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5 Lunches for 5 Dollars or Less


By Shonna McGrail

It seems the down economy is affecting pretty much everyone these days. It’s not just the minimum wage workers, big families and poor college kids who are feeling the pinch of high gas prices and outrageous food costs. Perhaps this is increasingly evidenced in New Bedford by the growing number of mopeds and bicycles that have been taking to the streets, or the overwhelming popularity of the new Market Basket.

If you’re like me and you live on a careful weekly budget in order to pay your bills, you’ll be thrilled to know that you can still treat yourself to the occasional lunch out without having to look for a second (or third) job. Any of these five places in the Greater New Bedford area offer great prices for great food!

1. No Problemo
813 Purchase Street,New Bedford, MA

Located downtown, No Problemo serves a delicious variety of Mexican-style cuisine. Whether enjoying a meal inside this hip downtown restaurant or taking out from the lunch counter, No Problemo can offer quality food for your Lincoln.

No Prob tacos with Serrano Lime and Cayenne Garlic sauces.

I want to highlight the regular burrito, which is packed with rice, your choice of black or refried beans, cheese,salsa and sour cream. It will definitely fill you up. If you’re willing to splurge the extra dollar or so, there are a lot of other great varieties of burritos to choose from as well.

My personal favorite meal here is the beef taco, which only costs $3. With juicy cuts of beef and refried beans, cheese, salsa, lettuce, scallions and sour cream, you can’t go wrong. If you’re a fan of spiciness like myself, be sure to try No Problemo Serrano Lime and Cayenne Garlic hot sauces!

2. My Place
291 Nash Road, New Bedford, MA

Located in the North End right off Ashley Boulevard is a little restaurant called My Place that specializes in Portuguese foods, but also offers some of your favorite lunch time standards.

For only $3.99 you can get a BLT sandwich. I recommend getting it on a homemade cheese roll for $1.49 extra.  It will push you $.48 over your $5 budget, but it will be the best 48 cents you’ve ever spent!

All of the sandwiches they offer for lunch are priced at five dollars or less and include a side of crispy hot french fries. One of sandwiches served at My Place is the Portuguese cacoila, which is sure to fill you up on your lunch break.

Of course, if you have an extra $1.35 it’s always a great treat to grab a fresh made malassadas on your way out. My Place makes delicious malassadas every week, Wednesday through Sunday.

3. Shawmut Diner (CLOSED)
943 Shawmut Avenue,New Bedford, MA

shawmut diner new bedford guide
The Shawmut Diner.

With all the character of a 1950’s boxcar diner, Shawmut has some very reasonable prices if you’re looking to grab a sandwich, and it’s right off of the 140 exit to Hathaway Road.

If you’re looking for some home-style cooking, try the meatloaf sandwich on a bulky roll or your choice of bread for $4.75. Or go for a diner classic and get the tuna melt for $4.50. Every sandwich comes with a side of chips and a pickle, or you can opt to get fries for only a dollar more.

Also, for the reasonable price of $2.25 you can choose between a grilled hotdog or grilled cheese; either way it will feel good to be able to get lunch for only a few bucks!

4. Whaling City Diner
894 Purchase Street, New Bedford, MA

A relative newcomer to the downtown scene, the Whaling City Diner is conveniently located for those who work in the downtown area and are looking to grab a bit to eat without overspending.

Burger and Fries at Whaling City Diner.

As with many diners, Whaling City serves breakfast late into the day and offers some pretty delicious breakfast sandwich options.  Bacon, sausage, ham or linguica breakfast sandwiches are all under five dollars and come on an English muffin with a side of home fries. For 25 cents more you can add cheese, and for 75 cents more you can get that breakfast sandwich on either a bagel or a cheese roll instead.

Whaling City Diner also offers a number of lunchtime items for five dollars or less, all served with fries. You can get a linguica sandwich for only $3.95. A pastrami melt will run you exactly five dollars, as will a cheeseburger. I decided to throw in the extra quarter, and for $5.25 got the Blue Whale Burger which was a delicious blend of blue cheese, red onions and lettuce.

If you’re the type of person who enjoys a good salad, or maybe you’re watching your weight for the upcoming beach season, the Whaling City Diner also offers tossed, Greek and Cesar salad options, all for under five dollars.

5. Jake’s Diner
104 Alden Road, Fairhaven, MA

Easily accessible from the 240 (Fairhaven) exit off of 195, Jake’s Diner has a quaint and comfortable atmosphere and offers a large menu to choose from including some great seafood items. Jake’s also serves breakfast all day, so if you’re in the mood for a little breakfast for lunch it’s worth checking out.

seafood roll jakes diner new bedford guide
Seafood roll and fries at Jake's Diner.

Jake’s serves all your breakfast favorites such as pancakes and French toast, home fries, omelets, cheese rolls, and fresh eggs. They offer some filling breakfast options at affordable prices, for example, three eggs cooked any way you like, home fries and toast for $4.75.

If you’re looking to get a sandwich their lunch menu is equally impressive, offering all the usual diner favorites. The last time I went to Jake’s to grab a quick lunch with a friend I went with the seafood salad roll which came with a mountain of fries, all for $4.75.  My friend went with a simple grilled cheese on a delicious pumpernickel bread. With a side of fries and a pickle she bought this hearty meal for $4.25.

There you have it: Five lunches in the New Bedford for $5 (give or take a few cents).  Know of any other places with great lunch deals?  Leave a comment here or on Facebook!

About SRyan

The South Coast has been my home since I came to UMD in 2005. I have worked and lived in NB, and now live in Westport. With a Master's in public relations I have worked as a consultant, and as a professor. I love trying new foods, writing, watching movies (and football!), traveling, listening to a wide array of music, and of course, I <3 the South Coast.

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  1. Loved the article on $5.00 meals. Today I just tried and very happy I did Clark’s Point Creamery on 26 Brock Ave. N.B.. Fridays specials for $5.00 are Fish & chips plate or scallop or shrimp plate all with fries and the portion is really good. It is a must to be tried. The menu is really good and if that is not good enough they also serve ice cream etc..

  2. I’m glad you enjoyed the article! I have never been to Clark’s Point, thanks for the tip, that sounds like delicious food and a great deal. I will have to check it out!

    • I’m proud to say that my sister and her boyfriend (who is the Executive Chef at Pasta House in Fairhaven) own both the Whaling City Diner and Clark’s Point Creamery. They do an outstanding job with the food at both places….and I’m not saying that just because they are family!

  3. Churrascaria Novo Mundo on County Street. Not only do they have delicious cheap sandwiches for lunch, but you can get a whole barbecued chicken with rice and crisp fries for about $8. And they will be on Food Network’s the Best Thing I Ever Ate tonight at 10pm!!!!!

  4. Bifana sandwich with fries @DeMellos Fish Market on Cove rd in NB

  5. Pop Casey’s in Acushnet has the best priced food. I’ve eaten lunch there for 2 people for 8 dollars. Less than fast food restaurants and much healthier.

  6. A little disappointed that Pizan’s was not on here in place of the Fairhaven business. You get a very nice Brooklyn style pizza and a drink for about 4.50. Though huge fan of the other places listed. Also I think you do a very good job.

  7. Hey Shonna,
    Come up to the north end and visit us at Pa Raffa’s! We have lunch specials Mon-Sat 11a-4p with 8 options under $5! My favorite is the half of Chicken Parmagiana Sandwich with a side of fries for $4.50 (plus tax). You can bring your grandparents or any senior citizen for a 15% discount on their meal Mon- Sat 1-4p!

  8. I agree wihththe above comment on Pa Raffa’s! they are delicious.And they have a veggie torpedo which is great for vegetarians llike myself, who can have trouble finding good vegetarian choices here in Southcoast.

  9. I’m loving the Center Cafe
    Open daily for breakfast & lunch.
    The Center Cafe ( 466 Brock Ave. New Bedford)
    is just on the other side of Hazelwood Park, and is a great place to have breakfast, coffee, sandwiches, soups, and salads, plus 12 Flavors of Premium Ice Cream
    The idea of “real food” is evolving at the Center Cafe, now doing their own baking of muffins, cheese rolls, quiche, sticky buns, and pie. Delish fairtrade coffees & teas also. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Center-Cafe-in-the-South-End/168139723250106

  10. My Husband and i gather together with friends at the West end grill on Friday’s and they have good co hogs and very good service there you will always see a smile on Michell face and here mom who is the cook comes and welcomes you with the biggest hello ever
    We go there mostly for breakfast but found our self there for lunch the other day and had they best clam chowder in a while. its on the concer of rockdal ave and parker st check it out you will go have breakfast with some of n/b finiset and you will also have a good conversation will all the people in there as well It reminds me of the show Cheeres where every one knows your name there and we are glad we go there now and will continual to bring our and family too

  11. Very informative!

  12. Pub 6 at the Sixth Bristol has a new restaurant. Check us out at Pub6.net or Facebook.com/pub6.net for photos and happenings. We have menu items under $5 and different daily $6 lunch specials including Steak torpedo, Fettuccini alfredo, Chicken pot pie, Meatloaf and countless other items. Plus you can chat at the bar, play pool or Keno or meet a group for a luncheon in our full service dining room.

  13. Although this article is about 5 dollar and less lunches I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Metro Pizza on Dartmouth St. They have the best steak tip salad I’ve ever had. For $6.50 you get a fresh salad, pita bread and deliciously marinated steak tips. Check it out! You won’t be disappointed.

  14. Don’t forget Gary’s Best! Specials this month and Free Face Paining on weekends for the kids! Celebrating 29 years in business!

  15. naughty dawgs !

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