I love a good deal. When that deal involves food, nothing in the world can beat it. A dedication to the pursuit of free and discounted food is an integral part of the college student's creed. I have become obsessed with finding the best deals on food in Charlottesville lately. Whether that is comparing grocery store prices or ordering multiple sides instead of an entree at a restaurant, I’m on the hunt for the cheapest way to eat my way through second year.
Although it is often cheaper and healthier to make my own food, as a student, I can’t always find the time or muster the energy to cook. At the same time, I don’t want to end up spending too much money or eating junk food. While it’s manageable to fit in breakfast and lunch, I often find myself forgetting to eat dinner, or completely exhausted from my day that I dread the prospect of cooking an evening meal.
With the help of a few fellow foodies — and a few lazy chefs — I went on a hunt for Charlottesville's best meal deals for weeknights. While some of these deals last all day, we focused on the best dinner options that we could find. The options here run every week, Monday through Thursday. These meals can help you to manage your hectic schedule with ease and leave you full, while not emptying your wallet.
1035 Millmont St., Charlottesville, Va. 22903
$6 steak and potatoes
Sedona Taphouse is a upscale restaurant located just behind the Barracks Road Shopping Center, not far from Grounds. Their menu includes many fine dining options, and their focus is on combining great beers and choice steaks and seafood. Normally this would be too expensive for the average college student, but their Monday meal deal makes it a feasible option for any budget. For this meal deal you get an eight-ounce wood grilled Angus Flat Iron Steak and whipped potatoes as long as you purchase a beverage. They offer many gluten free and vegetarian options on their regular menu as well. The best part of this meal deal is $1 from each of their Monday night special sales is donated to charity.
BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse
3924 Lenox Ave., Charlottesville, Va. 22901
Half off a large deep dish or tavern pizza
Mondays offer a couple different options for dining out, and BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse also offers a great deal on their pizzas. Although pizzas are on the expensive side — around $30 for a deep dish pizza and $15 for a tavern cut pizza — this deal would be great if you are dining with a hungry group. The deep-dish pizzas are huge and filling. They have unique flavors, like Creamy Carbonara and Buffalo Chicken, but also classics, like pepperoni and cheese. The best part of this deal is that they have vegetarian options available as well.
Maya Restaurant and Bar
633 W Main St., Charlottesville, Va. 22903
Maya is a southern kitchen located between the Corner and Downtown Mall in the bustling Midtown section of Charlottesville. It is open for dinner seven days a week but offers an extensive discounted Tuesday menu. For just $12, you can get your choice of one out of six entrees and any two sides. The entrees include Chicken Fried Chicken, Blackened Tilapia, 1/4 Rack Babyback Ribs, Hanger Steak and Pulled Chicken BBQ.
My favorite part of this deal is that you can also order an entree consisting of just four sides. Their down-home sides include collard greens, cornbread, sauteed broccoli, whipped potatoes, macaroni & cheese and sweet potato fries. The variety of options for this meal deal makes it unique and versatile and the perfect spot for a cheap date night.
269 Connor Dr., Charlottesville, Va. 22911
$6 Bang Bang Shrimp
This appetizer is just $6 every Wednesday. If dining alone, however, it could easily serve as an entree that you could pair with one of their side salads for around $5, or another of their sides, which are all $3 each. Their sides include garlic whipped potatoes, potatoes au gratin, jasmine rice, French fries, steamed vegetables, French cut green beans, sauteed spinach and coleslaw. The restaurant’s distance, however, might be a deterrent to this meal deal, as Bonefish Grill is located in the Hollymead Town Center, which is about a 25-minute drive from the University.
Trinity Irish Pub
1505 University Ave., Charlottesville, Va. 22903
$3 burgers and chips
This was the only meal deal that I found on the Corner. This makes it both the cheapest and most convenient option that I have found. Trinity burgers are a classic. While this deal does not provide volume since the burgers are fairly small, the quality for the price is excellent. The burgers consist of a single patty on a toasted bun with American cheese, pickles, ketchup and mustard. It is paired with a side of their homemade potato chips that are fried to perfection. This meal deal is the most convenient option for University students.
Unrestrained by a specific day, Brixx — located in Barracks Road Shopping Center — has a meal deal that can get you buy one, get one pizzas Monday through Sunday. The only catch is that this meal deal starts after 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday night and after 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday night.
With the tight schedule and budget of students, having a variety of options for cheap food can be the difference between going hungry or getting the energy you need to study. Maintaining a healthy diet is one of the most important things to learn during your college years. When finding a meal is quick, easy and cheap — as it is with each of these deals — I’m left with no excuses for skipping a meal.