I hate a lot of foods. Growing up, I was the notorious picky eater in the family, which led me down a very interesting path of eating boxed mac and cheese for dinner every night. Luckily, when I got older, my appreciation for healthy, nutritious food grew. Now that I’m at Georgetown, there is only one thing standing in the way of me eating these kinds of foods: the mandatory unlimited meal plan at the dining hall.
If I could have had it my way, I would save myself the money and just pay for the least amount of swipes possible. Even better, in a perfect world, I would be cooking to my heart’s content and purchasing the food I actually want to eat every day. You see, I am unfortunately a perfect storm of picky meets health-conscious meets semi-vegetarian, and I don’t always find myself enticed by my choices at the Table at Leo’s. It’s true they have salad, vegetarian and halal stations to accommodate many dietary restrictions, but these stations seem to rotate on a very limited — and very repetitive — menu and could honestly offer more when it comes to healthy, filling options.
I don’t want to waste the money I was forced to spend on the meal plan; however, sometimes I just cannot bring myself to go to Leo’s. For those of you who also find yourself in this position, I have taken it upon myself to compile “Emily’s List of Under $15 Georgetown Favorites (For Times When Leo’s Is Not Your First Choice).”
*Disclaimer: If you have the stamina to walk to Trader Joe’s and the gumption to use your common room kitchen, go for it. I, however, am not one of those people.
I know, I know, the coffee is a bit on the expensive side, but speaking as a girl who, not kidding, eats breakfast there every day, it’s not terribly priced. It’s even pretty comparable to Starbucks and less expensive than Saxby’s, the nearest off-campus option. In fact, today I got a large iced tea and a bagel for $5.85, and I’m still convinced someone inputted the total incorrectly. Plus, you can use Flex dollars, so it feels like it’s free (until you check your virtual wallet). Regardless, the less money I’m spending on my debit card, the better.
Pro tip: If you’re really committed to the saving grind, and, like me, cannot resist bagels, save $3.25 on the sun city at Call Your Mother and get the bacon-less version. Just add takeout bacon from Leo’s.
I don’t even have to explain this one. I know it’s good. You know it’s good. We both know it’s cheap ($3!). Enough said. Pro tip: Mix the garlic and habibi sauces together and thank me later.
Located on the canal near Thomas Jefferson Street, the spot is a little tucked away, but it is amazing. The regular rolls are $6 to $7, and around lunchtime, you can get a combo order of three rolls for around $14, which, if you’re comparing it to buying the sushi from Leo’s or Vittles, is a much better deal. Only downside: If you’re living on campus, be prepared for a bit of a walk.
Good Stuff Eatery
Though not exactly a secret in the Georgetown community, the name rings true. If you ever find the dining hall chicken sandwiches to be a little not to your liking, then take a trip down to M Street. Their burgers run around $9, which is on the higher side, but they get bonus points for all the sauces.
Right off Wisconsin Avenue, Oki Bowl is an experience. The Japanese fusion cuisine hits the spot and doesn’t break the bank; their popular oki curry ramen is $17 and is a large enough portion to have leftovers for the next day. So, when you think about that price as split over two dinners, it definitely falls under affordable.
On Grace Street, Chaia sells vegetarian tacos for $4.50, including my favorite, the creamy kale and potato taco. They’re perfect if you’re not too hungry and even better if you’re not looking to spend a lot and your friends want to grab dinner with you. There is no room for FOMO on this list.
On any random night of the week, Dahlgren will have its white party-hosting tent packed with people, and even better, caterers. Obviously, I do not advocate for stealing catered food, but if you walk past at the end of the event and see a lot of leftovers, just ask the event coordinators if you can take some. It’s better than wasting food, and it’s free. Win-win.
Charcoal Town Cafe
I am — subjectively — the biggest shawarma fan. I love it. I could eat it for every meal. If you don’t want to do the Falafel Inc. ~vegan shawarma~, Charcoal Town Cafe has a chicken shawarma wrap for $9, and for $3 more you can add on seasoned fries. Very worth it.
I know what you’re thinking. Wawa? For drinks?? Yes. Not for just any drinks — for coffee. The large iced coffees are incredibly cheap, huge and sugary enough to keep you energized on the hunt for your next cheap eat. If you’re a over 21 Hoya who isn’t on the meal plan, this is also the go-to spot for mixers.
If you’re a living, breathing (21+) person at Georgetown, you’ve been to Mai Thai. You’ve had drinks there. You know about the $13 pitchers during happy hour. That’s why you keep coming back. We all do.
I have only scratched the surface of all the amazing Asian and Asian-inspired restaurants in Georgetown, but the other day, I went into BeauTea and got a large Golden Ginger Tea for $4. *chef’s kiss*
A Random Henle
If you ever find yourself particularly parched on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday night, just show up to a random Henle with a suspiciously large crowd of people outside, and I can almost guarantee that you will find something inside to quench your thirst. Just don’t offer to pay for it.
Emily’s List of Cheap Eats That Are Simply Not Worth It:
- First Bake (sorry, overrated)
- 90 Second Pizza (I don’t know how they conned people into believing it’s cheap, but where I’m from you can get a slice of pizza bigger than their pies for $2)
- Foxtrot Market (sadly, it does not live up to this list’s standard of “cheap”)