Bites for a Bargain

Bites for a Bargain: Five WNC restaurants that offer affordable midday meals
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There may not be such a thing as a free lunch, but that doesn’t mean it has to be expensive. While prices on nearly everything may be going up, here are a few options for a great meal under $12 wherever you may roam in the mountains of North Carolina. 

Bowl in the Wall  Black Mountain
A concept and restaurant as small and as delicious as its price, Bowl in the Wall is a literal hole in the back wall of WNC Outdoor Collective in downtown Black Mountain. Their menu is a humble selection of rice bowls with a few different toppings. Choose from tasty Korean bulgogi beef with kimchi, teriyaki chicken with broccoli and pickled onions, or lemongrass pork with bok choy and pineapple, all for just $10 a bowl.

Monford Deli  Woodfin 
A staple of Asheville that recently relocated to an old drive-in in Woodfin, Montford Deli specializes in junk food of the highest order, with prices that can’t be beat. Get their hot Italian, buffalo chicken sandwich, or chopped cheese for $12. Burgers and BLTs run for around $8. The Greek salad for $10 is also a killer deal, as are the $5 chili cheese fries.

Headwaters Kitchen  Old Fort
Located in a quaint yellow house just off the main drag, Headwaters is a small and unassuming little restaurant that packs a big bang for your buck. For lunch, you’ll find a beast of a fried chicken sandwich or a pork tenderloin sammy for a solid $10. But the brunch is the real winner, where everything is $12 and under, including their eggs benedict, shrimp and grits, and shakshuka. And don’t miss the biscuits and gravy for a paltry $6.50. Facebook: Headwaters Kitchen

Boon Choo Thai Express  Flat Rock
The brilliance of the Boon Choo menu is that they have two options for meal sizes labeled “hungry” or “really hungry,” and nearly everything in the hungry portion is priced at or under $12. You’ll find classics like pad Thai, drunken noodle, and pad see-ew, while also offering an array of curries and stir fries. Don’t sleep on their incredible Thai salads like Larb Gai and a spicy chicken and rice noodle salad for $11, either.

The Tastee Diner Asheville
Asheville’s longest-standing restaurant has seen a lot of changes since it opened in 1946, including its most recent overhaul by Chef Steven Goff. With modern spins on classic diner foods, the Tastee Diner is one of the few places where you can really spend as much or as little as you like, with fancy entrées and caviar service for dinner or affordable sandwiches for breakfast and lunch. Must-haves include the smoked brisket, egg, and cheese sandwich for $10, or the haus Reuben for $12.