.

Tacos in a takeout container lined with foil and surrounded by white onions and grilled jalapenos. Brenna Houck

SuperCrisp

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Chef Mike Ransom’s Ima already has a stronghold on the udon, pho, and ramen game around. Now with the addition of SuperCrisp, which sits next to Ima’s Midtown location, Ransom has a scaled-down, fast-casual option. The eatery features a selection of halal-friendly meals in a bun, including burgers, chicken sandwiches, and over-the-top hot dogs, as well as other snacks — all going for $12 or less.

The Potato Place

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Nothing says value like a loaded baked potato and the Potato Place, situated across the street from Wayne State University, specializes in just that. Diners can fill up on giant russet potatoes stuffed with creamy Alfredo sauce and parmesan cheese, cajun chicken and bacon, or even pulled pork — most for about $12.

Amar Pizza

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Bangladeshi-American carryout spot Amar Pizza is known for options like the ultra spicy ghost pepper pizza. But for a few dollars less than a whole pie, customers can try the restaurant’s creative toppings like naga sauce and cilantro on grilled hot dogs.

A hot dog in a styrofoam carryout container is slathered in a red sauce with onions and cilantro. Brenna Houck

Honest John's

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Breakfast, lunch, and dinner, this Selden Street bar continues to be a reliable and inexpensive fuel source for the Cass Corridor neighborhood. Order a simple grilled cheese for a mere $4.50 or pick up the standard breakfast sandwich — an English muffin topped with egg, pork sausage, and melty American cheese — for $6.95.

Detroit Shipping Company

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Affordable dining options abound at the Detroit Shipping Company, where guests can take their pick from the handful of food vendors on hand. Grab seven pieces of Bangkok 96’s Walking Chicken dumplings for $10, a side of spicy, crispy, beer-battered cauliflower from Coop, or split some snacks from Momo Cha, such as a large order of eight momo (Nepalese-style dumplings) for $10.

Chickp Detroit

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Once a humble walk-up window, ChickP recently leveled up to a fast-casual indoor restaurant. Customers looking for a quick, affordable lunch can fill up on falafel bowls with hummus, rice, tahini, and veggies and shawarma wraps here for about $10.

Supino Pizzeria

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Big, hot, New York-style slices at Supino are the perfect answer to a carb craving. Pick up a the cheese for just $2.75 or 50 cents more pepperoni and daily specials.

Saffron De Twah

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This award-winning Moroccan-American restaurant on Gratiot Avenue features a scratch menu that’s also affordable enough for everyday eating. Drop in for a Moroccan fish sandwich or the Saffron tomato dip with whipped goat cheese and pita chips. It’s hard to go wrong here.

A Moroccan tea set, a red dip with pita chips, a lamb tagine, harissa potatoes, coffee, and more on a wooden table with blue and white-patterned woven center pieces. Michelle Gerard | michellegerard

Asian Corned Beef

Founded by Kim White in the 1970s, this unassuming takeout empire has gone on to inspire numerous imitations of its eponymous dish: the corned beef egg roll. The fried wonton envelopes come filled with anything from corned beef and melty swiss cheese to steak and grilled onions. They’re are big, hot, and downright affordable for under $5.

Gonellas Foods

Three-quarters of a century old Italian sub shop Gonella’s is situated in the Oakwood Heights area of Southwest Detroit. It maintains a loyal following for its deli sandwiches stacked with layer upon layer of meats and cheeses. Everything is topped with shredded lettuce and tomato. Customers can also pick up sides of marinated olives, mushrooms, pasta salad, and even cannoli.

Bucharest Grill

There are plenty of reputable shawarma shops in metro Detroit, but within city limits few have the following of carryout king Bucharest Grill. The wraps here are filling and inexpensive starting at $7.95, especially the garlicky Bucharest chicken shawarma that comes stuffed with pickles and fries. For something less meaty, the falafel is a smart bet.

El Rey de las Arepas

Visit this Venezuelan restaurant in Southwest for arepas — corn dough patties that are split in half and filled with meats, cheese, and other toppings. A basic arepa retails for a mere $5.50. Add meat and additional toppings for a few bucks more.

Telway Hamburgers

Open 24/7, Telway is cure-all for the hungry but skint. Because just one of its thrifty sliders won’t do, the restaurant offers them four-to-a-bag for around $3.50. Add a cup of coffee for 45 cents. Don’t forget to bring cash.

Motz Burgers

Since 1929, Detroiters have turned to this Delray burger spot for budget-friendly sliders. Get the classic slider hamburger for $2 or splurge on the double cheeseburger, ringing in at $3.50. Be advised: It will probably take a few to fill up and make sure to bring cash.

Pollo Chapin

Fried chicken on a plate with black beans, a roll, and purple cabbage slaw. Brenna Houck

Guatemalan carryout restaurant Pollo Chapin serves some of Detroit's finest fried chicken and is also one of the best bets for budget dining. Grab three pieces of fried chicken, two sides, and a roll for under $9 or try the enormous banana leaf-wrapped chicken tamal with cabbage salad and a roll for $6.99.

Fried chicken on a plate with black beans, a roll, and purple cabbage slaw. Brenna Houck

Duly's Place

For a late-night coney dog with a satisfying snap or a hulking yet wallet-friendly breakfast of bacon, eggs, and pancakes, this Vernor Highway diner is the place to be. With more than 90 years under its belt, Duly’s continues to dole out coney island classics with consistency and the ambiance worthy of an essential greasy spoon. It’s easy to get a full spread here for less than $10. Just don’t forget to bring cash.

Antojitos El Catracho

This casual Honduran restaurant on West Vernor offers dishes for dine in or carryout at affordable prices. Consider mixing and matching la carte options like pupusas stuffed with loroco or cheese — available for $2.49 each — or the fried baleadas (stuffed flour tortillas) for around $4.

Detroit 75 Kitchen

Southwest gas station-adjacent food cart Detroit 75 Kitchen serves some of the best street food around at bargain prices. Pick up a wrap for $8 or a grilled sandwich on seeded bread starting at $11. Fans also make the trip for weekly specials like the smoked chicken.

Green Dot Stables

Green Dot Stables.
Green Dot Stables.
Michelle and Chris Gerard

The whole concept behind Green Dot Stables is to offer diners a variety of sliders, fries, and drinks for just a little dough. Burgers are available in beef, chicken, and veggie form and range between $2.75 and $4.25 a piece. Loaded fries, salads, soups, and other sides start at $2.75, while beers go for as low as $2.83.

Green Dot Stables.
Green Dot Stables.
Michelle and Chris Gerard

El Taco Veloz

Tacos in a takeout container lined with foil and surrounded by white onions and grilled jalapenos. Brenna Houck

Located inside Cass Corridor’s Marcus Market, El Taco Veloz’s is slinging Mexican street food favorites at affordable prices. Pick up a single taco for $2.50. Choose from fillings like grilled chicken, chorizo, and veggie sausage.

Tacos in a takeout container lined with foil and surrounded by white onions and grilled jalapenos. Brenna Houck

SuperCrisp

Chef Mike Ransom’s Ima already has a stronghold on the udon, pho, and ramen game around. Now with the addition of SuperCrisp, which sits next to Ima’s Midtown location, Ransom has a scaled-down, fast-casual option. The eatery features a selection of halal-friendly meals in a bun, including burgers, chicken sandwiches, and over-the-top hot dogs, as well as other snacks — all going for $12 or less.

The Potato Place

Nothing says value like a loaded baked potato and the Potato Place, situated across the street from Wayne State University, specializes in just that. Diners can fill up on giant russet potatoes stuffed with creamy Alfredo sauce and parmesan cheese, cajun chicken and bacon, or even pulled pork — most for about $12.

Amar Pizza

A hot dog in a styrofoam carryout container is slathered in a red sauce with onions and cilantro. Brenna Houck

Bangladeshi-American carryout spot Amar Pizza is known for options like the ultra spicy ghost pepper pizza. But for a few dollars less than a whole pie, customers can try the restaurant’s creative toppings like naga sauce and cilantro on grilled hot dogs.

A hot dog in a styrofoam carryout container is slathered in a red sauce with onions and cilantro. Brenna Houck

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Honest John's

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner, this Selden Street bar continues to be a reliable and inexpensive fuel source for the Cass Corridor neighborhood. Order a simple grilled cheese for a mere $4.50 or pick up the standard breakfast sandwich — an English muffin topped with egg, pork sausage, and melty American cheese — for $6.95.

Detroit Shipping Company

Affordable dining options abound at the Detroit Shipping Company, where guests can take their pick from the handful of food vendors on hand. Grab seven pieces of Bangkok 96’s Walking Chicken dumplings for $10, a side of spicy, crispy, beer-battered cauliflower from Coop, or split some snacks from Momo Cha, such as a large order of eight momo (Nepalese-style dumplings) for $10.

Chickp Detroit

Once a humble walk-up window, ChickP recently leveled up to a fast-casual indoor restaurant. Customers looking for a quick, affordable lunch can fill up on falafel bowls with hummus, rice, tahini, and veggies and shawarma wraps here for about $10.

Supino Pizzeria

Big, hot, New York-style slices at Supino are the perfect answer to a carb craving. Pick up a the cheese for just $2.75 or 50 cents more pepperoni and daily specials.

Saffron De Twah

A Moroccan tea set, a red dip with pita chips, a lamb tagine, harissa potatoes, coffee, and more on a wooden table with blue and white-patterned woven center pieces. Michelle Gerard | michellegerard

This award-winning Moroccan-American restaurant on Gratiot Avenue features a scratch menu that’s also affordable enough for everyday eating. Drop in for a Moroccan fish sandwich or the Saffron tomato dip with whipped goat cheese and pita chips. It’s hard to go wrong here.

A Moroccan tea set, a red dip with pita chips, a lamb tagine, harissa potatoes, coffee, and more on a wooden table with blue and white-patterned woven center pieces. Michelle Gerard | michellegerard

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