Anyone who's spent a significant amount of time in St. Louis knows that this city has some restaurant gems. Unfortunately, if you're a broke college student like me, eating at places like Pastaria or Salt + Smoke on the reg can make a serious dent in your bank account. But that doesn't mean you have to avoid eating out entirely: I found six restaurants in St. Louis where you can still get all the fun of eating out without breaking the bank—and you won't have to sacrifice quality or quantity either.
1. U-City Grill
U-City Grill is pretty much the definition of a hole-in-the-wall restaurant, but trust me, it's worth it. Located behind Cicero's on the Loop, U-City is serving up some authentic Korean dishes for a small price. My favorite is the Bibimbop for only $5.95. Most days this place is run by one man, and although he's not the conversational restaurateur, he's mastered the art of fast Korean food, so you'll never be waiting too long for your meal.
The Fountain on Locust has so much more than drinks, despite its large bar. The menu has everything from adult grilled cheeses to the "World's Smallest Hot Fudge Sundae" for just $1.99. And I still have dreams about their signature Polish Dill Pickle Soup, which is just $3.99 per cup. The restaurant's menu, paired with the whimsical ambiance of the diner, makes this spot a place you just have to visit.
VietNam Style opened in the Loop last October, and it's the perfect place to get some authentic Vietnamese cuisine when you're trying to eat for less. Although it's spring now, the restaurant is still offering "warm-up winter" specials on specific menu items, making already inexpensive food even more affordable. The shrimp and pork spring rolls are a classic, must-order item. After your meal, look out for cheap dessert specials and free Vietnamese candy.
Beyond a wide variety of unique bubble tea options, this restaurant also has an extensive (and delicious) food menu. The dishes range from your typical Chinese takeout items to authentic Asian dishes, all of which cost less than $8.25. St. Louis Bubble Tea is located right on the Loop, making this place a convenient spot for all of your Chinese food cravings.
Molly's happy hour menu is probably my favorite happy hour menu that I've ever encountered for a single reason—one dollar oysters. From 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., you can enjoy all of the oysters that your heart desires (read: I've ordered thirty before), as well as $3 fries and dip, $5 wings, and if you're feeling fancy, a Mediterranean platter for just $6.
Uncle Bill's is a college kid's best friend: it's open 24 hours a day so that you can fulfill all of your breakfast and comfort food cravings from an expansive menu whenever you want. My favorite is the Country Fried Steak & Sausage Gravy for $10.69. This price may seem steeper than the other items on this list, but it includes hash browns, your choice of three giant buttermilk pancakes, two biscuits or a piece of toast, and two eggs any style. It's a ton of food for a reasonable price, and you'll probably have enough leftovers for a meal the next day.
Not only are these restaurants budget-friendly, but they also each serve a unique type of cuisine so that you can still get some variety while you're eating for less. Using this list, you'll get the best of both worlds: a fun meal out with friends, and the chance to indulge in delicious, high-quality food for a low price. Go forth and eat, my budget-savvy friends.