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Cheap Eats in Dallas County

Taking the whole family out to eat can be an expensive affair. Affordable choices that are also healthy can be a particularly challenging find. In the midst of fast-food chains and greasy gut-busting meals, Dallas offers a few gems that will please even the most budget- and health-conscious of families. The following options will feed your family of four for less than $30. Put the french fries down!

Café Express
Café Express is the brainchild of chef Robert Del Grande and specializes in Southwestern cuisine with an emphasis on freshness and flavor. The reasonably priced menu offers traditional American fare but feel free to spice it up with a bowl of Southwest (turkey) chili for $4.39. Kids’ classics like grilled cheese and chicken tenders are available for $4.49 and include a beverage and choice of french fries or fruit.
Lovers Lane, 214/352-2211
McKinney Ave., 214/999-9444
Mockingbird Station, 214/841-9444

Eatzi’s Market and Bakery
EatZi’s is a European-inspired market and bakery that offers numerous options sure to please the whole family. Visit the eatZi’s sandwich station to watch the chef prepare a sandwich exactly to your specifications, starting at $6.59. Entrees and sides are available in the prepared foods section and start at $5.99 a pound. Lunch is made easy with kids’ favorites such as chicken and mac ’n’ cheese, pre-portioned in easy-to-grab lunches to go.
Oak Lawn Ave., 214/526-1515
Lovers Lane, 214/358-3100

McAlister’s Deli
McAlister’s Deli has an extensive menu full of various soup, salad and sandwich options. Try their baked veggie spud for only $4.99 if you’re in the mood for something different. Their kids’ menu features healthy alternatives to the typical cheeseburger, like the garden salad and a kid-sized spud. Kids’ meals are only 99¢ for dine-in and $1.99 for take-out.
Montfort Drive, 469/374-0495

Panera Bread
Favorites such as PB&J and grilled cheese are prepared using whole-grain bread and served with a side of organic yogurt for as little as $3.99. Parents will be pleased with the low prices and wide range of menu options. Pair one of the daily soups with a panini or small salad for $6.59 and leave feeling satisfied.
Lemmon Ave., 214/443-0880
Park Lane, 214/692-1299
Preston Road, 469/221-1197
Cedar Hill, 469/272-3610
Mesquite, 972/613-3300

Paradise Bakery and Café
Escape to Paradise Bakery and Café to enjoy made-from-scratch entrees that won’t hurt your wallet or waistline. Parents will enjoy original takes on classics such as the turkey sandwich with cranberry sauce for $7.15. Kids will enjoy traditional fare such as macaroni and cheese, which comes accompanied by a drink, fresh fruit and one of Paradise Bakery’s famous chocolate chip cookies for $4.25.
Elm Street, 214/761-1636
Dallas Parkway, 972/503-1800
Cedar Springs Road, 214/468-8300

Sweet Tomatoes
Sweet Tomatoes offers a salad bar with a wide variety of options. Kids will have fun creating their own salad, and parents will be pleased with the availability of healthy choices. Kitchen classics such as herb chicken are available for those who aren’t fans of leafy greens. If you’re a family on the go, pick up 32oz. of soup or pasta for $6.99 and a one-pound loaf of bread for under $4. There’s always something new, as the selection changes every couple of weeks.
Montfort Drive, 972/385-7160

Zoës Kitchen
The clean and crisp décor of Zoës Kitchen reflects its food. Zoës’ menu is full of nutritious sandwiches and salads; however, Zoës also serves less traditional fare such as kabobs and grilled pimento cheese. Call ahead to pick up a dinner for four. Dinners start at $26.95.
Snider Plaza, 214/987-1020
Lovers Lane, 214/357-0100
Royal Lane, 469/341-0123