Orlando abounds in fantastic cheap eats – welcome to our monthly roundup of places to get lunch for less than $10. If you’ve got a 10 Under $10 suggestion for us, send it to [email protected]
BB Junction 2103 W. Fairbanks Ave., Winter Park, 407-513-4134, bbjunction.com We are starting off this month with a bit of a cheat – BB Junction is not a "cheap eats" kinda place. But even if one of their burgers would break your $10 bank, you can get your paws on their BB grilled cheese with brie, goat cheese, herb aioli, watercress and peach jam for just $7.
Black Rooster 1323 N. Mills Ave., 407-601-0994, blackroostertaqueria.com Again, this isn't really a "cheap eats" place – Black Rooster is bringing a farm-to-table approach to Mexican classics; this ain't Del Taco. But an achiote pork taco, a veggie shiitake-and-zucchini taco and a meatball sope (beef-pork-pinto bean, with black mole and white cabbage) adds up to a delicious $10 lunch.
Empire Szechuan 341 N. Orange Ave., 407-839-1236, orlandoempireszechuan.com Longtime downtown favorite is best known for its crazy-cheap lunch special: $5.87 for a generous blob of your favorite stir-fry with barbecue-pork fried rice and a can of soda. If you have a few extra minutes to wait, order a less-popular dish and they'll wok-toss it fresh rather than serve from the steam table.
Java Lava 47 E. Robinson St., 407-770-1888, javalavacoffeeshops.com Nothing on the wide menu of sandwiches, salads and more breaks $10, but our favorite is the basil, mozzarella and tomato panini ($7.30), pressed with aioli and balsamic vinegar.
Leo's Diner 333 N. Orange Ave., 407-423-5367 A classic diner serving "home style comfort food," Leo's is like a trip back in time. The patty melt with fries, cole slaw or baked beans is just $7.95, but packs a punch.
Mama B's Giant Subs 692 N. Orange Ave., 407-422-7353; 1101 S. Orange Ave., 407-649-7808 Mama B's is old-school: no website, no credit cards and no back-talk, please. They're not kidding about the giant subs, either – $6.81 for a whole or $3.99 for a half. We like the egg salad, made in-house, and the salami. Ask (politely) for a toasted roll.
Market on South 2603 E. South St., 407-613-5968, marketonsouth.com We're partial to the BBQ jackfruit tacos, but a pair plus a side will run you $11. So go for the TLT ($10) instead: smoky tempeh "bacon" with heirloom tomatoes and greens on lemon-mayo-doused Texas toast.
Mynt 535 W. New England Ave., Winter Park, 407-636-7055, myntorlando.com Mynt's lunch special is a great deal. A samosa, lentil soup, steamed basmati rice and your curry of choice are brought in a tiffin (a layered metal lunch pail) and unlatched at the table; papadum, naan and dessert are served separately. If you choose one of the eight vegetarian curries, you're out for $9 plus tip.
Nha Trang Subs 1216 E. Colonial Drive, 407-346-4549 Some of the best and cheapest banh mi in Mills 50 are found here – super crisp baguettes make the difference, but the $3.50 to $4.50 price range doesn't hurt, either. Traditionalists won't go wrong with the dac biet, but step out and try the fried fish paste if you're adventurous. Cash only.
Tacos El Rancho multiple locations, tacoselrancho.com We like the Hoffner Avenue location, but we are usually downtown around lunchtime, so that's where we order our enchiladas verde – two baked enchiladas with rice and beans for $7.75. There's also a selection of Mexican beers, plus house-made rumchata.