Best ‘hole in the wall’ local restaurants for meals under $10

An Eagle’s guide to D.C. cheap eats

Best ‘hole in the wall’ local restaurants for meals under $10
Bandit Taco’s tacos, bowl and guacamole

One of the many thrills of living in D.C. is eating at amazing restaurants and experiencing the vibrant culture across locally-owned restaurants in the District. For American University students, many of these well-known restaurants are right in our backyard. This list includes hot spots close to campus where you can get a delicious meal for under $10, while still supporting local vendors. Each one of these restaurants follow coronavirus guidelines and are available for takeout. With the exception of Falafel Inc., all are available for pickup or delivery through their websites.  

Bandit Taco

Being from Texas, I have had my fair share of great Tex-Mex delights, and I can safely say that Bandit Taco has some of the best Mexican-inspired food I have had. Every item on its menu is under $10, and if you go on Tuesdays, you can indulge in the eatery’s $2 Taco Tuesdays. These tacos are small enough that you can try a few if you’re feeling hungry, or just one if you want a snack. You can get most of its tacos in burrito, bowl or quesadilla form, as well as enjoy many tasty sides. For your next feast with friends, I recommend trying all of the sides, especially the fried plantains. They are too good to pass up. These little tacos are certified all-natural and handcrafted.

Crisp and Juicy

Crisp and Juicy is a Peruvian chicken restaurant founded by a couple passionate about taking Latin flavors to D.C. Almost everything on its menu is $10 and under, with the exception of chicken platters, which are designed to split with a group of friends. At Crisp and Juicy, simplicity is its money maker. You can get a quarter of a charbroiled chicken, a few of its delicious sides and homemade sauces and leave feeling stuffed. It also serves chicken sandwiches and salads as well as an assortment of sides. You will definitely have enough for leftovers the next day, as Crisp and Juicy gives you plenty of food in each of its meals, making $10 go a long way.

Roaming Rooster

Roaming Rooster started as two brothers in a food truck, but is now coming to a store front in Tenleytown soon. Go to Roaming Rooster for the ultimate comfort food — fried chicken sandwiches. It serves five chicken sandwiches: the original fried chicken sandwich ($8.50), buffalo fried chicken sandwich ($9), honey butter fried chicken sandwich ($9), Nashville hot chicken sandwich ($9) and The Club ($9). It also makes chicken tenders, wings, fried chicken and coleslaw and twice fried French fries, all for under $10. Its free-range, antibiotic free and grain-fed chicken is battered in buttermilk and fried to perfection. You can get the chicken as spicy or mild as you would like with its flavorful spice rub that perfectly complements its homemade sauces. 

Thai Pad

Thai Pad is a neighborhood Thai restaurant in Van Ness, founded by four families that wanted to bring authentic Thai food to D.C., according to the Thai Pad, website. Many of the items on the menu are above $10; however, the portions are large and can be made into two or even three meals. Thai Pad is a great place to go with friends and split a couple of dishes. 

Falafel Inc

Though it’s a little outside of Tenleytown, Falafel Inc., in Georgetown, is a true “hole in the wall” find for AU students who want to walk or take the bus from campus. There is no seating, so it’s the perfect place to stop on a sunny day stroll through Georgetown and snack by the waterfront. On the menu, there are three main items: the falafel pita sandwich ($3), the falafel salad bowl ($4) and za'atar fries ($3). It also has a small list of sides, each for $3 and six sauces to pair perfectly with your falafel and fries. Its falafel is fresh and crispy without being greasy.

District Chicken & Gyro

District Chicken & Gyro is an unassuming shack on a side street of Georgetown. There is no seating here either, so it is another one that is great for an afternoon through Georgetown or a socially-distanced picnic with friends. You can purchase a rice and salad bowl ($10) or a wrap ($9) with your choice of either its special marinated chicken, gyro or falafel. You can also choose to top your bowl or wrap with its very own white sauce, barbeque sauce or flavorful hot sauce. This is another restaurant where you get a lot of food for a small price. You will get your order super fast here so you can head on your way.

Each of these restaurants do one thing and they do it well. They specialize in amazing food, made with fresh ingredients, all for the best prices. There is nothing better than indulging in delicious food for a wonderful price!

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