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Cheap Eats and Where to Find Them!

Print Date 9.17.2021

By Judy Brenna

Back when I was doing the whole stereotypical “struggling student turned actor in New York City” stint, the option of going out to grab a bite was a bit of a unicorn event. I mean, sure, I would stop at the corner store and grab a plain bagel and black coffee at Habib’s ((Hi Habib!)) on the way in to school or work ((back when high carbs and no fat was a thing… insert severe headache inducing eye roll here)), but when it came to going out and celebrating, it was an epic event, basically because all of us were dirt poor and starving, and scrounging up our hard-earned pennies for a meager feast was few and far between, and usually ended up at The Cottage, which was a super cheap Chinese restaurant on Amsterdam that served free, unlimited house wine, to which we took FULL advantage of, and sometimes abused. And if you had a few extra bucks during the week, you could splurge on $1 pizza slices at Ray’s on Broadway, or the $2 hot dog and soda can special at Grey’s Papaya down on 72nd Street, which would probably cost you $5 and $10 respectively these days.

But I am not here to discuss my former woes, nor will I talk about that one month in NYC where I lived solely off a loaf of bread and a tub of peanut butter ((which was probably about the same time someone paid me to rollerblade down Broadway wearing a purple tutu and a Darth Vader helmet)). You learn to get creative when you’re financially struggling... and hungry. What I would like to discuss is dining on a budget. For the most part, the typical college diet consists of pizza, wings, and ramen ((or dollar store boxes of mac and cheese… memories… on the corners of mind…)). Now that school is back in session, we have a lot of students in town, starving for more than just knowledge. We also still have some folks suffering financially from the hardship fallout of Covid-19. Luckily, we have a TON of places in Atlantic County that are serving up some great eats that are cheap and delicious to boot.

The first place I’d like to highlight is Ducktown Tavern and Liquor, located at 2400 Atlantic Avenue in AC. When you're out on the town in Atlantic City and are looking for a fun, family-friendly atmosphere, think Ducktown Tavern. You can enjoy a tasty meal and a drink with friends at great prices that won't break the bank, plus they’re open 7 days a week from 11 am to 3 or 4 in the morning. And if that’s not enough to entice you, they serve up genuinely tasty and consistent tavern classics, at unbelievable pricings. They also offer ½ prices on appetizers during happy hour, 3 pm to 8 pm, and $1 off drinks, with a great selection of beers on draft. So, if you’re on break from classes, or work, in the late afternoon, you can grab an early dinner, fuel up on bites and be completely satisfied.

Another great option is Pic A Lilli Pub, at 231 S. Tennessee Avenue in Atlantic City. Serving up tavern fare in AC for the last 25 years, Pic A Lilli is dubbed King of The Wings, and for good reason. Open seven days a week from 11 am to 10 pm, Pic A Lilli, has a great variety of dining options like beef or chicken sliders, broccoli bites, Caesar salad, classic grinders, BLT’s, cheesesteaks and more. This is by far the best corner bar in the city.

If you’re looking for authentic Asian fare that won’t burn a hole in your wallet, try Pho Sydney, at 2323 Atlantic Avenue in AC. Pho is arguably the most popular food in Vietnam. Traditionally it’s eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It’s an anything goes kind of meal. Plus, this famous dish is a flavor bomb in your mouth and appeals to almost everyone. The best part of Pho is it is light, healthy, and high in protein and antioxidants. So, if you’re more food conscious this place is the way to go. Open 10 am to 10 pm, Pho Sydney serves up classic and delicious Vietnamese cuisine at crazy low prices.

Looking for that pizza fix? There is no place like Chelsea II, located at 1735 Atlantic Avenue in AC. Specializing in Pizza, Salads, and Subs, Chelsea is open Sunday through Thursday 11 am to 2 am, and Friday and Saturday, 11 am to 4 am, AND they deliver! This place is perfect for all those night cram fests in the dorm, and their pizza is fantastic.

If you’re more of a sandwich ((or as someone I’m engaged to would say, “sangwich”)), Vic’s Subs is the place to go. Located at 241 Ohio Avenue in Absecon, Vic’s serves up some pretty superb bites at unbeatable prices, offering classic sandwiches, with vegetarian, and vegan options, this place is super versatile to get your sandwich fix. Another awesome option is Sack-O’-Subs in the English Creek Plaza, in Egg Harbor Township. Offering everything from traditional Italian grinders to customized l0” personal pizzas to low carb salads ((my go to staple for lunch)) and a bunch of vegetarian options, this place is the best. With fresh ingredients and great, low, prices, you can’t lose. Plus, they have some great dessert options too.

And after you, the student reading this, have saved up some extra dough, come down to ((shameless plug)) Deauville Inn for a chopped ribeye cheesesteak, washed down with an Orange Crush ((insert wink emoji here)). That’s all I got for now. Go forth and eat cheap! Until next week, folks… #stayjerseystrong!

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