Eat local – it's a bargain, too

We’re all looking to save money right now. Chain restaurants know it, and are touting cheap sandwiches and bargain pizzas. Well, before you succumb to the siren call of a $5 fast-food sandwich, consider locally owned eateries. They don’t have the national ad campaigns and deep pockets of cash to spend on promotion, but many are just as inexpensive, the food tastes much better, and more of the dollars you spend stay in your own community, supporting your neighbors.

Here’s just one example, My husband and I had lunch recently at Neomonde Cafe in Raleigh (less than a 5 minute drive from the fast-food wasteland of Western Boulevard). I eat there because the food is good and healthy, but this time, I looked at the prices. The spinach-feta pie I ordered – a base of flattened pita bread overflowing with spinach, feta cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, pickled peppers, olives, hummus and tahini – came in at just a few cents over a fiver. A wide selection of Middle Eastern sandwiches hovered around the same price.

There are many other low-priced local options. Great chicken salad at Tookie’s Grill. A creative dinner on par with any fine-dining restaurant at 18 Seaboard (we ate there on a recent weekend for, minus the two mixed drinks, a total of under $60).

We all have to stick together through this downturn, and many restaurants are doing the best they can to hold down prices. When you do want to dine out, think local.

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