Cheap Eats

$10 Lunch -- Diner by the Sea

The deal: Every item on Diner by the Sea's menu is well under $10. Diner by the Sea serves a small but classic selection of burgers, salads, and sandwiches as well as chili and homemade soup of the day. This small coffee shop is decorated in cheery blues and yellows and filled with locals tanking up on small talk and coffee.

 What you get: Pretty much everything is a "daily special" since everything's so cheap. A $5.89 cheeseburger, cooked fresh on the grill, is served with homemade coleslaw and a pickle. An extra 99 cents gets you steak fries. Add a Coke and you still come in under $10, including tax and tip.


We tried: The tuna melt on rye bread with cheddar cheese arrived hot and juicy but not greasy (a big feat for a diner). Our waitress disappeared for a few minutes, then apologized when the food came. Turns out she had been in the back making a new batch of coleslaw. Totally worth the whole five-minute wait -- the coleslaw was crisp, fresh, and peppery. The tuna melt was served with a pickle. My Diet Coke was refilled with a smile.

Bonus points: Walking into Diner by the Sea is like walking back in time. Sit in a booth or in one of the yellow vinyl and chrome counter stools and eavesdrop on the Lauderdale-by-the-Sea locals chatting about politics, the weather, and life as the waitress refills your coffee. This diner is the real deal -- good, simple food that just dares you to try to spend ten whole dollars.

Diner by the Sea, 215 Commercial Blvd., Lauderdale-by-the-Sea 33308. Call 954-491-0642. Open daily from 6 am. to 2 p.m.

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Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times, covering the restaurant and bar scene in South Florida. She has been featured on Cooking Channel’s Eat Street and Food Network’s Great Food Truck Race. Doss won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature on what it’s like to wait tables. In a previous life, she appeared off-Broadway and shook many a cocktail as a bartender at venues in South Florida and New York City. When she’s not writing, you can find Doss running some marathon then celebrating at the nearest watering hole.
Contact: Laine Doss