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Finding an affordable, filling option for dinner can be tough. Thankfully, Durham has an abundance of cheap eats from homestyle Southern cooking to authentic Mexican and everything in between. Here’s the best ways to fill up in Durham on 10 bucks or less.

King’s Sandwich Shop

The Durham institution has been serving up traditional American eats since 1942, and nothing on the menu is over $10.

Address: 701 Foster St, Durham, NC 27701

$3 Dinners at Durham Co-Op Market

$3 Dinners run from 4-8 PM every Thursday at the Durham Co-Op Market, and there’s always a vegan option available too.

Address: 1111 W Chapel Hill St, Durham, NC 27701

Johnson Family Barbecue 

Photo: Johnson Family Barbecue

Johnson Family Barbecue is a hole in the wall that serves hickory smoked BBQ, brisket, ribs, fried chicken and all the fixings. They smoke all their meat over hickory wood for up to 10 hours. Get a BBQ Sandwich, 1 Side and Drink for just $7.95 or Chopped BBQ Pork or Chicken Plate with 2 sides and hushpuppies for $9.95

Address: 5021 Wake Forest Hwy, Durham, NC 27703


Photo: The Original Q Shack

Most sandwiches with one side and hushpuppies are under $8. The smoked pork butt plate with two sides is a favorite for under $9.

Address: 2510 University Dr, Durham, NC 27707


Ah, NanaTaco, what would we do without you? You can get 3 tacos, a burrito, a quesadilla, or a torta for $6 each.

Address: 2512 University Dr, Durham, NC 27707

La Cacerola

La Cacerola is an authentic Latin American restaurant on Guess Rd featuring mainly Honduran food. Most of the menu is $8 and under, with the exception of 2 seafood dishes around $10. Some of the friendliest staff around, too!

Address: 2016 Guess Rd, Durham, NC 27705

Tacos Nacos

Photo: Tacos Nacos

If you’re questioning if you’re in the right place then you probably made it to Tacos Nacos. Tucked away in back of a little convenience type store you’ll find what’s probably some of the best Mexican food in Durham. Tacos are $2, the rest of the menu is mostly $10. Try the Cubana Torta. You won’t be sorry.

Address: 3411 University Dr, Durham, NC 27707

Wimpy’s Grill (Closed, now Blake’s Grill)

Photo: @larrytheburgerguy

Are you really a Durhamite if you haven’t been to Wimpy’s? Pretty much everything is under $6. The must try is the garbage burger with 2 patties, cheese, bacon, mayo, mustard, ketchup, onion, slaw, chili, lettuce, tomato, and pickles. Be sure to bring cash along with you, no credit cards accepted. Lines can be long during the lunch rush but definitely worth it.

Address: 617 Hicks St, Durham, NC 27705

Pie Pushers

You’ll find Pie Pushers right above the infamous Pinhook. It’s everything you want in a pizza place- causal but delicious. Order pizza by the slice for $3-$4.50. They even have 50 cent wings on Wednesdays.

Address: 117A W Main St, Durham, NC 27701


Zweli’s is the only Zimbabwean restaurant in the country and it’s simply delicious. There are plenty of vegan options and the oxtails and chicken wings are a must try. The price for the fresh, healthy options is amazing. You can get a quarter chicken and two sides for $10.99. The oxtail special with two sides is perfect for sharing and only $14.99. Find out more about Zweli’s here.

Address: 4600 Durham-Chapel Hill Blvd #26, Durham, NC 27707

Alpaca Chicken

The price point at Alpaca is affordable, it’s a great lunch spot, fast and easy. Get half a chicken with two sides here for just $9.49.

There’s two locations in Durham: 703A 9th St. & 302 Davidson Ave. 

Cosmic Cantina

cosmic cantina durham nc cheap eats

Probably one of the best bangs for your buck in Durham. You get a ridiculous amount of food for the price and it’s delicious. Our go-to is the Chicken Chimichanga for $7.

Address: 1920 Perry St, Durham, NC 27705

Home Plate Restaurant

This place is a no-nonsense southern style restaurant. Home Plate is set up cafeteria style and the menu is different depending on the day. They’re guaranteed to have fried chicken, chopped bbq, mashed potatoes, green beans, slaw, and potato salad daily.

Address: 3327 Holloway St, Durham, NC 27703

Nzingas Breakfast Cafe

This spot is truly a hidden gem. It’s affordable southern comfort food. You’ll find most of Nzinga’s menu is under $10. The must try is the chicken and waffle combo and it’s just $7.99.

Address: 826 Fayetteville Street #110, Durham, NC 27701

El Chapin

The atmosphere is very casual being half restaurant and half store. Don’t expect anything fancy; just delicious Guatemalan food. Most of the main dishes average around 10 bucks. Here’s their menu.

Address: 4600 Durham-Chapel Hill Blvd Suite #38, Durham, NC 27707

La Superior

Photo: jivemutha

This place is a gem in Northern Durham and literally located inside of a Latino supermarket. When you walk in, it smells like freshly baked bread. And yep, there’s a salsa bar. Everything is $10 and under. There’s a variety of pastries, homemade tortillas. and chips so grab something to go.

Address: 3325 N Roxboro St, Durham, NC 27704

Deeluxe Chicken

Deeluxe is definitely one of our regular lunch spots. We love their sauce bar and mac ‘n cheese. Grab the lunch special for $8.37- it includes your choice of a light or dark quarter or a chicken sandwich. There’s also a Monday special that includes any chicken sandwich, a side, and a draft for $10.

Address: 1116 Broad St, Durham, NC 27705

Banh’s Cuisine

Photo: @pandymadgett

Banh’s is a no-frills, cash-only spot serving up Chinese most days and Vietnamese twice a week on Wednesday and Saturday. Get the chicken curry turnovers. They also have vegetarian options.

Address: 750 9th St, Durham, NC 27705


We love Guasaca’s freshly made aprepa’s. You can pick a signature one or build your own. Aprepas are about $4 each and they’re a good size so I can usually do with just one, making it a super affordable meal.

Address: Erwin Square, #A-100, 2200 W Main St, Durham, NC 27705


Shanghai’s lunch special can’t be beat. Really, their prices in general are great but you can get a huge plate of sesame chicken, rice, and an eggroll or soup for $5.50. They also give you complimentary hot tea, which is such a treat on cold days.

Address: 3433 Hillsborough Rd, Durham, NC 27705


Grub is an old gas station turned Southern eatery with a rooftop bar. I’m a sucker for breakfast and they serve it until 3pm. Most breakfast plates and bowls hover around $8, with great serving sizes. Pretty much everything on the menu is under $10.

Address: 1200 W Chapel Hill St, Durham, NC 27701

Guanajuato Restaurant of Durham

Photo: @luttermaneats

I also don’t want to give up this hidden gem. This is some of the best mexican food we have ever had and it’s as authentic as it comes. They do have an English menu, just ask the cashier for it. Get the enchiladas rojas.

Address: 2103 N Roxboro St, Durham, NC 27704


Photo: @constantwobbler

Bullock’s has been serving Durham for 64 years now. They’ve served quite a few celebrities, as you’ll see the walls covered with photos as soon as you walk in. You feel like you’re having a really good home cooked meal by your Southern grandma when you come here. The daily specials hover around $10 and you get 3 sides. Always enough to take home for later.

Address: 3330 Quebec Dr, Durham, NC 27705

Big C Waffles

Big C Waffles

WE LOVE THIS PLACE. The chicken is perfectly seasoned and the waffles are melt in your mouth. Get a whole waffle and 3 pieces of chicken for $10. Choose between flavors like donut, blueberry, red velvet, bacon egg and cheese, or combine two flavors. Do yourself a favor and say yes to the kool-aid. There’s something magic about it.

The owner is ridiculously nice. You can even text them to place an order ahead of time.

Pro Tip: Use your Shop Durham card to get 10% off your chicken and waffle combo.

Address: 9201, 2110 Allendown Dr, Durham, NC 27713

Piper’s Deli

Photo: Piper’s Deli

Piper’s is one of those great neighborhood spots. The bacon pimento burger is a hands down must try. $8.25 and served with chips and a pickle.

Address: 3219 Old Chapel Hill Rd, Durham, NC 27707

Dain’s Place

Photo: @eatwhereyoulove

Dain’s Place is one of those spots you go to just chill out with your friends. It’s very low-key. They offer burgers, basic pub grub, and craft beer. An angus burger wil run you about $8.50. It’s also a great spot to watch sports. Get half off bottles of wine on Monday.

Address: 754 9th St, Durham, NC 27705

Mediterranean Grill and Grocery

Photo: @big_mike_nc

Our go-to spot for healthy food at a reasonable price. A restaurant and market combo, they offer authentic mediterranean food and Middle Eastern goods. Gyros will run you $6.50 and the platters hover around $10 with basmati rice, pita bread, and a choice of two side items.

Address: 5114 Revere Rd, Durham, NC 27713

Parker and Otis

Parker and Otis durham nc coffee shop
Parker and Otis

Parker & Otis is our one stop shop for coffee, good food, and all the knickknacks you’ll ever need. Plus lots of laugh brought to you by hilarious greeting cards. Everything on the menu is good and is $10 or less. The grilled pimento cheese and bacon sandwich is my favorite.

Address: 112 S Duke St, Durham, NC 27701

Chicken Hut

Photo: Chicken Hut

Search ‘best chicken near me’ and Chicken Hut will pop up. This is the food you wish your grandma made you. Get a filling meal for around $8, chicken, two sides, a roll and drink. Oxtails are a must try. Be sure to bring cash along with you.

Address: 3019 Fayetteville Street, Durham, NC 27707

Sarah’s Empanadas

For a fast, easy, and delicious lunch head to Sarah’s Empanadas. Get 1 empanada with 1 side for $5.80 or 2 empanadas with 1 side for $8.50. They offer several vegetarian and gluten-free options. Be sure to give their fried plantains a shot too.

Address: 5410 NC-55, Durham, NC 27713

Backyard BBQ

Photo: @skeeter71

Backyard BBD is a no-frills spot serving old-school BBQ cooked over oak and hickory wood in an outdoor pit. Yes, it’s more of hole in the wall vibe but you come here for the amazing food. Get the BBQ plate with the collards and mac n’ cheese.

Address: 5122 NC-55, Durham, NC 27713

V’s Kitchen

Photo: @monyaslens

You know when you can taste love as an ingredient? Yep, that’s what you get at V’s Kitchen. Really good Southern cooking. Entree prices hover around $8 with two sides and cornbread and a roll.

Address: 2945 S Miami Blvd, Durham, NC 27703

Roy’s Kountry Kitchen

Looking for some down home country cooking? You’re in the right place at Roy’s Kountry Kitchen. Another hidden gem off Fayetteville Street. The price is very reasonable for the good food and portion. Go for the oxtails and smothered pork chops.

Address: 2514 Fayetteville Street, Durham, NC 27707

Makus Empanadas

Photo: Makus Empanadas

We haven’t tried one empanada from this place that we didn’t love! Empanadas are $2.50 each or you can get a meal that includes 2 empanadas, a side, a drink, and a sauce for $9.95. (Vegan and vegetarian options available)

Pro Tip: Use your Shop Durham card for 10% off your purchase

Address: 1125 W North Carolina 54 #304, Durham, NC 27707

Any more cheap eats we need to try? Drop us a line here.

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Katelyn Belch
Author: Katelyn Belch

Founder of Best of the Bull and Shop Durham. It’s my chief goal to keep you in the know about all things Durham.