Originally created 03/09/06

10 places two people can eat for $10 or less



Although not as powerful as he once was, Alexander Hamilton can still hook a couple up with a hot meal.

The shrinking power of the dollar has made dining out progressively more expensive. At one time, it was easy to entertain on a couple of bucks, but today a meal quickly escalates into double digits. There are still cheap eats to be had, cheap eats that don't skimp on quality or quantity. Tireless and often hungry, The Augusta Chronicle recently beat the streets and came up with the following list of 10 local establishments where, for $10, two people can get a meal and a drink. Please bear in mind, this is not an all-inclusive list, and tips, tax and any adult beverages have not been included.

Reach Steven Uhles at (706) 823-3626 or steven.uhles@augustachronicle.com.

Bill's Family Restaurant

2518 Peach Orchard Road; 5 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday-Friday and 5 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday; 790-4613

WHAT $10 WILL GET YOU: It's actually a challenge to get out of Bill's for more than five bucks apiece. The menu offers a variety of breakfast items, burgers, sandwiches and salads that, even with a dollar drink, will leave enough change to buy this paper.

Hildebrandt's Food Store

226 Sixth St.; 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Tuesday and Thursday-Friday; 9:30 a.m. to 1: 30 p.m. Wednesday; and 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday; 722-7756

WHAT $10 WILL GET YOU: A grocer for more than 100 years and a deli for nearly 50, this Augusta icon serves deli sandwiches made to order. The good news is that the food is outstanding and plentiful; the better news is that it's almost impossible to leave with a sandwich and drink for more than $5 a head.

Hunan Cafe

403 Furys Ferry Road, Martinez; 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 869-1480

WHAT $10 WILL GET YOU: Spring rolls: $1.25; soup: $2.50; and tea: $1.10; a $10 Chinese date for two: well, it's not priceless. But at $9.70 it's pretty close.

Pizza Joint

1245 Broad St.; 11 a.m. to midnight Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday, noon to 2 a.m. Saturday and noon to midnight Sunday; 774-0037

WHAT $10 WILL GET YOU: A slice at the joint runs $1.65, with toppings going for 50 to 75 cents. Drinks are $1.35 in the bottle or $1.50 fountain. Worried that a single slice might be more of a snack? Don't. The folks at Pizza Joint are nothing if not generous in their portions.

Caribbean Experience II

2834 Washington Road; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 733-5665

WHAT $10 WILL GET YOU: Although better known for some slightly more exotic, and pricey, menu items such as goat and oxtail soup, Caribbean Experience also can be recommended for its Jamaican chicken and beef patties. The chicken costs $1.75, and the beef $1.50. That means you can get a couple and still have change for a $1 glass of homemade tropical punch.

Tap Tap

1032 Broad St.;11:30 a.m. to 2:20 p.m. Monday-Friday, and 5:30 p.m. until Tuesday-Saturday; 722-7738

WHAT $10 WILL GET YOU: Tap Tap offers an array of gourmet tacos that range from $1.95 to $2.95. Add $1.50 for a drink, and you can easily eat with some change to spare.

Firehouse Bar-B-Que

2320 Lumpkin Road; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday; 790-9411

WHAT $10 WILL GET YOU: Another beautiful throwback of a barbecue shack, Firehouse is a south Augusta classic. A chopped-pork sandwich will run $3.25, a soft drink from the cooler is $1.25, and a 16-ounce sweet tea is $1.30. That gets two people in under a 10-spot easily.

Freeman's Barbecue

1060 Sand Bar Ferry Road, Beech Island; lunch and dinner Thursday-Saturday; (803) 827-1623

WHAT $10 WILL GET YOU: Pit cooked and tender, Freeman's is true old-fashioned barbecue. The large chopped-pork sandwich costs $3.35, and a glass of cold sweet tea is a buck, which makes the prices pretty old-fashioned, too.

Veracruz Mexican Restaurant

3216 Peach Orchard Road; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Friday, noon to 10 p.m. Saturday-Sunday; 772-9303

WHAT $10 WILL GET YOU: Check this out for a lunch special: two large chicken soft tacos for $3.40. Plenty of cash is left for a drink. The great thing about eating Mexican is that if two tacos aren't quite enough, the chips and salsa are free.

San Jose Mexican Grocery

3183 Washington Road; 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily; 869-0330

WHAT $10 WILL GET YOU: For truly authentic Mexican cuisine at affordable prices, try this small cafe off a Mexican grocery. Tacos are $1.75 apiece, and a super-sweet Mexican soda will run another dollar. Careful counting could leave enough for a Mexican pastry or ice cream novelty.