For most college students, eating out is far more of a luxury than a staple. But sometimes, when you’ve been studying for hours and working late nights, you need some brain food. And by brain food, I mean fast, cheap, and delicious food at a place with a fun atmosphere.
Sometimes it becomes difficult to find a place to eat, so I did the work for you and scoped out two different places within 5 miles of campus to find the perfect place to eat with a college budget-friendly menu.
Here were my rules going in: the bill has to be under $20 for two people, the restaurants have to be local, and it has to take less than 30 minutes to order, eat, and leave.
Bruchi’s is a chain from Spokane, WA boasting delicious cheesesteaks, subs, and a burger (you heard me right, only one burger on the menu). It’s a bit difficult to find—located next to the Fred Meyer on 139th, opposite the Garden center. The atmosphere evokes a classy twist to a Subway, but with a modernized Tuscan feel. When I went around 4:30 p.m. on a Thursday, it was totally empty.
I ordered the Italian sub (and I brought along a friend who ordered the philly cheesesteak). The cheesesteak was decent in my humble opinion, but it was certainly better than Philly Bilmo’s, a cheesesteak joint off 164th and McGillivray on the eastside of Vancouver. The Italian sub sandwich tasted exactly like Jimmy John’s Italian—sans spicy peppers.
Ultimately, they have fewer sandwich choices than competitors, but if you want to enjoy a classic sub, free from the guilt of supporting anti-employee corporations (Jimmy John’s recently fired employees in Minneapolis for creating a “disloyal” meme that brought light to the fact that employees do not receive sick days and cannot call in sick), then Bruchi’s is the place for you. Also, if you’re the type of person who really likes philly cheesesteaks, either move to Philadelphia or try Bruchi’s, it may just fulfill your craving.
Distance: 3.1 miles (9 minute drive)
Timeline: 15-20 minutes
Los Tacos Locos is a literal hole-in-the wall, located in the Shell parking lot along 134th, just west of I-5. The place reeks of authenticity: you can imagine yourself ordering their street tacos along Paseo de la Reforma in Mexico City, enjoying a Central Mexican tacos al pastor for $1.65 per taco. Let me repeat: the street tacos cost less than $2 each.
As a frequent Mexican food consumer and cheap salsa connoisseur, I can confidently say that they have the best street tacos in Vancouver. Woody’s Tacos are good, but at a much lower price point, Los Tacos Locos is an easier (and closer!) choice for students. Muchas Gracias, though still my comfort food favorite, has far more expensive and lower quality tacos (costing $3-4 each).
Distance: 2.8 miles (8 minute drive)
Timeline: 30 minutes
For this round of CougarBites, Los Tacos Locos is a better and closer choice. Maybe it’s because of my bias towards Mexican food, but their fresh, flavorful tacos were worth every penny –and you can get 5 of them for under $10. Next time you’re craving Mexican food, I recommend driving past Taco Bell and ordering some chicharrón and carnitas tacos from Los Tacos Locos. You won’t regret it.