With over 135 attractions and things to do, Greensboro, NC is a fun and beautiful city to experience. Of course, whether you’re staying or just passing through, it so happens that Greensboro also has a lot of budget-friendly places to grab a delicious bite to eat.
Who doesn’t love budget-friendly bites?
Situated between Raleigh and Winston-Salem and just above Charlotte, Greensboro is a primely located city. Whether you’re a vacationing couple, a cash-strapped band of hippies (which could also be the term for “family with lots of children”), a college student busting loose on an adventure with all three dollars leftover from paying tuition, or just basically like 99% of Americans, then dining on a budget is your jam.
Similarly, you probably also want to have something out of the ordinary when traveling. Sure, it’s super exciting to see that rare sign for a Panera Bread Company or Chic-fil-A, but you can get that at home (or somewhere closer to home). Instead, when in Greensboro, we suggest checking out any one of these unique, oh-so-tasty crowd- (and budget-) pleasing places.
1. Hops Burger Bar
The first place is Hops Burger Bar. Located on Spring Garden Street, Hops is a laid back burger venue that pairs chill with quality ingredients and doable prices. Hops serves fine craft beers, and their burgers are made with certified angus beef, so for travelers who care as much about what they put in their bodies as what they pull out of their wallets, Hops is it.
Hops also uses locally-grown ingredients. They have specialty burgers (like one Italian inspired nosh made with ravioli) as well as a regular menu of savory flavor combinations including: the Hawaiian topped with sweet and spicy chili sauce, blue cheese, and grilled pineapple; the Asian Invasion with wasabi slaw, spicy mustard, and sesame seeds; or the North Carolinian with applewood bacon, fried green tomato, a farm-fresh fried egg, pimento cheese, and lettuce. Beer pairing recommendations are also provided. Speaking of recommendations, we recommend calling ahead and making a reservation if you don’t feel like waiting, because Hops is hoppin’.
2. Crafted – The Art of the Taco
Not in the mood for burgers? No worries … Crafted – The Art of the Taco located on South Elm Street is devoted to making all of your taco dreams come true. Start your dining experience with the Dirty South Nachos (sweet potato chips topped with pulled pork, scallions, and sweet chipotle aioli) or the Mason of Bacon (a mason jar filled with applewood bacon and served with a side of salted caramel and chocolate for dipping).
Okay, so now that you know Crafted isn’t afraid to get weird with their locally cultivated ingredients, let’s talk taco. The taco menu features things like: the Bowtie, which is beer-battered fish, roasted corn and poblano salsa, sweet chipotle aioli, and honey mustard; the Po’Boy, which is Cajun fried shrimp, lettuce, pico de gallo, Cajun remoulade, and spicy pickles; and the Messenger, which pairs chorizo, scrambled egg, potatoes, ranchero, guacamole, and crumbled queso.
In case you’re digging the idea of Crafted’s flavor profiles but want to think outside of the taco, then check out Crafted – The Art of Street Food located on Battleground Avenue. Here, The Crafted team brings the best of international street food to their Greensboro restaurant (and even better, the prices are on par with the cost of street food). Okra with Indian spices, Mexican street tacos, Samosa Chaat from India, Thai spring rolls and coconut scallion cakes, Korean meatballs, Vietnamese pho, and Japanese ramen are just a few of the options on the snacks and small / large plates menus. Crafted – The Art of Street Food is first-come, first-serve, so … hurry.
3. Sticks & Stones
Forget sticks and stones breaking your bones, missing out on the Walker Avenue corner pizzeria will hurt you. Sticks & Stones’ house-made dough is created with locally milled organic flour. Pizzas are cooked in a wood-fired oven at temperatures of 700 degrees, so they achieve a level of perfection otherwise … well, unachievable.
Start with small plates like the Rescue Blues (rosemary garlic potato fries) or Gold (house made fried mozzarella with roasted tomatoes and walnut pesto) before moving on to the main event.
You’ll be hard pressed to select a pizza given options including pies like the Avalanche, which has tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, fresh basil, and truffle oil, or the Let It Ride made with roasted shallot cream sauce, prosciutto, local collards, mozzarella, and fried chicken.
Not in the mood for pizza? No worries. They’ve got a sandwich menu that practically demands a second visit.
4. Dames Chicken and Waffles
Looking for something a little more cultured? Don’t let the name Dames Chicken and Waffles fool you … this place is about more than breakfast food (waffles), and it’s for more than just the dames. Located on Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, Dames serves crispy, Southern fried chicken atop (or sandwiched between) a variety of exotic waffles complete with a sweet and savory shmear.
After the Red Crested Combo (two chicken legs, a classic waffle with candied pecans and strawberry shmear), you’ll wonder how you’ve gone so long without chicken and waffles in your life. Love fruit? Then the Carolina Cockerel is crowing your name. Enjoy three chicken wings, a blueberry waffle, and peach and apricot schmear. Of course, the Orange Speckled Chabo, which is a chicken cutlet on a sweet potato waffle drizzled with honey Dijon and an orange honeycomb schmear would give anyone a cause to swoon.
In case the main event isn’t soul satisfying enough, Dames’ side staples like collard greens, macaroni and cheese, and southern grits define comfort food. It should be noted that the prices at Dames define comfort spending as well.
5. Iron Hen Café
Looking for a little pep in addition to some local comfort food? If so, check out the Iron Hen Café, which is a farm-to-table restaurant located on Cridland Road. Iron Hen Café serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Buttermilk pancakes, cinnamon raisin toast, a smoked salmon omelet, crab cake Benedict, and, of course, coffee make for great start to the day. Meanwhile, salads like the Holly Grove Goat Cheese Salad (crispy goat cheese, oven roasted beets) or the Iron Hen Salad Plate, which is the red delicious-chicken or egg salad served along side fresh fruit and house made farmer’s cheese (GF) are two options for lunch or dinner.
The award-winning chef puts a spin on the many sandwich options. For example, the Reuben is made with a Russian dressing on Asiago peppercorn bread. The Summerfield Farm ½ Lb. Grass-Fed and Finished Beef Burger is served on a Kaiser roll, and you can add smoked Gouda, pimento, or bleu cheese to jazz it up even more. The Pimento Cheese Melt made with house-made pimento cheese, tomato, and applewood bacon is a true taste of the south. Mini crab cakes, hash, and tomato coconut soup are some of the other options at this upscale southern venue.
There’s also a “Little Chicks Feed” menu. If your budget and palate like simple, fresh, and delicious for simple, affordable prices, the Iron Hen Café has you covered.
6. Mid-City Sandwich Co.
Sandwich-lovers on South Elm Street should consider giving Greensboro newcomer, Mid-City Sandwich Company, a try. Mid-City is classic, craveable goodness that satisfies budgets and appetites.
Choose from classic hits like Smoked Turkey & Havarti finished with lettuce, tomato, and basil pesto mayonnaise or Black Forest Ham & Swiss finished with lettuce tomato, and Dijonaise. Mix and match with a half sandwich or flatbread pizza and a half-soup or salad. Flatbreads include deliciousness like the Asian BBQ chicken topped with cilantro, shaved onion, and Asian BBQ sauce or the Lombardi with sausage, peppers, onions, mozzarella, and red sauce.
7. Lox, Stock & Bagel
Deli-lovers need look no further than Lox, Stock & Bagel, an authentic Boar’s Head brand delicatessen located on Battleground Avenue. Here, you’ll find more signature sandwich combinations than you’ll know what to do with (and none of them are out of budget). There are normal combos and then there are a few outside-the-box bites like the Hoboken, which is hot roast beef, cherry peppers, and melted provolone on a sub roll. The Double Devil Dog is two Kosher hotdogs with grilled onions and peppers, spicy mustard, and melted American cheese. We should add that there are also burger options (including meatless garden burger or black bean burgers) served with your choice of toppings.
An affordable kids menu (really, everything is $3.50), desserts, healthy sides, and snacks, as well as beers, wines, and other beverages make Lox, Stock & Bagel a guaranteed hit for your palate and your bank account.
8. M’Coul’s Public House
Who doesn’t love an Irish pub or delicious pub fare? Well, at M’Coul’s Public House on West McGee Street, that’s exactly what you’ll get. The authentic Irish pub and restaurant is housed in a historic building established in 1892. Saturday and Sunday brunch make M’Coul’s a great morning weekend option, especially if you like hearty, filling fare (and who doesn’t?). Omelets, eggs Benedict, crab cake Benedict, steak and eggs, pancakes, and even an angus burger with sriracha aioli round out the brunch menu.
Meanwhile, traditional bites with fun twists like Irish Spring Rolls (stuffed with corned beef, cabbage potatoes, and carrots with spicy remoulade) or the Banger Plate (grilled Irish sausages with smoked Gouda, whole grain mustard, and toasted marbled rye points) are a great start to the meal. Fish and chips, Shepherd’s pie, pot roast, lamb stew, and other traditional Irish cuisine complement an extensive menu of sandwiches, wraps, burgers, and other delicious options.
There’s nothing you won’t find at M’Coul’s Public House in terms of cuisine, and there’s nothing you will find that’ll offend your budget. Actually, this can be said for the beautiful city of Greensboro in general.
All of these (and other) Greensboro restaurants have unique, fun, and palate-pleasing eats that are affordable for any cash-strapped family, couple, lone-traveler, motorcycle brigade, traveling circus, etc. Greensboro’s a place where you can eat your food, not your wallet.