Date Night! Deals and Drive-Ins for Cheap

Date-night spots for couples on a budget.


Corey Neumeier

Neumeier’s home cooking, a nice and simple (but delicious) meat and potatoes.

I find myself eternally in the trap of recommending food that is far expensive for the average consumer. People often ask me where they should take their significant other for a nice dinner and my response is inevitably something along the lines of “there’s this place that’s great, but it’s going to cost you a paycheck.” For some reason, I don’t get a lot of repeat inquiries.

Date food is tough because there’s always a balance between how much you want to spend, and not wanting to compromise on eating well. You want to impress somebody without seeming like you want to impress them. Plan for the occasion, pick an option based on what you feel is right, but definitely don’t just go to Sonic.

It’s also important to remember that expensive doesn’t always mean good. If you want to break the bank on a restaurant, you better talk to someone who’s been there first, or, if you’re like me, stalk their worst google reviews and see if you still want to go. The following recommendations are all focused on good food, and less on the atmosphere.  All are relatively cheap though, and a great spot to take somebody to.

  1. New Canton Chinese Restaurant
    1. I’m being a bit loose with the definition of a date spot, but for ballers on a budget, it’s a nice space, usually pretty quiet, and the food is very good. My dear friend and compatriot Connor Pallis described it as “flavorful without being spicy.” Chinese food on a date is bold, really bold in fact, but if you’re feeling extra confident, try using chopsticks the whole time.
    2. Must haves: Chicken with Garlic Sauce & Kung Pao Beef
  2. GB Fish & Chips
    1. If you’re a fellow enjoyer of all things fried, GBs is for you. I realize that “fish” and “on a budget” are two terms that should never ever be found together. This, however, is the exception. It’s arguably the best fish and chips in town, and it won’t cost you a kidney. Outside of the fact that they’re branded around pretending to be British, this is a favorite lunch stop of mine.
    2. Must Haves: Half Cod & Chips
  3. Fanelli’s Amici’s
    1. Pizza is something I rarely recommend to people, everyone has their opinion of where you can find the best pizza, and they’re all different. Despite my better judgment, I’m going to recommend Amici’s anyway. The regular pasta and sauces are alright, but Amici’s shines with its pizza. It’s not the most date-night-y atmosphere on the list but hey, I said casual.
    2. Must Haves: It’s a Pizza restaurant, what do you think?
  4. Yak and Yeti
    Home-cooking done by Corey Neumeier. Thomas Keller blanched asparagus with poached eggs and prosciutto. (Corey Neumeier)
    1. Indian is another daring choice for date food, but probably not ideal for a first date. This is more expensive than most of the other things on this list, but it makes up for it with its atmosphere. It’s cozy, it’s nice, and as with everything else, I love the food. It’s developed as a local chain over the last few years as a result of its growing popularity, but the prices and quality have remained the same. All in all a great choice.
    2. Must Haves: Masala, Naan, & the Coconut Soup.
  5. Home Cooking
    1. I know, I know “that’s a cop-out” and all but honestly, this is a really fun and convenient alternative to going out. Pick up some pizza dough from your local joint and toppings from the grocery, get together, make some food, and stare lovingly into each other’s eyes while the pizza bakes (or whatever it is people usually do, I don’t know.)