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Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2008 01:49 pm

Best place for a fast cheap lunch

art5359
In a hurry and pinching pennies? Our readers didn’t deliver one clear winner so we decided to feature the top five vote getters. Here’s the skinny on some of your options for fast, cheap mid-day dining around the capital city.

Café Moxo
411 E. Adams St., 788-8084
This charming downtown eatery offers an inventive (and delicious) selection of salads and sandwiches. But we suspect the crowd-pleasing reason our readers nominated Café Moxo is that one can order a substantial salad or half sandwich for under $4. Those who are flush with cash can team that half sandwich with salad or soup and still spend just $6.50, which is a bargain in today’s lunch line. If breakfast is more your speed, try the healthy (and equally price sensitive) morning menu that includes fruit, yogurt, baked goods and eggs served a bunch of different ways.

Chadito’s Mexican American Grill
3030 S. Sixth St., 529-8226
IT readers are definitely hip to the fact that Chadito’s serves it fast, hot and affordable! The menu is diner-friendly (explaining what each Mexican item is, a feature most gringos appreciate). Chadito also prices items a la carte so one could easily have one of these, two of those and still spend less than $5. (Most Mexican favorites are between $1.50 and $3.) This extensive menu also includes burgers, hot dogs and horseshoes along with ice cream and other sweet treats.

Food Mart
416 E. Monroe St., 522-3621

It’s a not-so-fancy name for a place you’ll never forget once you visit. A staple in downtown for well over 100 years, the Food Mart is part Italian grocery, part restaurant, part deli … and all good. Well known and loved for its breakfast sandwiches, the Food Mart also features daily luncheon specials, sandwiches made fresh to order and homemade soups. Our readers say it is an easy, fast and very affordable option for those who just don’t need flashy with their lunch. It offers a charming atmosphere, eclectic mix of neighborhood dwellers, Supreme Court justices, legislators and visitors who somehow find their way to there. Our readers recommended shopping the international wine selection as another way to save a buck.

Head West Sub Stop
1124 W. Jefferson St., 793-9101
530 E. Capitol Ave., 789-9101
3311 Robbins Rd., 726-9202

Springfield’s homegrown sub shop was singled out for having the Best Subs in town, but they’re also high on our readers’ lists of lunchtime bargains. Several who left comments mentioned the fabulous sweet bread, generous quantities of fixin’s and sensibly priced kid meals and half subs. Others were happy to cheer for the veggie-only option. In the end we suspect it is the simple fact that for around five bucks one can satisfy the mid-day munchies and still have some coin left in your pocket.

Little Caesars
930 W. Jefferson, 522-3727

Our goal with the Best of Springfield issue is to shine a bright light on local businesses. Consequently there are very few “chain” franchises that will receive any mention at all in these pages. But our readers forced the issue by their overwhelming desire to heap praise on Little Caesars (it open recently near downtown Springfield and is locally owned) for their low cost, delectable lunch offerings. One reader exclaims, “How can you beat $5 for a large pizza? While you pay they hand it to you hot and ready.” We can’t think of any better definition for a fast, cheap lunch.
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