Cheap Eats in Chelsea

By Luis Colon

Do you ever feel like there’s a hole burning in your pocket from that excessive amount of money you spend on food? Well, we have a solution for that problem. Your two feet will be perfectly fine for finding all of these locations, especially now that the weather’s warming up. From the family-owned to the ZAGAT rated, these places will leave you living that life of luxury without spending a fortune.

1. M-Thai, 232 8th Avenue


Photo courtesy of Dragonbug

$6.98 later we enter a world that was made entirely for college students. Running low on cash after spending a fortune on those textbooks and supplies? M-Thai is perfect for that common hour crunch as this place is only six blocks down from campus. M-Thai offers a lunch special with over 100 possible combinations of appetizers and entrees. Whether you are a vegetarian or not, the spicy fried rice will leave your mouth burning and watering for much more. If you want to go all out, spend the extra few bucks to try the Thai Iced Tea (non-alcoholic of course since we are a dry campus).

This restaurant is not only about a great Thai food experience, but also an interesting one in other senses. The design of this restaurant includes a bathroom made with one-way mirrors and a private table setting for an intimate experience in the back. If the food and design of the restaurant do not appeal to you, then the star sightings will. Marc Jacobs is on the list of the many celebrities who have been commonly sighted here. On one particular day I can recall sitting next to “Shoshanna” from the HBO series GIRLS. If it’s not about what you eat in this case, it’s about where you eat. Consistency and quality are two important items when looking at a restaurant and M-Thai masters this without digging a deep hole in your pocket.

2. Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company, 286 8th Avenue


Photo courtesy of Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company

Obsessed with carbs? Who isn’t. Just bring a few bucks, because that’s all you’ll need. Brooklyn Bagel will satisfy every single craving you have during breakfast or lunch. The best time to come is right before the noon lunch rush or for a late lunch. Whether it’s the strawberry flavored cream cheese, jalapeno cream cheese, or the egg on wheat bagel combos that pull you in—it’s an experience never to forget. Brooklyn Bagel offers over thirty different cream cheese spreads, a variety of bagel choices and even dessert. The drinks cost more than the bagels, so just grab those on campus from a vending machine. If you’re on a pre-summer diet then the possibility of a mini bagel is also available (with water of course).

The only drawback is the limited seating, so never plan on eating at the actual cafe—sneak up to the fifth floor of the A Building [Dubinsky Center] and eat in peace instead. Even when you’re not in a rush you’ll find that the Brooklyn Bagel staff will move you out before you even have time to look at the menu. Bon Qui Qui would say “RUDE” but lets face it, they’re saving you extra time in the long run.

3. Salumeria Biellese, 376 8th Avenue


Photo courtesy of Serious Eats

Sometimes you’re craving a chicken parmesan sandwich and other times prosciutto and fontina in a creamy white sauce. If you need that Italian fix and cannot bear the cost of studying abroad in Italy then just stroll two blocks north for this cheap eat. All of the fancy sausages you see at restaurants around the city come from here, so you’re just canceling out the intermediaries and getting a bang for your buck. You’ve also never had fresh mozzarella until you’ve had it from Salumeria Biellese. For those who party too hard during the week, the meatball sub is the cure for the following day.

When you describe this experience to your friends they’ll think you’ve gone to Italy for the weekend so that conversation is set. If you like getting messy, using an excessive amount of napkins to eat a sandwich and the traditional “hole-in-a-wall” feel, then this place is for you. If you’re on your way to Kaufman then there is no excuse not to stop by. You’ll leave feeling ashamed of yourself for not knowing about this amazing place after being just two blocks from it.

4. New York Pizza Suprema, 413 8th Avenue


Photo courtesy of Yelp

One of the best pizzerias in New York City is just right across the street from Penn Station on Eighth Avenue. If you’re tired of dollar pizza (which is actually $1.25 at some locations now due to our fabulous economy) then this is the answer. The pizza here is extremely crunchy and thin, making it a perfect canvas for any of the flavors you can order on top of it. Whether it’s sausage or pineapple, they’ve got you covered. If you’re feeling a tad bit eccentric, then the Upside Down pizza has you name on it. Vegans have quite a few options available here as well. The drinks come in a cup the size of a shot glass so just bring your own.

If you love grabbing quick bites that may become a bit messy then this is the place for you. There is plenty of seating but if you’re in a rush just say so and they’ll have you out in just two minutes with your entire order. There are thousands of options when it comes to pizza in New York and this place is in the top ten according to several news sources. Check it out to see it with your own eyes.

5. Wrapido, 171 W. 23rd Street


Photo courtesy of Wrapido

“Fresh Wraps on the Spot” is the motto and nothing else would fit as perfectly. You can order almost anything in a pita, a wrap or as a salad. Whether you crave rib-eye steak, grilled shrimp, hummus or a falafel, you can find it at Wrapido. The toppings and dressings list goes on past a single page so you’ll have to see that for yourself. Most of the people you will meet at FIT will refer to this place as the healthier option to Chipotle (which we all know is amazing, but sometimes you need a break).

If you feel like it’s time for a splurge, it’s definitely time for the tiramisu cup or the chocolate mousse. These two desserts are worth saving some calories for. There is minimal seating so consider getting your order as take-out. Also, if you’re just getting off the 1, 2 or 3 train then you will bump into Wrapido. Don’t eat the samples outside because they sit there all day. If you swing by Wrapido make sure to tweet #skinnygirlproblems because you’ve earned it.