For a city of fewer than 100,000 people, Bend has a plethora of food options. But finding lunch options that don't require dinner-price payouts? A bit harder to come by.
Since we count ourselves among the hard-working, budget conscious downtown workforce that doesn't always want to resort to cold sammies compiled in a community kitchen, we set out to find some low-budget lunch options. Here are four Bend lunches costing less than $7.
- Nicole Vulcan
- Not giant by any means, but a solid showing for a $5.50 lunchtime meal at Market of Choice's salad bar.
$5.50 (or so) Salad Bar
Consuming a salad while at my desk is not something I do just to offset the unhealthiness of eating at said desk; it also happens to be one of the cheapest available lunches I've found within walking distance of the Source. Market of Choice's salad bar, at $8.99 a pound, might not appear to be super cheap at first blush—but I can vouch, from many trips there—that you don't need to pack a full pound into your to-go box to make a hearty meal. I opt for the medium-size cardboard box (thanks for bagging the single-use plastic, MOC!) and fill it up with all the yummy stuff I like, and generally never go over about $6.
For this challenge, my box weighed in at a whopping $5.50. If you're pinching pennies, you might opt for fewer cherry tomatoes or other "heavy" stuff, but a few trips around the bar and you'll get the hang of what's going to weigh your box down. Word to the wise, however: MOC's Hawaiian poke bar is not part of the salad bar. Indulging in that raw fish delight will cost you $14.99 a pound. – Nicole Vulcan
Market of Choice
115 NW Sisemore St., Bend
$6 Taco SaladA longtime local favorite, Super Burrito serves up fresh, authentic Mexican cuisine at a beyond reasonable price. They can easily cater to dietary restrictions (even insane ones, like my corn allergy) and the price and service are a perfect combo for a quick work week lunch break or an inexpensive family dinner. Chips and homemade salsa are self-serve and complimentary, as are spicy doses of escabeche (pickled jalapeños and carrots). No matter how swamped the cashiers are, they welcome every customer with a warm smile.
- Cayla Clark
- Veggie taco salad from Super Burrito's downtown location.
The best part of this fast and friendly dining experience? None of the burritos cost over $7, and none of the tacos cost over $3. My veggie taco salad was only $6, and it was so big and filling I (could have) saved half for dinner. – Cayla Clark
1133 NW Wall St. #101, Bend
El Super Burrito East Side
2100 U.S. 20, Bend
$6.50 Triple S: Salad, soda, slice
The amount of Pizza Mondo I consume is pretty high. I'd say I average—at the very minimum—one slice every other week. I'd feel pretty confident in saying it's even more than that, because most of the time I get two slices when I drop in. It's close to the office, it's delicious, and the cherry on top? It's affordable.
- Isaac Biehl
For a fast and cheap bite, Mondo's lunch special is pretty hard to beat. You get a hardy salad, a pizza slice of your choice and a soda, available every day from 11:30am to 3:30pm, so if your lunch break isn't at a set time, you have some wiggle room to catch this deal at your convenience. And it only costs $6.50! - Isaac Biehl
811 NW Wall St., Bend
Café Yumm's menu features its staple rice-and-beans Yumm Bowl and a variety of salads and sandwiches that provide a nutritious meal on the go. But the best deal on the menu is the large house soup, served with a side of bread and butter for $7. (Ask them to heat up the bread!) They serve a Chipotle Chili (mild) and Chilean Zucchini Stew most days, and then rotate out two or three other high-protein options like Hickory Lentil Soup and Moroccan Chickpea Soup. The African Groundnut Stew occasionally makes an appearance on the menu and is made with peanuts, yams, cabbage, tomatoes, onion and cilantro. For a lighter lunch, the Tomato Curry Soup is balanced with coconut milk, and spiced with curry, black mustard seeds and onion.
- Courtesy Cafe Yumm!
Café Yumm uses at least 50% organic ingredients (according to its website) and everything is made to order. Karli Foster and Ellen Chamberlain own both the Old Mill District location and the store at Neff Place near St. Charles Medical Center. Their crew is fast and consistent, and the menu offers plenty of options for vegans, vegetarians and people who are gluten free. - Laurel Brauns
Café Yumm Old Mill District
325 SW Powerhouse Dr., Ste 130
Café Yumm Neff Place
1500 NE Cushing Dr., Ste 130