Weekly 5: Top five cheap eats in Provo

A group of people eat at Rocco's Tacos on Center Street in Provo on a summer evening. Photo by Chris Bunker
A group of people eat at Rocco’s Tacos on Center Street in Provo on a summer evening. Photo by Chris Bunker

The telltale hunger grumbles start, and you panic as you realize you have less than $5 in your pocket. Or worse, your pickup line worked, and you’ve got a date this Friday, but very little money. Look no further for your guide to the cheapest, tastiest eateries in Provo.

1. El Salvador

Tucked in an obscure corner of Center Street, this little restaurant is hard to find unless you are looking for it. Upon entering, you will be hit by the authenticity of the atmosphere down to the dulcet tones of Spanish that permeate the room.

El Salvador serves papusas, fried savory pastries, that are less than $2 each. Papusas can be filled with your choice of cheese, chicharron (pork), refried beans or any combination of your choice. Two papusas are enough to fill up any ornery stomach.

Once discovered, El Salvador, located at 332 W. Center Street, is popular among students.

“It’s a hidden treasure here in Provo,” said Kylie Jesperson, an athletic training major.

2. Rocco’s Tacos & Wing Wagon

Rocco’s is a taco cart that also serves wings with varying degrees of spiciness and flavor.

“It’s a different take on fish tacos and wings,” said owner C.J. Gandolfph. “But it is cheap, affordable and, most importantly, good food.”

As if they weren’t affordable enough, tacos are discounted at two for the price of one every Tuesday.

Indoor seating is available next door at Gandolfo’s. Rocco’s Tacos & Wing Wagon is located at 31 E. Center Street.

3. Emmanuel’s Fresh Grill

Made fresh from ingredients on the spot, Emmanuel’s tacos and enchiladas are hearty and tasty. Even the chips are made fresh on location. One may choose from chicken, shredded chicken or carne asada to fill cheap and enticing tacos, each less than $2.

Emmanuel’s Fresh Grill at 520 N. 900 East.

4. Shirley’s

Many guests have commented on the addictive nature of Shirley’s cinnamon rolls throughout the years, dubbing them a “Provo staple.” Now relocated to a larger building at 1620 N. Freedom Boulevard, Shirley’s has more menu options, free Wi-Fi and a cozy fireplace, making it easy for customers to enjoy a quick pick-me-up between (or during) study sessions.

“It’s like Mom’s cooking, all made from scratch,” said Shirley’s manager Tamara Rachol.

5. JDawg’s

JDawg’s is a reliable standby for big events and popular among students. Guests can’t go wrong with the thick $3 Polish hot dog topped with famous JDawg sauce.

“The best part is that it’s a really good, cheap dog,” said employee Josh Humphries. “I mean, you can’t get a meal for $6.50 anywhere else!”

In addition to its close location to campus at 858 N. 700 East, JDawg’s is open until 10 p.m. to satisfy late-night cravings.

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