7 cheap ways to bust a gut
… without busting your wallet
Chico is very much a college town, with a lot of food options. But not all cheap meals are the same. The trick is finding the places where quality meets value. With that in mind, here are seven ways to bust a gut … without busting your wallet.
1. With pizza.
Literally across the street from campus is one of Chico's best pizza parlors, Celestino's New York Pizza. Order a medium or extra large pie (yes, they come in only two sizes) or by the slice, for sit-down, take-out or delivery. Slices range from $3.25-$4 and student discounts are available. If New York-style thin crust ain't your thing, you can walk a few blocks to Woodstock's Pizza, home of Wednesday night trivia (8 p.m., sign-ups at 4 p.m.) and sauce-filled crust. A slice and a soda totals $5.25, plus students get $6 off extra-large pies.
Celestino's, 101 Salem St. (with sister stores in the Safeway shopping center on East Avenue in Chico, in Paradise and in Oroville), celestinosnypizza.com. Woodstock's, 166 E. Second St., woodstockschico.com
2. With a side of techno.
Peking Chinese Restaurant is one of those rare gems that must be seen to be understood. A fast, affordable eatery by day and night, after the dishes are cleared each Friday, it turns into an underground (literally) hotspot for electronic dance music, aptly named the Bassmint. The food here is reliably good and portion sizes are ample, so you can either share or make two meals from one. Try the house chow mein and the cream cheese wontons. Lunch specials ($6.25-$8, rice and soup included), online ordering and delivery available.
3. At happy hour.
When most people hear the term “happy hour,” they think of discounted drinks. Of course, that's true in Chico, too, but that sacred afternoon sweet spot also offers diners on a budget an opportunity to taste the good life when upscale restaurants offer fine food at affordable prices. Go to 5th Street Steakhouse (Monday-Friday, 4:30-6 p.m.) for the sliders made with prime beef (three for $6), Crush Italian Cuisine & Lounge (3:30-6:30 p.m.) for personal pizzas ($9-$10) and its killer second story patio, Burgers & Brew (Monday-Friday, 3-6 p.m.) for its eclectic, discounted fries menu; and Rawbar (Monday-Saturday, 3-5 p.m.) for the daily nigiri specials and $6 Korean tacos.
Get away for a moment … without having to actually get away. The prime island destination is the Philippines and Inday's Restaurant, an authentic Filipino cafe where dinners (Friday-Saturday) are served family-style on banana leaves, bamboo lines the walls and chickens roam the parking lot. Lunch is prime deal time, with items on the abbreviated menu and rotating specials ranging from $5-$7. Also open for breakfast daily (closed Mondays).
If you're craving a Western island vibe, go around the corner to Sipho's Restaurant & Cafe. The trick here is to go when there's live music—there's nothing else quite like chowing down on some jerk chicken or curried goat while sitting in the sun listening to live reggae. There's a buffet during special events, which means you get to try a little of everything for a very reasonable price ($15, or $12 with your student ID).
5. Between two slices of bread.
When it comes to sandwiches, there are plenty of options in Chico. Downtown alone, there are four or five spots known for their sandwiches. But none of them do it quite like Spiteri's Delicatessen. It's one of Chico's best-kept secrets, tucked away in a very old strip mall on the north side of town. A half sandwich is $4 and a whole is $6.99. The deli case contains all kinds of other goodies, too, like pasta salads, marinated mushrooms and bacon mac and cheese. Don't miss out on this place.
971 East Ave., spiterisdeli.com
6. With a cheese skirt.
If you go to only one burger joint while you're in Chico, you can hardly do better than Nobby's, home of the cheese skirt. The burgers ($6.05 with the cheese, $4.95 without) are big, juicy and cooked to order. The fries are consistently fresh and crispy. And did we mention the cheese skirt? Melting out and over the sides and crisped on the grill in a ring of deliciousness. It's a small place, so consider going at an off hour or taking your food to go.
1444 Park Ave.
7. Stuffed in a pita.
Pita Pit has fed many a Chico State student—and Chico local, for that matter—over the years. With a build-your-own menu, there are plenty of options for meat lovers and vegetarians alike. Bonus: You don't even have to leave your dorm room—they deliver!
240 Broadway, pitapitusa.com