TEXAS, USA — Who remembers when gas was less than $3? Yeah, those were good times.
Everything including gas and groceries is more expensive these days, with inflation rising faster than it has in four decades. But if there’s one thing that we can really count on and love about the Alamo City, it's that we can get some amazing food at a great rate.
In May, KENS 5 set out to help people keep their wallet lighter, finding ten meals for under $10. Now, we're taking it a step further, going even cheaper!
The new challenge: Find nine meals for $9 or under.
And there are some ground rules: We wanted local businesses. Some are San Antonio classic favorites, but others are smaller, and hidden gems. And, we also want fully hearty meals - no snacks, no sides, no appetizers.
We started at the oldest restaurant in San Antonio — Schilo's German-Texan Restaurant on 424 East Commerce Street.
"In October, [we] will be celebrating 105 years," said General Manager Nicole Amerson. "Our Pioneer Sweet Cream Pancakes comes with three pancakes, egg, and your choice of meat and also hash browns."
"We just like people to leave our restaurant not thinking this was a tourist trap because we're right here next to the River Walk, but have a few bucks left in their pocket," said Owner Bill Lyons.
We kept the breakfast theme going, traveling south to Floresville for Sunny-Side Up Cafe on 1315 10th Street.
"We have a lot of options for everybody as far as income wise," said General Manager Diosdado Rodriguez.
We had The Breakfast Sandwich loaded with bacon and egg on Texas toast. You also get a side of hash browns and a pickle spear.
Rodriguez told us that customer service is important here. "We remember your names. We shake hands, you know, try and make it more personal because you're coming into our establishment to spend money."
We also spoke to Rodriguez' mother, Cecilia "Sheila" Rodriguez, who works at a retirement community nearby. She was there with a group of residents, celebrating one of their birthdays! "Everything is pretty cheap. A lot of places around here have gone up on prices, but not here."
Keeping up with the small towns, we visited a Veteran-owned food truck in Somerset called Grunts Grill. Their locations vary being a mobile business, but you can normally find them on 19496 Somerset Road. But, check their Facebook page for their latest schedule.
We wanted to try their famous "Bomber" packed with rice, steak veggies and cheese.
"Right now, we're mainly focused on the community — staying closer to home to save on gas to serve the smaller towns and the high school students, the children in the town," said Co-owner Regina Vega.
Her father, David Wasicek, who is also a Veteran told us, "We try to keep the prices low because we like serving people. We like our customers, and we like for them to keep coming back."
We made our way back into town to try Wrigleyville Grill on 602 Northwest Loop 410. They get many ingredients from Chicago, especially for the Chicago Hot Dog. Add a side of fries to make it a meal!
"The ingredients that we put on it are mustard, onions, tomatoes, relish, pickle spears, peppers and celery salt," said Owner Demetrios Tingas.
We even met a customer who comes in multiple times a week!
"A place like this is phenomenal to come to because you get the biggest bang for your buck is to me is right here," said Jeff Seaman.
We then had to visit the iconic Wayne's Wings. His original location is on 4453 Walzem Road. But, we visited his second location on 11600 Bandera Road.
Owner Dwayne Price even created a new menu item in honor of KENS 5!
"For KENS 5, we're doing a Senior Special. It's three boneless wings, a side of fries, and a drink."
We tried it with the Duke Sauce.
"We use Caribbean Jerk, our own sweet mustard, then we drizzle barbecue sauce on it and we top it with lemon pepper," said Price.
As for the other four to add to your go-to list:
Taquitos West Avenue on 2818 West Avenue
- Four mini tacos. We tried the brisket marinated in orange juice option for $7.58
Acadiana Cafe on 1289 SW Loop 410
- Bowl of chicken and sausage gumbo. You get your choice of bread to make it a meal for $8.51
The Baked Bird food truck with schedule posted on social media
- The Dirty South: Biscuits and gravy with pico de gallo for $9.
Wild Barley on 8403 Broadway
- Sourdough Hot Cakes. Get the fixings on top of fresh syrup and fruit. It's stacked so high, it'll take a while to finish. It'll cost you $8.
More "good eats!":