This article originally appeared in the March 2021 issue of Missouri Life magazine.

Dining out can be a grand adventure for your taste buds, but sometimes the experience can leave your budget a bit battered. Luckily, many of the best bites Missouri has to offer don’t come with a big price tag. From global grub and satisfying snacks to enticing upgrades for old favorites, you can easily savor a state’s worth of deliciousness without emptying your wallet. Get ready for a frugal feast with everything on this chow list ringing up for $10 or less.

Boji Stone Cafe

Chillicothe • • 660-646-9939 • 612 N. Washington St.

Bread Pudding

Food often brings people together, a guiding principle at this northern Missouri cafe, coffeehouse, and bookstore combo that’s named after a composite stone said to promote a deep feeling of connectedness with others. At the very least, diners will likely find common ground around Boji Stone’s impressive menu selection, which spans breakfast, brunch, lunch, drinks, and dessert.

Kick off your day with the $7.50 Lil’ Country Sampler, a platter of fried country ham and cheddar cheese scrambled with three farm fresh eggs and served over a buttery biscuit prepared on a griddle—all covered in homemade sausage gravy. The $10 Kitchen Sink Casserole brings together hash browns, eggs, bacon, sausage, ham, roasted peppers and onions, and Swiss and cheddar cheeses in baked goodness. The hearty meal also comes with your choice of a side, such as oatmeal, toasted croissant, muffin, fresh fruit, and sausage links, among others.

Pastas, salads, and a lineup of sandwiches and wraps served with potato chips abound for lunch. The $8 Ravioli Alfredo consists of cheese-stuffed pasta covered with homemade parmesan sauce. The $8.50 Boji House Salad offers a bounty of lettuce (or spinach for an extra dollar), bacon, cheddar, pecans, cranberries, mushrooms, and feta. Order the $10 brisket melt, and devour the slow-roasted, espresso-rubbed beef layered with cheddar and Swiss cheeses on grilled sourdough. A spicy cayenne pepper sauce is the star of the $9 Kickin’ Chicken Wrap, a flavorful bundle of roasted chicken, bacon, lettuce, and red onion. Save room for the daily rotation of from-scratch desserts such as cheesecake, bread pudding, cinnamon rolls, and scones.

Frisco Melt with BLT Salad

The drink list includes lattes, cappuccinos, frappés, smoothies, and juices with price points ranging from $3.25 to $5 depending on size. Try the Tony (triple espresso and a hint of vanilla) or the Heath Bar (espresso, milk, chocolate, and English toffee). The Strawberry Truffle is a luscious blend of strawberries, white chocolate, and milk while the New Zealand Cooler is a thirst-quenching mix of kiwi, raspberries, and lemonade.

Sundays at Boji Stone are for brunch. Linger over the $7.99 French toast (three thick slices of bread soaked in spiced custard and grilled with brown sugar butter and syrup), which can be topped with bananas, pecans, caramel, chocolate chips, or peanut butter, for just 75 cents each.

Cafe Poland

Columbia • Cafe Poland on Facebook • 573-874-8929 • 807 Locust St.

Pierogies, Cafe Polans

Polish dumplings, known as pierogi, are the main attraction at this cozy eatery in downtown Columbia. For $9, you can get six pierogies sprinkled with carmelized onions and stuffed with potato and other delights such as farmer cheese, bacon, beef, mushrooms, and sauerkraut. No matter what flavors you choose, a dollop of sour cream completes the perfect bite. For more of a meal, pair your pierogies with a cup of beet soup called borscht ($3 for a small and $6 for a large) or a $4.50 salad with lettuce, pickles, olives, tomato, and onion.

Sausages are another fundamental part of Polish cuisine, so consider the breakfast hot dog with spicy cheese sauce, egg, bacon, and ham for $7.50. Also affordable are the selection of crepes. These thin pancakes are delectable for breakfast, lunch, or dinner with a variety of sweet or savory fillings. Nine bucks is all you need for two crepes stuffed with your choice of ingredients such as grilled chicken, spinach and feta, strawberries, hazelnut and chocolate, or peanut butter and preserves.

Thirsty? Cafe Poland has everything from a $6 traditional Polish shake blended with fresh fruits, milk, and sour cream to coffee drinks like a $4 iced latte and a $3 espresso.

London Calling Pasty Company

Springfield • • 417-705-6000 • 1530 E. St. Louis St.

Shepherd’s Pie, London Calling Pasty Company

At the Route 66 Food Truck Park, a big red double-decker bus beckons the hungry masses of southwest Missouri to “take a bite out of Britain.” The iconic transportation serves as a dining room for one of the four Springfield locations of London Calling Pasty Company where you can find English favorites like $3.99 Sausage Rolls, $8.99 Shepherd’s Pie, and—the main attraction—pasties. The handheld pies, which originated as a lunchtime meal for tin miners in Cornwall, England, have thick crusts and hearty fillings.

For $7.99 each, you can tuck into any pasty you fancy. The menu features six regular items and a rotation of seasonal fare. The Oggie is a traditional offering with succulent bites of steak, onion, golden potato, and rutabaga that pairs well with the Guinness beef gravy. The Bombay is a vegetarian option stuffed with roasted cauliflower, tender chickpeas, and golden potatoes marinated in spicy crushed tomatoes with notes of coriander, turmeric, garam masala, garlic, and cayenne pepper. The most popular pasty brims with smoky bacon, chicken, and creamy garlic and herb cheese.

Big Red Double-Decker Bus and patio at London Calling Pasty Company

London Calling also serves up classic British desserts like the $5.49 sticky toffee pudding (moist cake made with fresh dates, espresso, and vanilla in a buttery toffee sauce) and the $2.99 Banoffee pie (graham cracker and butter crust filled with caramel, fresh bananas, and whipped cream).

While the big red double-decker bus is closed during the winter months, you can still get your English eats at London Calling’s pub at the Battlefield Mall, the kiosk at the National Avenue Price Cutter grocery store, or at the food truck at the Farmers Market of the Ozarks.

Java Jive Deli & Bakery

Hannibal • • 573-221-1017 • 211 N. Main St.

Cranberry Turkey Pecan Salad, Java Jive Deli & Bakery

With its bright yellow, blue, and pink exterior, Java Jive stands out as a gathering place for locals and tourists alike. Located in historic downtown Hannibal, it’s a welcoming place to relax over breakfast, lunch, or dinner, or just to grab a coffee.

Growling stomachs don’t stand a chance against the $6.50 Monster Breakfast Sandwich, which comes with ham, sausage, and cheddar cheese on your choice of bread such as English muffin, croissant, or bagel. Give into temptation and pick up a $3.25 raspberry cream croissant, cinnamon twist, or sweet cream scone. For those who need more morning fuel, coffee and tea are always brewing at Java Jive. Keep it simple with the $2.50 double espresso, or branch out with a $4.25 twenty-four ounce iced cappuccino, which can be tailored to your taste with 65-cent flavors like banana, salted caramel, butter rum, dark chocolate, peach, and coconut.

The $10 Cranberry Turkey Pecan Salad is a popular lunchtime pick loaded with organic spring mix, cucumbers, shredded carrots, feta, croutons, red onion, cherry tomatoes, and a side of creamy poppy seed dressing. The $9.25 Twain Wrap honors the city’s most famous son with a whole wheat tortilla packed with smoked turkey, crumbled bacon, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and a zesty chipotle ranch. Throughout the week, the $9 soup-and-sandwich specials present perfect pairs. Mondays and Tuesdays are for black bean soup and pepper jack grilled cheese. Wednesdays and Thursdays place tomato bisque alongside classic grilled cheese. Fridays and Saturdays call for chili served with a peanut butter sandwich.

Dessert is always a good idea with choices like $3.50 cannoli, $2 cookies (in varieties like chocolate chip, cranberry walnut, and cookies and cream) and a $3.50 trio of Recovery Balls made with rolled oats, peanut butter, honey, chia, flax seed, and chocolate chips.

Spanish Street Farmacy

Cape Girardeau • • 573-381-2702 • 34 N. Spanish St.

Blue Plate Special, Spanish Street Farmacy

This downtown Cape Girardeau restaurant has a 1930s drugstore theme complete with a soda fountain, luncheonette, and fresh market. The kitchen crafts its cuisine from local seasonal produce that’s non-GMO and organic.

Customers get a variety of clean proteins, fresh vegetables, healthy fat, and nutrient-rich carbs with the $10 blue-plate special that changes daily. Kimchi fried rice with pasture-raised chicken, grass-fed lamb stew in a sourdough bread bowl, and meatloaf with salad and mashed sweet potatoes topped with onion gravy were among the recent selections.

Other items include a $9 burger that features a one-third-pound local heritage pork patty, coleslaw, and barbecue sauce. The $8 black bean burger is topped with grilled onions, fresh lettuce, and mayo. Complete your meal with a $3.50 cup of soup or a $4 half order of the spinach salad made with carrots, red onions, goat cheese, raisins, sunflower seeds, and creamy herb dressing.

The $6 milkshakes, floats, and sundaes can be customized with ice cream flavors like butter pecan, cookies and cream, mint chip, and lemon ice, as well as soda varieties such as root beer, egg cream, wild cherry, and elderberry tonic.

Steve’s Hot Dogs

St. Louis • • 314-932-5953 • 3457 Magnolia Ave.

Bacon Bacon Jamaican Dog

At Steve’s Hot Dogs, fresh buns from Vitale’s, a St. Louis bakery, and smoked all-beef Nathan’s hot dogs set a mouthwatering foundation fit for a foodie. Next comes a tantalizing array of toppings sure to please eaters of any persuasion.

The $7.95 Bacon Bacon Jamaican dog features two slices of crisp bacon, pepper jack cheese, jerk seasoning, bell peppers, and honey chipotle barbecue sauce. Creamy pasta, bacon, and fried onions make the $7.50 Gorilla Mac & Cheese a delightful combo. Take a tasty tour of two of America’s biggest cities with the $5.95 Chicago Dog dressed with mustard, relish, onion, pickle, and a tomato wedge (there’s also a spicy version for $6.95 with sweet hot relish, spicy mustard, and chipotle and jalapeno peppers) and the $6.50 Greedo, a New York City-style hot dog with sauerkraut, grilled onion, and brown mustard. Vegans can substitute a veggie dog in any of the recipes or try the $7.25 Very, Very Veggie Dog, a plant-based dog topped with grilled vegetables, tomato, sweet relish, banana peppers, celery salt, and housemade smoky pepper mustard.

In addition to the menu’s eleven staple hot dogs, Steve’s also collaborates with local restaurants and food brands for limited run specials. You can also build your own dog for $5.25 plus 50 cents to $1 per topping. Not a hot dog fan? Order one of the gourmet hamburgers, like the $6.95 Norbit, a smoked beef (or veggie) patty piled with chili, shredded cheddar, jalapeno slices, and sliced onion.

Sno-Ball Daddy

Poplar Bluff • • 118 N. 10th St.

When the weather heats up, you might find yourself dreaming of snow. If that’s the case, head to Sno-Ball Daddy, a seasonal walk-up dessert stand in southeast Missouri, where you can cool down with a signature New Orleans sno-ball. The treat of finely shaved, soft, and fluffy ice dates back to the 1930s and remains a crowd pleaser today.

At Sno-Ball Daddy, the chilly confections start at $2.25 for eight ounces to $4.90 for thirty-two ounces. Customize your sno-ball with a choice of more than ninety handcrafted syrups in flavors, like blueberry cheesecake, margarita, red velvet cake, cappuccino, pumpkin pie, and southern sweet tea; sugar-free flavors are available upon request. You can also top these icy treats with fifteen different add-ons for 75 cents each, such as Oreo cookies, Gummi Worms, Cookie Dough Bites, M&M’s, and Rainbow Nerds.

For the ultimate indulgence, try the $8.40 Papa Bear Dream, a three-ounce sno-ball stuffed and crowned with soft-serve ice cream, soaked in your choice of flavor, and drizzled with Dream Cream.

Ice Cream Sundae, Sno-Ball Daddy

Vietnam Cafe

Kansas City • • 816-472-4888 • 522 Campbell St.

Bun Thap Cam, Vietnam Cafe

This Columbus Park eatery prides itself on a selection of flavorful rice noodle soups called pho, served with fresh bean sprouts, basil, cilantro, jalapeno peppers, and limes. Beef lovers will enjoy the $9.25 Pho Dac Biet overflowing with beef meatballs, brisket, thinly sliced eye of round beef, rough flank, and tripe. If seafood is more your taste, order the $9.75 Pho Do Bien, which is full of shrimp, mussels, squid, and imitation crab meat. The $8.80 Pho Ga, packed with shredded chicken, is pure comfort food that will warm you from inside out.

Beyond pho, the menu offers other Vietnamese culinary gems like the $5.75 Bahn Tom Chien (six deep-fried sweet potato and shrimp fritters served on a bed of lettuce with a side of house fish sauce)and the $9.50 Com Chien Duong Chau (fried rice with barbecue pork, Chinese sausage, and shrimp) served with fresh chopped iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, pickled carrots and daikon, fish sauce, and a side of chicken soup. For a light, refreshing option, try the $8.80 Bun Cha Gio, a traditional pork noodle salad of vermicelli noodles with egg roll, peanuts, and fried onions. The dish also comes with fresh bean sprouts, chopped iceberg lettuce, pickled carrots and daikon, cilantro, and a side of fish sauce.

If you’re feeling sleepy after all this filling fare, sip on a $3.50 Cafe Sua Da (iced Vietnamese coffee blended with condensed milk) for a major caffeine boost.

Cafe Sua Da, Vietnam Cafe

Happy Hours & Daily Specials

Discover Cheap Deals in the Cities


Addison’s Downtown

709 Cherry St. | 573-256-1995 | Sundays–Thursdays, 9 pm–midnight and Fridays–Saturdays, 9 pm–Midnight 

The tasty Nachos Bianco are usually $12, but are only $6 during Happy Hour, plus craft beers on tap are $2.50 and glasses of wine are $4.50.

The Heidelberg

410 S. 9th St., Columbia | 573-449-6927 | Mondays–Fridays, 3–6 pm

Buy one, get one free appetizers, plus drink specials.

Kansas City

Gram & Dun

600 Ward Pkwy. | Mondays–Fridays, 3–5 pm  

Choose between the Happy Hour snacks, including pimento cheese, nachos, tempura shrimp, and Not-So-Standard Potato Chips.

Mission Taco Joint

Various locations in Kansas City and St. Louis

10 pm–Close Daily

Enjoy $2 tacos and tequila and bourbon shots after 10 pm at every location.


Kai After Dark

306 S. Campbell Ave. | 417-832-0077 | Mondays–Thursdays, 4-6:30 pm | Fridays–Saturdays, 5–6:30 pm

Roll combos, sushi specials, and small plates.

Tortilleria Perches

1601 W. Sunshine | 417-864-8195 | Tuesdays and Thursdays, All Day

Indulge in daily specials like $1 tacos on Tuesdays and 99 cent tamales on Thursdays.

St. Louis

Mangia Italiano

3145 S. Grand Blvd. | 314-664-8585 | Mondays–Fridays, 3-6 pm

Half price appetizers, $3 well drinks, plus daily specials.

Photos // Boji Stone Cafe, Cafe Poland, Java Jive Deli & Bakery, London Calling Pasty Company, Steve’s Hot Dogs, Spanish Street Farmacy, Vietnam Cafe, Sno-Ball Daddy