Dining on a Dime in Laurel
Here's a look at some of Laurel's cheap eats.
Here’s to branching out and trying new dining experiences. Sure, hamburgers are nice, safe and cheap and Laurel has its share. But after a while they can get a little ho-hum. Lettuce, tomatoes, onions and you’re done. Right? Here are few options to get you out of the burger rut.
Gourmet Shish Kebab
3495 Fort Meade Road
Tues-Sun: 11 a.m.–10 p.m., closed Monday
You want fresh? I mean really fresh? Gourmet Shish Kebab offers the kind of fresh where the bread is made in the moment; where the kebab is prepared on the grill right before your eyes; and where the vegetables can be seen cooking with color and texture intact. Try a curry dish for $6 or a daily vegetable curry for only $4.50. The portions are large enough to be shared, so order two or three different dishes to sample several different items. If you’re a rice lover, you’ll enjoy the saffron rice made healthier without butter. An order of rice with tandoori bread is less than $5. A cup of savory lentil soup is only $3.50. The atmosphere is quiet and styled in Middle Eastern décor. Say hello to owners and chefs Saubhe and Suhama, a husband and wife team, who may well offer you a coupon toward your next meal.
601 Second Street
Sun-Sat: 7 a.m.–10 p.m.
Once a Kenny Rogers chicken franchise, this Honduran and Salvadorian family-owned eatery has many food items that can be shared by two, from hefty-sized tortillas to tasty and fruity milkshakes. One popular meal is baliada, a huge tortilla stuffed with amazing fillings. It's big enough to be shared or saved for a next-day lunch. Honduras tacos are priced cheap at $2.50, and for $.50 more you can get a combo taco. There are also breakfast options, such as oatmeal for $1.60 or pancakes or French toast for $3.60. Remember, most portions at Irene’s are enough for two meals.
14650 Baltimore Ave
Laurel, MD 20707
Sun-Thurs: 11 a.m.–10 p.m.
Fri & Sat: 11 a.m.–11 p.m.
Everybody knows it’s all ambiance here. Diners come to Olive Garden for the aura as much as the great food. The stone and brick arched interiors with cozy table settings make you want to forget about returning to work. The menu items are wonderful and tempting, but if you want to keep it low-cost and simple, try one of their soup selections priced under $5 such as the minestrone or the pasta and fagioli. Their spicy sausage and potatoes is quite flavorful. I saw many diners filling up on OG’s breadsticks, soup and salad, which is only $6.95 with limitless refills. Get there early; this special is only until 4 p.m. daily.
10119-G Washington Blvd
Laurel, MD 20723
Sun-Thurs: 10:30 a.m.–midnight
Fri-Sat 10:30 a.m.–1 a.m.
First the down side: You can’t sit in. It’s a quick and tiny place for carryout or delivery. But with such a large variety of entrees, most customers aren’t bothered by it. French fries, onion rings, garlic bread and mozzarella sticks are a few of the popular side orders, many of which ring in at under $4.50. Six pieces of jumbo wings are on the menu for under $6. If you’re looking for a filling dinner, choose the home spaghetti with meat sauce and a can of soda for about $9 excluding tax. In the mood for something sweet and cheap? All desserts are priced at $2.99 and include cheesecake and carrot cake.
Bottom of the Bay Seaford
9590 North Laurel Road
Laurel, MD 20723
Sun: 10 a.m.–11 p.m.
Mon-Thurs: 10:30 a.m.–11 p.m.
Fri & Sat: 10:30 a.m.– midnight
If you’re looking for a sedate eating place, Bottom of the Bay won’t make you happy. Everybody yells and shouts in a friendly fashion. But it’s got history, great specials, super friendly waitstaff and late-night hours. They offer delicious daily deals, from fish sandwiches to shrimp baskets, all served with French fries and coleslaw. The price is just $4.79. You could also get a small Caesar salad for under $3 or a larger one for $4.99. How about fried mac and cheese for $4.25? This place is loaded with cheap eats such as a small Italian cold cut sandwich for $3.59, or choose a turkey, BLT, tuna or roast beef for the same price. This eatery has been around since the late 1970s, first as a carryout and later expanding to add a bar and an eat-in restaurant.