Recently, I went to the movies and nearly died when I found out that a bottle of ordinary water cost $5. “Was this water filtered from the teardrops of a mermaid?” I asked an impatient teenager behind the counter. It’s not that I’m cheap, it’s just that I believe some things in life are worth splurging on and others—well, they’re just overpriced.
As chef Paul Prudhomme famously said, “You don’t need a silver fork to eat good food.” I too believe that you don’t have to pay a lot to experience good food.
Here’s a list of places where you can eat a real meal for $7 or less—on the East End!
1. My Creperie, Wading River
I’m about to take you on a journey to Europe without a passport or compromising our $7 budget. What is this trickery you ask? It’s the magic of crepes, which are all the rage in the food realm and why wouldn’t they be when they can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert! Located next to the tranquil duck pond in downtown historic Wading River, My Creperie offers several selections that fit our budget including scrambled eggs and cheddar cheese on light and fluffy crepes (all day). Want something a bit savory for lunch or dinner? Try sliced ham and cheddar or a childhood favorite all grown up and sophisticated with the Peanut Butter Sauce and Grape Jelly Crepe? In the mood for some sweet buttery cinnamon and sugar crepes—as the French say, pas de problème!
2. Hampton Coffee Company, Southampton
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Nothing is better on a rainy, cold day then some hot soup and a bagel. The HCC offers just that with Soup of the Day at $5.50. These soups are homemade soups from Hale and Hearty in NYC. While served with a side of saltines, I recommend ordering a plain bagel ($1.50) to soak up the broth. If you’re in need of breakfast—well they’ve got that too! You can order a hot breakfast with your choice of sandwiches including: The Lean n’ Green Burrito (egg white and Kale), a traditional Bacon, Egg & Cheese on a Ciabatta roll or Whole Wheat Pita (egg whites, turkey bacon & swiss) for just $6.95!
When I was a kid, my Dad knew where all the best hot dog trucks parked and we’d usually stop at one during our Sunday drives out East. The Northfork Food Truck (which parks exclusively at the North Fork Table & Inn Thursdays through Mondays) offers a dirty water dog that underwent a makeover and the result is classy all the way. How about a Hartmann’s Artisan all beef hot dog served up on a toasted (yes, toasted) Blue Duck Bakery roll with your choice of either dill pickle relish, apple cider vinegar-glazed onions, house made sauerkraut, or cheese sauce?
4. Goodfood, Mattituck
The name really says it all – Good. Food. This café and specialty food market uses fresh, local, organic ingredients and surprisingly won’t break your budget. With daily specials like seasonal quiche for $5.25 a slice, you’ll even have enough money to buy a cookie.
The famous Gula Gula empanadas—which for those who need a translation—it’s gluttony—twice, are also served up fresh and fits our budget. Two of these stuffed and folded pastries will certainly do the trick for a satisfying meal. You can choose from an assortment of empanadas starting at $3.50 and up. The combination of unique world flavors like, Seasonal Greens (local in-season greens like kale or Swiss chard, roasted garlic, onions and manchego cheese folded in a whole wheat crust), the BBQ Pulled Pork (East Hampton’s Smokin’ Wolf BBQ pork, fresh mangos, sweet potatoes, red onion, red peppers, jalapeño and corn stuffed in a wheat flour crust), as well as Bison, Fish and chicken options. It’s pure joy in every bite.
5. The Islander Restaurant, Shelter Island
I have to be honest, I wasn’t sure I could pull off finding a location on Shelter Island that served lunch and not blow our budget, but I did it (applause, please). Open year-round, the IR offers a family setting while serving up classic food for reasonable prices including a lunch burger menu with your choice of generously sized bacon cheeseburgers, turkey, and veggie burger options, served up with hand-cut potato chips, or salad greens if you want to go healthy, a pickle, and home-made coleslaw. There’s also a selection of favorites like BLT, egg salad and grilled cheese sandwiches. If you happen to be traveling in warmer weather with your canine companion, no worries, The IR has a dog friendly patio.
6. Wednesday’s Table, Southold
Wednesday’s Table is a family owned business on a mission to serve up healthy, delectable food, using fresh ingredients creatively and delivering it straight to the table while mindfully keeping it affordable. WT’s breakfast options accomplish just that offering six breakfast sandwiches all under $7.
If you’re looking to spice up your life – literally and you want to get a morning start on your goals, then perhaps the Chorizo and Egg Sandwich is your perfect match. This spicy creation is constructed with spicy chorizo, two fried eggs, roasted red onion, avocado, pickled jalapeños, and pepper jack cheese on a toasted English muffin. It’s a beautiful mess of delicious. For the health conscious, the Protein Pick-Me-Up (turkey breast, 2 egg whites, roasted mushrooms, sautéed spinach, avocado, and tomatoes on toasted sliced 7-grain bread is highly recommended. That’s right 7 grains under $7—it’s a sign.
7. Harbor Market & Kitchen, Sag Harbor
Harbor Market is quintessentially urban with a rustic flair marrying the best of both worlds. Offering several breakfast selections such as the THM Breakfast sandwich (egg frittata, roasted tomato, fresh greens, and dijonaise dressing), the House-made Tortilla (black bean puree, fried egg, avocado, pico de gallo, queso fresco) or the Farm Fresh Egg Omelet (egg omelet, with mixed greens and fresh fruit) to start off your day.
I’m going to take this further… what if I told you that on our budget, you could get a classic grilled cheese (with your choice of farmhouse cheddar or organic American cheese) and hand cut fries or a Margarita pizzette (small pizza) containing Marzano tomatoes, basil, fresh mozzarella? It’s all true.