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A slice of vegetarian pizza topped with roasted vegetables at Los Olivos costs $6.

Inflation is hitting everyone hard. Rent is going up and wages are staying the same. Most of your favorite restaurants need to charge more to cover the cost of ingredients, supply chain issues and labor. Finding affordable food is more important than ever, and also harder to find — especially when supporting local. We’re here to help, with our favorite, filling picks for $7 or less.

Frankly, though, you can feed yourself for less money than takeout costs. If you’re looking for the most affordable food options in Tucson, here are our resources for Tucsonans both on and off SNAP to access fresh produce on a tight budget. 

In this 2014 file photo, Posters of Diego Rivera’s art line the walls of St. Mary’s Mexican Food, which has the best flour tortillas in the known universe. Oops! We mean Tucson.

Combo plates at St. Mary’s Mexican Food

Pretty much all of the combo plates at St. Mary’s are less than $9, except the options featuring carne seca. My favorite is the cheese enchilada plate, #6, where you get two enchiladas, rice and beans for $6.50. You can even add a small horchata ($1.40) and keep it under $9.

Location: 1030 W. St. Marys Road

Hours: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Saturday

For more information, check out their Facebook page.

Vegetarian pizza at Los Olivos

Specialty slices of pizza cost $6 each at Los Olivos. Each slice is bigger than the average dinner plate and heaped with delicious toppings. The vegetarian slice is my personal favorite — the fire-roasted vegetables make it feel both hearty and a little healthy, too.

Location: 937 W. Congress St.

Hours: Noon to 9 p.m. Monday-Saturday

For more information, check out their website.

Samosas are Faiziah's weakness: you can get veggie samosas at Desi Snacks and Sweets for $1.75 each. You can also find them filled with chicken.

Samosas at Desi Snacks and Sweets

Veggie samosas at Desi Snacks and Sweets are $1.75 each. You could get 4 for $7, or get a couple with a side of chana chaat (a spiced chickpea salad, $4.50) to fit more delicious veggies in your diet.

Location: 4662 E. Speedway

Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday | 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Sunday | Call 520-405-7071 to confirm hours.

For more information, check out our story.

Brothers Ismail (left) and Mohamed Osman opened Nur Market in 2007 as a place for the local African community to purchase products for their kitchens. 

Gyro sandwich at Nur Market

Nur Market is more than just a grocery specializing in East African and other international goods. The market contains a delicious takeout menu that must be subsidized by their successful business, because it’s some of the yummiest, least expensive food you can find in Tucson. Their gyro sandwich costs $4.99, but so do their beef and chicken shawarma sandos.

Looking for other deals? They make 10-piece chicken nuggets for $5.99. Their falafel plate costs $7.99.

Location: 3565 E. Speedway

Hours: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily

For more information, check out their website.

The combination bánh mì at Nhu Lan can be enjoyed for under $6.

Bánh Mì Dac Biet at Nhu Lan Vietnamese Food

Nhu Lan’s mixed bánh mì was my predecessor Andi Berlin’s pick in Tucson. At the time, it cost a mere $3.50, but even with inflation the price has remained under $6. Their food truck parks in Jácome Plaza, 101 N. Stone Ave., and you can also find them at The Boxyard, 238 N. Fourth Ave.

Locations and hours vary. Follow their Facebook and Instagram pages for up-to-date info.

George Lovett, co-owner of Da Boots BBQ Shop prepares to cook up pork ribs on June 10.

Pork ribs sandwich at Da Boots BBQ

Reader Lauryn Valladarez recommends the pork ribs sandwich at Da Boots BBQ. It costs exactly $9, but if you’re looking for a cheaper option, you can get pulled pork or chicken quarters sandwiches for just $7 and hot links for $4.

Location: 1830 S. Park Ave.

Hours: 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday

For more information, check out their website.

Bubbe's Fine Bagels sells about 6,500 bagels per week. Pictured here is a plain bagel with cream cheese.

Bagel sandwiches at Bubbe’s Fine Bagels

I hesitated to include yet another sandwich on this sandwich-heavy list. But when considering what makes something a good value, I think in terms of how full you’ll feel at the price point, and how much nutrition you’ll receive. Using both these metrics, a bagel sandwich is a good call.

You can either go for the protein: Bubbe’s has an egg and cheese breakfast bagel that costs $5.50, and their ham and cheese is $6.50 — or for veggies: I LOVE Persian cucumbers (they’re extra crisp and have more garden flavor), and you can get those along with fresh tomatoes on your schmeared bagel for $5.50 total.

Locations: Wilmot Road | 1101 N. Wilmot Road

River Road | 1865 E. River Road

Hours: 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday

For more information, check out their website.


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