Gone are the halcyon days of the dollar menu. Not to sound like your uncle after he's had a few Keystones, but a dollar doesn't get you very far anymore.
Despite the glorified reminiscing about times gone by, a dollar didn't actually get you a whole lot when there were genuine dollar menus at most fast-food chains. You still needed to spend a little extra cheddar to make it a meal. So, instead, let's see where a Lincoln can take you. We rolled around to ubiquitous chains like McDonald's, Subway, and Chipotle to find the best meal that can be cobbled together for about five bucks.
To eat on a budget, you need a system. Here are the three principles driving the food selection for this list:
1. The meal has to be right around $5.
2. We're looking for the best food the joint offers on a budget. It's not about the most food you can get. It's about the best meal you can construct.
3. It's a little bit about the most food you can get. It's a meal, right? So, caloric intake is taken into consideration so that your $5 leaves you feeling full. (Not that get 6,000 calories for $5 is a good idea, but you don't want to be left hungry at the end of lunch.)
Also, we're not paying attention to limited-time offers that won't be around in a few weeks. Sorry, Nacho Fries and unicorn thingamajigs.
Now, dig in.