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Eight Cheap Eats South of 8 Mile (That Aren't Coneys)

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Let's face it. When it comes to deciding where to eat on a budget most Detroiters turn to the venerable Coney Island as their default dining option. Fast food or a slice of pizza also probably make the short list for cheap eats. But Detroit has much more to offer, with many options coming from lesser known, often family-owned establishments whose culinary influences span the globe. Here is just a sampling of economical and interesting restaurants that aren't Coney's—and all found under Eight Mile.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Pollo Chapin

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2054 Junction
Detroit, MI 48218
(313) 554-9087
Detroit’s Central American community is rather small, but that doesn’t mean one can’t indulge on some of the popular street food that the region is known for. Tucked away off Southwest Detroit’s main drag, Vernor Highway, is one such place, Pollo Chapin. The term "chapin" is a slang term used by Guatemalans to refer to themselves, and it appears this chicken shack is a local spinoff of the popular Central American chain found in other regions of the country and throughout Latin America, Pollo Campero. Like the international chain, Chapin is known for its fried chicken. Also available are smothered burritos, sandwiches, tamales and Chapin’s popular chicken noodle soup. Individual meals range from $4.25 to $6.99. Family meals start at $9.99.

2. Telway Hamburgers

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6820 Michigan Ave
Detroit, MI 48210
(313) 843-2146
If ever Detroit was known for anything besides the Coney, it’s arguably the slider, specifically the Telway slider. The prices at this burger joint have slowly crept up over the years, but Telway's sliders remain as popular as ever. Hungry Detroiters would be hard-pressed to find a local joint where about $3 is enough to satisfy (last we checked, hamburgers were for $.70, and cheeseburgers $.80 apiece). Add a cup of coffee for $.85 and that’s a classic Detroit meal on the cheap—day or night (Telway is open 24/7).

3. Pupusería y Restaurante Salvadoreño

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3149 Livernois Ave
Detroit, MI 48210
(313) 899-4020
The pupusa is a popular street food option in many a Salvadoran neighborhood, particularly in Southern California, where in some areas pupusas are just as plentiful as the taco. While not as widely known in Detroit, the dish has gained some traction since Parts Unknown host Anthony Bourdain indulged on a plate of pupusas at an underground location in Detroit. These thick masa discs are stuffed with a variety of fillings, including cheese, beans or pork. Topped with curtido, a pickled cabbage relish, and a red salsa, one or two of these heavy vessels of deliciousness for about $3 each is sure to satisfy for the rest of the day and refrigerate well for reheating later. Cash only.

4. Pho Lucky

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23838 Joy Rd
Redford, MI 48239
(313) 532-2333
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Pho is one of Vietnam's most popular dishes and for good reason. It’s incredibly affordable, satisfying, and filled with flavor. But finding an authentic bowl of pho for Detroiters usually involves driving to Madison Heights, where there’s an abundance of mom and pop Vietnamese joints. Pho Lucky is perhaps the one alternative to this commute. Straddling Detroit’s border in Redford, Pho Lucky is a mainstay for West Siders. All 10 varieties of pho go for $7.99 per bowl, or $9.49 for extra meat.

5. Green Dot Stables

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2200 W Lafayette Blvd
Detroit, MI 48216
(313) 965-1523
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A relative newcomer in Detroit’s history of sliders, Green Dot Stables in its first two and a half years in business has transformed the greasy spoon small bite into a delectable culinary experience with options like Korean, lamb, and Cuban-style sliders, in addition to the classic cheeseburger—all without a hefty price tag. Most items on the menu are $3 or $4, making it quite possible to spend little more than $12, plus tip for three items.

6. Yemen Cafe

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8731 Joseph Campau St
Hamtramck, MI 48212
(313) 871-4349
Completely distinct from other styles of Middle Eastern food Detroiters might be accustomed to, Yemeni cuisine is strongly influenced by Arab, Indian and Turkish traditions. At Yemen Café diners are invited inside, not by the interior décor, but by the aroma of the chili peppers, ginger, and cardamom used to flavor the establishment’s signature dishes. The half chicken special includes rice, large enough to share. Sandwiches range between $2.99 and $3.99. Recommended is the Gallaba sandwich with lamb or vegetables. Call orders ahead of time because this place gets busy.

7. The Potato Place

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107 W Warren Ave
Detroit, MI 48201
(313) 833-8948
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A staple near the Wayne State University campus for more than 20 years, this ode to the starchy root vegetable is anything but plain. The eatery’s signature 18- to 20-ounce baked potatoes are more than enough to share between two or three starving college students. Toppings—there are 24 to choose from—range from the classic sour cream and chives ($5.50) and broccoli and cheese ($6.75) to more daring choices like ground Italian sausage and cheese ($7.50) and the taco spud, with ground beef, tortilla chips, tomato, onion, bell peppers and cheese ($9.85). The menu also includes soups, subs, egg noodles, and house-made baked goods. Cash only.

8. Taqueria Nuestra Familia

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7620 W Vernor Hwy
Detroit, MI 48209
(313) 842-5668
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Detroit has no shortage of Mexican restaurants and taquerias in the aptly named Mexicantown neighborhood. Nuestra Familia in the city’s Springwells area makes the cheap eats cut for its generous menu selection. A standard taco goes for $1.25, $2.75 will buy a filling gordita and weekday lunch specials include two tacos or enchiladas and beans and rice for $2.95 ($4 for carryout). Dinner is also a bargain with $7 platters and a very reasonable drink menu.

1. Pollo Chapin

2054 Junction, Detroit, MI 48218
Detroit’s Central American community is rather small, but that doesn’t mean one can’t indulge on some of the popular street food that the region is known for. Tucked away off Southwest Detroit’s main drag, Vernor Highway, is one such place, Pollo Chapin. The term "chapin" is a slang term used by Guatemalans to refer to themselves, and it appears this chicken shack is a local spinoff of the popular Central American chain found in other regions of the country and throughout Latin America, Pollo Campero. Like the international chain, Chapin is known for its fried chicken. Also available are smothered burritos, sandwiches, tamales and Chapin’s popular chicken noodle soup. Individual meals range from $4.25 to $6.99. Family meals start at $9.99.
2054 Junction
Detroit, MI 48218

2. Telway Hamburgers

6820 Michigan Ave, Detroit, MI 48210
If ever Detroit was known for anything besides the Coney, it’s arguably the slider, specifically the Telway slider. The prices at this burger joint have slowly crept up over the years, but Telway's sliders remain as popular as ever. Hungry Detroiters would be hard-pressed to find a local joint where about $3 is enough to satisfy (last we checked, hamburgers were for $.70, and cheeseburgers $.80 apiece). Add a cup of coffee for $.85 and that’s a classic Detroit meal on the cheap—day or night (Telway is open 24/7).
6820 Michigan Ave
Detroit, MI 48210

3. Pupusería y Restaurante Salvadoreño

3149 Livernois Ave, Detroit, MI 48210
The pupusa is a popular street food option in many a Salvadoran neighborhood, particularly in Southern California, where in some areas pupusas are just as plentiful as the taco. While not as widely known in Detroit, the dish has gained some traction since Parts Unknown host Anthony Bourdain indulged on a plate of pupusas at an underground location in Detroit. These thick masa discs are stuffed with a variety of fillings, including cheese, beans or pork. Topped with curtido, a pickled cabbage relish, and a red salsa, one or two of these heavy vessels of deliciousness for about $3 each is sure to satisfy for the rest of the day and refrigerate well for reheating later. Cash only.
3149 Livernois Ave
Detroit, MI 48210

4. Pho Lucky

23838 Joy Rd, Redford, MI 48239
Pho is one of Vietnam's most popular dishes and for good reason. It’s incredibly affordable, satisfying, and filled with flavor. But finding an authentic bowl of pho for Detroiters usually involves driving to Madison Heights, where there’s an abundance of mom and pop Vietnamese joints. Pho Lucky is perhaps the one alternative to this commute. Straddling Detroit’s border in Redford, Pho Lucky is a mainstay for West Siders. All 10 varieties of pho go for $7.99 per bowl, or $9.49 for extra meat.
23838 Joy Rd
Redford, MI 48239

5. Green Dot Stables

2200 W Lafayette Blvd, Detroit, MI 48216
A relative newcomer in Detroit’s history of sliders, Green Dot Stables in its first two and a half years in business has transformed the greasy spoon small bite into a delectable culinary experience with options like Korean, lamb, and Cuban-style sliders, in addition to the classic cheeseburger—all without a hefty price tag. Most items on the menu are $3 or $4, making it quite possible to spend little more than $12, plus tip for three items.
2200 W Lafayette Blvd
Detroit, MI 48216

6. Yemen Cafe

8731 Joseph Campau St, Hamtramck, MI 48212
Completely distinct from other styles of Middle Eastern food Detroiters might be accustomed to, Yemeni cuisine is strongly influenced by Arab, Indian and Turkish traditions. At Yemen Café diners are invited inside, not by the interior décor, but by the aroma of the chili peppers, ginger, and cardamom used to flavor the establishment’s signature dishes. The half chicken special includes rice, large enough to share. Sandwiches range between $2.99 and $3.99. Recommended is the Gallaba sandwich with lamb or vegetables. Call orders ahead of time because this place gets busy.
8731 Joseph Campau St
Hamtramck, MI 48212

7. The Potato Place

107 W Warren Ave, Detroit, MI 48201
A staple near the Wayne State University campus for more than 20 years, this ode to the starchy root vegetable is anything but plain. The eatery’s signature 18- to 20-ounce baked potatoes are more than enough to share between two or three starving college students. Toppings—there are 24 to choose from—range from the classic sour cream and chives ($5.50) and broccoli and cheese ($6.75) to more daring choices like ground Italian sausage and cheese ($7.50) and the taco spud, with ground beef, tortilla chips, tomato, onion, bell peppers and cheese ($9.85). The menu also includes soups, subs, egg noodles, and house-made baked goods. Cash only.
107 W Warren Ave
Detroit, MI 48201

8. Taqueria Nuestra Familia

7620 W Vernor Hwy, Detroit, MI 48209
Detroit has no shortage of Mexican restaurants and taquerias in the aptly named Mexicantown neighborhood. Nuestra Familia in the city’s Springwells area makes the cheap eats cut for its generous menu selection. A standard taco goes for $1.25, $2.75 will buy a filling gordita and weekday lunch specials include two tacos or enchiladas and beans and rice for $2.95 ($4 for carryout). Dinner is also a bargain with $7 platters and a very reasonable drink menu.
7620 W Vernor Hwy
Detroit, MI 48209

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