Dining Out: Cheap Eats in the Square

Can't afford Upstairs at the Square? No problem

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Nami Sung

Double-cheeseburgers, fries and lobster? Try getting food like this at the Lamont Cafe!

The unrealistic two-hour window for dinner in the dining halls, the monotony of the Greenhouse, and your dwindling supply of EasyMac will often leave your stomach unfulfilled. The Square would be a prime chow ground if only it weren’t so nauseatingly expensive, which is why FM is proud to bring you four of the best (and cheapest!) establishments to get a good Square meal.

Charlie’s Kitchen

(10 Eliot Street)

Going to Charlie’s is like going home for dinner—just as much food and almost as cheap, with the signature double-cheeseburger plate checking in at a disproportionate $4.95. The lobster is the real deal here: the twin lobster plate, complete with a golden cob of corn and mound of fries, is currently only $26. Not bad, considering that the signature New England crustaceans were pulling in about $20 per lobster just a few months ago. A favorite of less discriminating Harvardians, Charlie’s stirs up mixed drinks averaging $4 and has an array of draught beers, including their infamous 50 cl glass of Hoegaarden ($4.50). Try getting that at Tommy Doyle’s.

Sabra Grill

(20 Eliot Street)

A glorified kebab stand, Sabra is sure to keep your stomach (and wallet) filled. The $6.25 “combination sandwiches” are so big that you’ll have trouble wiggling them into your mouth. The falafel, stuffed grape leaves, and celebrated chicken shawarma, all under $10, are the perfect remedy for late-night munchies.

Grendel’s Den

(89 Winthrop Street)

For wallets all around the Square, this brick-walled restaurant/bar puts the “happy” back in “happy hour.” Fridays and Saturdays, from 5 to 7:30 p.m., your $3 drink opens up a menu full of half-priced fare. Weekdays are twice as nice with an additional happy hour from 9 to 11:30 p.m.. The well-known Sunday Seven kicks it up a notch from 8 to 11:30 p.m., offering seven snacks—from burgers to pasta—at only $2 a pop with a drink order. But before you tell the dining hall staff to shove off, remember: at Grendel’s, you often get what you pay for. The food sometimes seems pre-made and haphazardly thrown together. But then again, you can’t deny the college mantra: “Good food is cheap food.”

Lee’s Sandwich Shop

(61 Church Street)

This hallway of a sandwich shop is as unpretentious as it gets in the Square, serving up foot-long warm and cold subs for less than $6. The one-size-fits-all soup cups are ladled to the brim with homemade daily specials and, at $2.95, are cheap enough to warm you every rainy Cambridge day of the school year. That’s a lot of soup.

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