A Local’s Guide to Cheap Eats in Richmond

Richmond Small Business Community

As a native to Richmond, I often get asked the question, “Where are the best places to eat in the area?” Not much else convinces folks better than word-of-mouth recommendations and other people saying, “The food there is amazing,” so I’ve compiled a list of restaurants and run it by other locals to guarantee accuracy.

If you weren’t born and raised in RVA, welcome. This is for you. Continue scanning to see where you can grab some low-cost, high-quality grub.

Galaxy Diner

From frito pie to fried brownie bites, Galaxy Diner serves the guilty pleasure foods from your wildest dreams. Mix chili in your mac-n-cheese, add apples to your grilled vermont turkey sub, or stuff your breakfast pancakes with oreos.

Who could say no to Knock me up Scotty – “fried pickles and ranch dressing with hardboiled egg and a scoop of ice cream on the side” or Jake’s Steak Stack – “white toast, salisbury steak, mashed potatoes, caramelized onions, mushrooms, melted swiss and topped with gravy.”

Not only are their dishes delectable, they’re priced reasonably for the general public. So next time you’re in Carytown, swing by Galaxy Diner for some late night breakfast or to savor a sugar high.

Chicken Fiesta

As the name implies, you can consume a lot, and I mean A LOT, of chicken here. For only $15.25, you can buy one of their expertly prepared chickens – in fact, they’ll roast it right in front of you. If you don’t want people judging you for devouring an entire chicken, purchase half for $8.75 or a quarter for $6.50.

In addition to their specially roasted meats, Chicken Fiesta serves a variety of traditional Tex-Mex dishes like chimichangas, veggie burritos, steak & cheese sandwiches, and horchata.

And no matter the time of day, you’ll find this place packed with locals craving authentic dishes served at low prices.

*Pro tip: If you go to the Midlothian location, park at Wendy’s to avoid getting stuck or bumped by other cars.

Joe’s Inn

Two months ago, Joe’s Inn was named one of the top 100 ‘legend and landmark’ restaurants in America. Established in 1952, Joe’s Inn is now recognized as one of America’s “oldest and most esteemed institutions.”

Joe’s Inn has become a beloved haven for locals who crave the lounging-in-a-rustic-small-town-diner feeling. Wood lined walls and antique lamps casting buttery light induce nostalgia on all who enter. And don’t even get me started on the food…

Like Galaxy Diner, Joe’s Inn serves breakfast “anytime” and is known for some of their breakfast dishes like The Belly Buster – “12 oz. Delmonico steak with three eggs any style served with toast and homefries” and their classic hotcakes.

And of course, they have the comfort food you break your diet with, including fried chicken sandwiches, greek meatballs with meat sauce, and warm cornbread. So take a trip back in time and visit the nearest Joe’s Inn to see what the hype is all about.

Station 2

The first time I went to Station 2 I was meeting my boyfriend’s parents, and I ordered the George Orwell burger because 1984 is one of my favorite books and I couldn’t resist the name. However, that burger comes with two fried eggs on top, two slices of bacon, and mozzarella cheese. So of course I sat there trying to answer questions about my interests and family with egg yolk, bacon grease, and melted cheese running down my hands. Worth it.

Although the items on the menu aren’t particularly cheap, their deals throughout the week qualify this restaurant to make the list. For example, on Sundays and Mondays, Station 2 offers $1 hot dogs, $2 beer cheese dogs, $3 chili beer cheese dogs, and $4 gourmet dogs. Every Monday from 10pm to 1am, they also serve half off appetizers, and on Tuesday they sell $2 pressed burgers.

Along with producing irresistible dishes, Station 2 hosts the RVA Beard League every 2nd Monday, Chess Night every 2nd Tuesday, and Live Trivia on Wednesday nights. So if you’re dying for a quality burger and don’t mind mingling with hipsters, drop on by – just maybe not when you’re “meeting the family.”

Alamo BBQ

Alamo BBQ is tucked on Jefferson Avenue right next to Libby Hill. This is the perfect spot to hit up in the next fews weeks as the weather is conducive for sitting outside.

The mouth-watering menu features “The Meats,” “The Sandwiches,” and “The Ribs.” Choose from items like the Texas Train Wreck (meats over mac & cheese, cowboy beans, cornbread, diced onions, and jalapenos) and the Alamo Cuban (meat pressed with mustard, sriracha, onions, pickles, jalapenos, and cheddar jack cheese). Or if you need something for your whole family, pick from Family Packs which feed up to eight people.

When you visit Alamo BBQ, you’ll enjoy not only authentic Texas brisket but also a beautiful view of the surrounding neighborhoods and downtown Richmond. It’s the real deal of cheap, quality dishes that’ll satisfy your cravings for spicy southern food.

Dot’s Back Inn

Yes that’s right, Dot’s Back Inn was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives during one of Guy Fieri’s trips to Richmond. After sampling the chicken with feta, white wine, artichokes, and homemade pesto, Guy labeled this restaurant’s menu as being full of “tons of custom-built food.”

Dot’s Back Inn was established in the 1940’s and according to the website, is “owned and operated by Chef Jimmy Tsamouras…[and] cranks out phenomenal plates in a neighborhood atmosphere.”

In addition to the Main Menu, this place also has the Rise and Shine Menu, the Rosie the Riveter’s Lunch Pail, and the Brunch Menu. Classic dishes include the chicken picatta, the mediterranean pie, black bean corn cakes, and pigs in a blanket.

This restaurant has proved its credibility and authenticity when it comes to serving homemade, unique dishes in a friendly environment.


I hope you’ll be able to use this guide to cheap eats in Richmond to take advantage of all this city has to offer. If you’d like to know more about local businesses in the area or are a small business owner, contact us! We’d love to get your feedback and answer any questions you have.

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