By Zachary Newman
Having moved from the dorms to our house off Division Street, my friends and I have had quite the cuisine around Olympia, without having to go very far (downtown is far- It’s, like, two roundabouts away.) But unlike our cute neighbors and the very nice community we live in, we have to be… select with our choices, or risk the chance of starving and being poor. It’s like “Les Miserables,” but no one cares and everyone sings off key.
Well, fear not! For we have opened up our minds and our mouths far wider than our wallets to help provide you, the hungry reader, with a guide on how to eat in Westside Olympia for $5 and under. Let’s get frugualicious.
Need a quick caffeine boost to survive that 8-minute walk to the bus stop? Want to catch up with your rad neighbor on why the cops had to come last night? Page Street Cafe on Rogers Street is my personal favorite for coffee. Warm, intimate, and friendly overall, the cafe is a recent open, though is owned by the same owners of Dino’s on Harrison Avenue. At only $2.30, their large coffee has been my saving grace for weeks now on those mornings when I wake up and just can’t deal with anyone yet. When it comes to their delicious food, the prices can be a reach, but worth it.
Eagan’s Drive In—or PEPSI FRIES if you’re as hilarious as me—serves hamburgers, fries, and milkshakes the way God intended: that is, quickly and efficiently to a line of cars. Saunter up every day between 2 and 5 p.m. to get in on their happy hour deal. With 98-cent swirl ice cream, and $1 grilled cheeses like Mom used to make, Eagan’s can turn a bad day into a good one, without slimming your wallet or your waist!
Being an East Coast transplant, I get very defensive about my pizza. But wouldn’t you know it, Vic’s Pizzeria has made the best slice of pizza this side of the Hudson River. It’s warm, it’s greasy, goopy, gluten-free, and all-around perfect. Plus, it’s affordable! For just under $5, you can get two slices, and what more do you really need? I know what I need. Some pizza slices. Right now.
Support your local business and co-ops! The Westside Olympia Food Co-op has an amazing array of locally-sourced food and runs on an ethical business model. While their prices are greater than other grocery stores, so is their commitment to organic and ethical food. Not everything is expensive, however, as you can get an amazing ice cream sandwich from the 8 Arms Community Bakery for just one dollar! Also available and tasty are cookies and other pastries from restaurants around Olympia. The Co-op is volunteer-run, so swing by and apply if you love it!
But I Live in a Dorm!
For when you want to stock up your dorm with food, Grocery Outlet on Harrison Avenue has everything you could want and more for prices that won’t break your bank. The grocer offers off-brand products at well discounted prices. A word of warning though, as sometimes the food is just days away from its labeled expiration date. Then again, who doesn’t love a good gamble?
Next door to “Gross Out” is the tried and true Dollar Tree. My favorite product here is the giant bowl of Ramen affectionately called the “Souper Meal.” For $5, you can buy 5 of these. I advise heavily against purchasing milk here, and also any meat, because my friends still do not trust me after those hot dogs.