November 15, 2019

21 Cincinnati Restaurants to Visit When You’re Broke AF

These local eateries may be light on the wallet, but they're heavy on the flavor. When you're on the hunt for a place that offers excellent eats without breaking the bank, look no further.
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Tortilleria Garcia
5917 Hamilton Ave., College Hill
Tortilleria Garcia opened their second Cincinnati location in spring of 2019. The eatery will change everything you think you know about tacos. One might assume that the highlight of a taco is the protein or the salsa, but once you take a bite of a fresh corn tortilla made by restaurant owner Omar Garcia and his team, you’ll come to understand that — if made with respect for tradition and natural ingredients — what was once a mere vessel for taco fillings is now the centerpiece of the meal. Menu options here run the gamut from tamales, nachos and burritos to tacos, rotisserie chicken and fresh corn tortillas by the pack. (Note to self: Taco Tuesdays offer $1 tacos, less than half the standard price.) Recipes are inspired by those of Garcia’s mother and grandmother and the Mexican family farm where they grew corn when he was a child.
Photo: Paige Deglow

Tortilleria Garcia

5917 Hamilton Ave., College Hill
Tortilleria Garcia opened their second Cincinnati location in spring of 2019. The eatery will change everything you think you know about tacos. One might assume that the highlight of a taco is the protein or the salsa, but once you take a bite of a fresh corn tortilla made by restaurant owner Omar Garcia and his team, you’ll come to understand that — if made with respect for tradition and natural ingredients — what was once a mere vessel for taco fillings is now the centerpiece of the meal. Menu options here run the gamut from tamales, nachos and burritos to tacos, rotisserie chicken and fresh corn tortillas by the pack. (Note to self: Taco Tuesdays offer $1 tacos, less than half the standard price.) Recipes are inspired by those of Garcia’s mother and grandmother and the Mexican family farm where they grew corn when he was a child.
Photo: Paige Deglow
Camp Washington Chili
3005 Colerain Ave., Camp Washington
Open 24/6 (they’re closed on Sundays), Camp Washington Chili has been serving the Cincinnati community since 1940. They have a massive menu with everything under $10. Stop by for breakfast for their $7.75 Meal Deal that features two eggs, a choice of meat, hashbrowns and toast. For lunch and dinner you can get a cheese coney and fries for under $5.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

Camp Washington Chili

3005 Colerain Ave., Camp Washington
Open 24/6 (they’re closed on Sundays), Camp Washington Chili has been serving the Cincinnati community since 1940. They have a massive menu with everything under $10. Stop by for breakfast for their $7.75 Meal Deal that features two eggs, a choice of meat, hashbrowns and toast. For lunch and dinner you can get a cheese coney and fries for under $5.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
The Whole Bowl
364 Ludlow Ave., Clifton
This is the perfect spot for people who don’t like to make decisions, since Whole Bowl offers only one menu item. While there is an easy vegan alternative, Whole Bowl’s titular dish is comprised of brown rice, beans, black olives, Tillamook cheddar, avocado slices, salsa, sour cream and a lemon-garlic sauce. The only real choices a diner should need to make in the matter is whether to get a 12 oz. Bambino Bowl for $6 or a 16 oz. Big Bowl for $6.50.
Photo via Facebook.com/TheWholeBowlCincinnati

The Whole Bowl

364 Ludlow Ave., Clifton
This is the perfect spot for people who don’t like to make decisions, since Whole Bowl offers only one menu item. While there is an easy vegan alternative, Whole Bowl’s titular dish is comprised of brown rice, beans, black olives, Tillamook cheddar, avocado slices, salsa, sour cream and a lemon-garlic sauce. The only real choices a diner should need to make in the matter is whether to get a 12 oz. Bambino Bowl for $6 or a 16 oz. Big Bowl for $6.50.
Photo via Facebook.com/TheWholeBowlCincinnati
Bridges Nepali
Multiple locations including: 4165 Hamilton Ave., Northside; 133 E. Court St., Downtown
Bridges Nepali brings a unique flavor at an affordable price. It’s one of the few places in the area to offer Nepalese cuisine. The menu features a wide range of options including some vegan menu items for those living that veggie life. Samosas are available to get you started at $4. Then you can build your own rice bowl for $10 with your choice of delicious meat or vegan options. You can make it a combo with a side for $12.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

Bridges Nepali

Multiple locations including: 4165 Hamilton Ave., Northside; 133 E. Court St., Downtown
Bridges Nepali brings a unique flavor at an affordable price. It’s one of the few places in the area to offer Nepalese cuisine. The menu features a wide range of options including some vegan menu items for those living that veggie life. Samosas are available to get you started at $4. Then you can build your own rice bowl for $10 with your choice of delicious meat or vegan options. You can make it a combo with a side for $12.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
Alabama Que
2733 Short Vine St., Corryville
Alabama Que has an everyday budget-friendly special that includes your choice of six different meats, a side, bread and a small drink, all for under $10. The variety of meat choices include smoked chicken, pork rib tips, pulled pork, beef ribs, beef brisket or their famous turkey tips. 
Photo via Facebook.com/AlabamaQueFanPage

Alabama Que

2733 Short Vine St., Corryville
Alabama Que has an everyday budget-friendly special that includes your choice of six different meats, a side, bread and a small drink, all for under $10. The variety of meat choices include smoked chicken, pork rib tips, pulled pork, beef ribs, beef brisket or their famous turkey tips.
Photo via Facebook.com/AlabamaQueFanPage
Ollie’s Trolley
1607 Central Ave., Over-the-Rhine
Located in a bright yellow and red trolley car, Ollie’s Trolley is a soul food staple in the Cincinnati area. The eatery serves a variety of smoked pork, including ribs, rib tips and pulled pork, plus plenty of sides, like collard greens, buttered corn and potato salad. Get a pulled pork sandwich, side and a slice of pie for under $9.
Photo via Facebook.com/OlliesTrolleyCincinnati

Ollie’s Trolley

1607 Central Ave., Over-the-Rhine
Located in a bright yellow and red trolley car, Ollie’s Trolley is a soul food staple in the Cincinnati area. The eatery serves a variety of smoked pork, including ribs, rib tips and pulled pork, plus plenty of sides, like collard greens, buttered corn and potato salad. Get a pulled pork sandwich, side and a slice of pie for under $9.
Photo via Facebook.com/OlliesTrolleyCincinnati
Fred and Gari’s
629 Vine St., Downtown
This quaint downtown lunch spot is an unassuming gem that’s been in the business of slinging classic diner bites for over 30 years. Offering both hot and cold sandwiches, soups and pizza, the retro-styled take-out eatery packs a whole lot of flavor and charm in a tiny little space. Get a soup and salad combo for $8.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

Fred and Gari’s

629 Vine St., Downtown
This quaint downtown lunch spot is an unassuming gem that’s been in the business of slinging classic diner bites for over 30 years. Offering both hot and cold sandwiches, soups and pizza, the retro-styled take-out eatery packs a whole lot of flavor and charm in a tiny little space. Get a soup and salad combo for $8.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
Tortilleria Garcia
Multiple locations including: 11774 Springfield Pike, Springdale; 5917 Hamilton Ave., College Hill
Popular Springdale Mexican eatery Tortilleria Garcia opened a second location in College Hill. The restaurant uses old-fashioned techniques for their straightforward cuisine — like freshly-made corn tortillas, tamales, burritos, housemade salsas and rotisserie chicken — in addition to their beloved tacos. The real deal happens on Taco Tuesday where they offer $1 tacos all day. 
Photo: Paige Deglow

Tortilleria Garcia

Multiple locations including: 11774 Springfield Pike, Springdale; 5917 Hamilton Ave., College Hill
Popular Springdale Mexican eatery Tortilleria Garcia opened a second location in College Hill. The restaurant uses old-fashioned techniques for their straightforward cuisine — like freshly-made corn tortillas, tamales, burritos, housemade salsas and rotisserie chicken — in addition to their beloved tacos. The real deal happens on Taco Tuesday where they offer $1 tacos all day.
Photo: Paige Deglow
Tucker’s Restaurant on Vine
1637 Vine St., Over-The-Rhine
This small family-owned eatery has been serving up classic diner dishes since 1957. Through the decades Vine Street has seen many changes, but Tucker’s hasn't budged. With Findlay Market around the corner, Joe and Carla Tucker have been able to put a fresh twist on many classics, as well as have a steady source of produce for their housemade condiments and goetta. From vegetarian chili to double decker burgers, there’s a little something for everyone, at a price point all diners can appreciate. Just about every item on the menu — with the exception of the $13 steak and eggs — are $10 and under, with many sticking around $5.50 and under. 
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

Tucker’s Restaurant on Vine

1637 Vine St., Over-The-Rhine
This small family-owned eatery has been serving up classic diner dishes since 1957. Through the decades Vine Street has seen many changes, but Tucker’s hasn't budged. With Findlay Market around the corner, Joe and Carla Tucker have been able to put a fresh twist on many classics, as well as have a steady source of produce for their housemade condiments and goetta. From vegetarian chili to double decker burgers, there’s a little something for everyone, at a price point all diners can appreciate. Just about every item on the menu — with the exception of the $13 steak and eggs — are $10 and under, with many sticking around $5.50 and under.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
Marx Hot Bagels
9701 Kenwood Road, Blue Ash
There are over 30 varieties made fresh daily, plus tuna salad, egg salad and nova lox that come with their own mascot: Bagel Man, the superhero-outfit-clad owner who may or may not be behind the counter offering a side of sass with your order. Get a pizza bagel and a small soup for under $10, regular bagels are $1.12 each or get a specialty bagel for $1.17. 
Photo via Facebook.com/MarxHotBagels

Marx Hot Bagels

9701 Kenwood Road, Blue Ash
There are over 30 varieties made fresh daily, plus tuna salad, egg salad and nova lox that come with their own mascot: Bagel Man, the superhero-outfit-clad owner who may or may not be behind the counter offering a side of sass with your order. Get a pizza bagel and a small soup for under $10, regular bagels are $1.12 each or get a specialty bagel for $1.17.
Photo via Facebook.com/MarxHotBagels