Look at you—bright-faced, full-of-life newbie to the university campus lifestyle. Everything around you looks tantalizing and you want to try out all of your eating options, up until you remember the crippling student debt hanging over your head. Well, don’t worry; you’re in good hands. You won’t have to survive on ramen and frozen burritos (though we do have a few good recipes to tart those up) to get by on the lack of money in your wallet. I’ve curated for you a small list of places that won’t break the bank (no more than $7 per meal) but will fill your belly.
There are three options to choose from on campus to get your greasy, cheesy, crusty fix. Just don’t scarf it down too fast or everything will taste like cardboard for the next few days.
Hot Lips Pizza: From 2 to 5 p.m. Hot Lips Pizza offers a slice of pizza for $2.50 when you show your student ID. You can also double up and get a slice and a pint for $5 if you’re so inclined.
Hot Lips Pizza
1909 SW Sixth Ave.
Pizzicato Pizza: Though there is no “student special,” from 3 p.m. to close you can grab a slice and pint for $6.99. Not a terrible way to go.
1708 SW Sixth Ave.
Pizza Schmizza: Every day from 3 to 6 p.m., Pizza Schmizza’s happy hour brings in hordes of hungry students, professionals and locals to dine on cheap eats and cheaper drinks. Get there early to procure yourself a seat, because it will get packed.
Pizza Schmizza Pub & Grub
415 SW Montgomery St.
Though you won’t find a quaint little eccentric burger joint à la Bob’s Burgers, you can still grab that American staple of food here on campus.
Joe’s Burgers: The best deal at Joe’s Burgers is the $5 Burger Basket during their happy hour, which is from 3 to 7 p.m. Nearly everything on Joe’s menu is less than $7, so if you miss happy hour, don’t fret, you can still eat like a king without overdrawing your bank account.
540 SW College St.
McDonald’s: the golden arched juggernaut. I won’t go into too much detail about what you can get, because everyone knows from cultural osmosis what they serve. Just know that this fast food joint is oddly situated in the Student Health & Counseling building and is there to sate your burger needs in the shortest time possible. Bababababaa….I’m not above it.
1850 SW Sixth Ave.
There is a plethora of options to choose from here on campus for you food cart needs. Not only are there carts in the Park Blocks, there’s a dedicated cart pod on Southwest Fourth Avenue with a range of cultural cuisine options to choose from. Everything on the following list is located on Fourth Avenue.
Loco Locos: A veritable Portland State institution. Hit up this cart during its lunch special and you can get a whole range of different burritos, with a size that matches that of Chipotle, at prices ranging from $5.50 to $7.00.
New Taste of India: You want massive portions, then you will get massive portions. From 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. this food cart will give you two lunch special options, meat or vegetarian, for $7. You can easily make two meals out of these portions—everybody’s got time for that.
Thai Pasta: To tell the truth, I haven’t eaten here…yet. But I know enough people who go here for lunch that I’m willing to recommend it. Lunch specials change often and are $7 a pop.
If you were so inclined to venture further up Southwest Broadway, there are two honorable mentions hidden on the Broadway-facing side of the Broadway housing building. Both cheap and filling to boot.
Panda Cafe: At $5.95 for the lunch special, this cheap food option will give you enough food for two meals, so it’s a win-win even though it’s your typical food-court style Chinese food.
1968 SW Broadway
Bluefin Sushi: It’s cheap, filling and sushi comes at you on an automated track. All day every plate is $1.95, so what’s not to like? Plus it’s right next to Panda Kitchen if you want to have a cheap-food crawl.
1988 SW Broadway