10 under $10: Pollo guisado, kimchi-laced mac, spicy pork meatballs and more cheap eats

Meatball Shoppe
Meatball Shoppe

A tasty lunch shouldn’t cost more than $10, so every month we round up 10 suggestions for cheap eats. Got one for us? Send nom-nominations to [email protected]

4 Rivers Smokehouse
multiple locations, 4rsmokehouse.com
With the opening of 4 Rivers' City Hall location, the smokehouse officially becomes lunch-appropriate. Any of the signature sandwiches (we like the burnt ends, $8.99) comes with two sides and will put you in a food coma back at your desk; consider a sideboard sampler instead – three of those sides plus a biscuit, $6.99.

Arepas & More Café
207 N. Bumby Ave., 407-894-5262, arepasandmore.com
This Milk District mainstay predates that neighborhood nickname by about a decade; their pollo guisado (chicken stew) is total grandma food and, ladled over a plate of rice and beans, one of the best deals in town at $4.99.

Baoery Asian Gastropub
617 E. Central Blvd., 407-849-9779, baoery.com
Chef Greg Richie's latest concept, an "Asian gastropub," might not technically belong on a list of cheap eats. But it's nice to explore a new joint once in a while, and a dish of the rich, kimchi-laced mac & cheese ($5) and a pile of crisp tempura broccoli ($5) together come in under $10 ... if you don't count tax and tip.

Dandelion Communitea Café
618 N. Thornton Ave., 407-362-1864, dandelioncommunitea.com
Midday Monday is usually a madhouse at Dandelion, seeing as it's "Giddyup Monday," an almost-half-price take on their super-popular Giddyup, a roll-it-or-bowl-it concoction of house-made veggie chili topped with diced tomatoes and scallions, vegan queso or organic cheddar, and a handful of blue corn chips. Regularly $9, it's just $5 on Mondays – order online to shave off a little line time.

multiple locations, orlandogoldenkrust.com
The Bronx-based Jamaican chain is known for its spot-on patties, but a full meal – protein plus rice and peas, steamed veg and plantains – can be had for well under $10. We like the goat curry, $7.95.

JJ's Grille
2950 Curry Ford Road, 407-802-2947, myjjsgrille.com
A Mexican-Mediterranean take on Chipotle-style dining: Choose burrito, salad, pita or rice bowl (ranging from $6.50 to $7.40) and choose your own adventure by topping with your personal combination of meats, legumes, fresh veggies and sauces. Don't skip the "J-Bouli" tabbouleh.

Larkin's Famous Subs
7728 Daetwyler Drive, 407-859-9634
Ultra-devoted fans of the mom-and-pop sub shop with a nautical theme were dismayed when the owners announced they'd be closing Dec. 4. Go in for one last Murphey's sub: chicken, bacon and Swiss, $9.79 (add whole-grain mustard); you are guaranteed leftovers.

Meatball Shoppe
7325 Lake Underhill Road, 407-270-6505, themeatballshoppe.co
Choose from seven kinds of meatballs and five different sauces, then pick a presentation – over salad, in a sandwich, etc. We liked the spicy pork ($8.75) with roasted tomato sauce, atop white bean ragout, with salad and focaccia on the side.

Pita Pit
multiple locations, pitapitusa.com
The Pit is a late-night classic – some are open as late as 4 a.m. – but shouldn't be overlooked as a healthy lunch option. We crave the chicken souvlaki pita, grilled and bursting with crunchy vegetables doused in secret sauce ($6.59).

Shake Shack
119 N. Orlando Ave., Winter Park, 321-203-5130; 8359 International Drive, 407-205-0362, shakeshack.com
We may not be New York, where the Shack often boasts lines hundreds long, but it can get crowded. The burgers are worth the wait, though, as is the Shackmeister dog with cheddar cheese sauce and ale-marinated chopped shallots ($4) sided with crinkle-cut fries slathered in more of that addictive cheese sauce ($3.95).