Food & Drink

All the Types of Foods You Can Eat in the Detroit Area for $1 or Less

We’ve all been there: tearing through the couch cushions in search of any spare cash. Turning pockets of dirty jeans inside out but coming up with nothing but lint. Times are tough, and even if they weren’t, we’d still want to eat as cheaply as possible. And we know you guys, our loyal readers: you’d rather spend $50 on lukewarm lager this weekend than on groceries. We’re not judging; in fact, we’re here to help. We realize for some of you, even the options for cheap eats in Detroit are just too expensive. Here are things you can eat for $1 or less!

Coney dogs!

JJ’s Bar & Grill

Madison Heights

Price: $0.99 Coneys
Detroit’s contribution to the food pyramid is a questionable cylinder of meat covered in chili sauce and slopped in a bun for just less than a buck.  

Garlic sauce!

Every restaurant specializing in Middle Eastern cuisine
Varying locations in Metropolitan Detroit
Price: $0.50-$0.99
Simultaneously the most delicious and offensive food you’ve ever eaten, we are not entirely sure what the ingredients are other than enough garlic to effectively fumigate Transylvania and something that makes it all meld together into a viscous paste. Comes with pita bread.


Various (trucks, baby)
Southwest Detroit
Price: $1
There are more taco trucks in Southwest Detroit than there are cops. At press time, we couldn’t confirm any tacos for less than $1, but rest assured the taco truth is out there!

Fried chicken!

Bishr Poultry & Food Center 


Price: Two chicken wings for $1
Fried chicken with freakishly delicious and mysterious seasonings! Two wings for a dollar! What more could you possibly want? 

Polish food by the pound!



Price: $1, but maybe (probably) slightly more!
This Hamtown staple has been serving up quality Polish specialties since before listicles began! Hit the mini-buffet and fill yourself up to the point of whatever quantity substitutes a dollar! We recommend the gravy. 

Pizza slices!

Brown Jug/Backroom Pizza

Ann Arbor

Price: $1 slice 


3 Nick’s Bar


Price: $0.99 spaghetti on Tuesdays!
There's a rumor that a girl in a bikini will serve you a plate of spaghetti for less than a dollar. What are you waiting for? It’s what Downriver dreams are made of. 


Aladdin Sweets & Cafe


Price: $1/samosa
Nothing costs more than $3.50 at this curry-scented Hamtramck hole-in-the-wall, with the excellent samosas winning the race for the cheapest available this side of Bangalore. 


Multiple locations
Price: $1, possibly less
Detroiters know how to make a dollar last. If you time it right -- and that's "switchover time" -- you might just be the lucky one who gets an old Taquito for a discounted price when they set the freshies out to roast on the rolling confines of the glass case.  


Tamalería Nuevo Leon


Price: $.50 per tamale ($5.50-$6 per dozen)
Real-deal Mexican tamales; sweet, spicy and filling, coming out to about $0.50 a tamale! 


Ye Olde Saloon

Royal Oak

Price: $1 burgers on Sundays
Sundays are generally a good day to visit Royal Oak, as it is the day when the town is wearing off the effects of the Axe body spray infestation from the Friday and Saturday clientele.









Southwest and Madison Heights
Price: $3 for a slider four-pack (each one is $.75)
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Megan Frye is a Detroit-based writer who has never met a tamale she didn’t like, even one that gave her food poisoning and left her praying to a porcelain god for 12 hours in an unnamed foreign country -- she ain’t mad at it. Tweet her at @fryechild with all your favorite cheap eats and tales of gastronomic distress!