You can find the best cheap eats in America in Tampa, according to USA Today

a pressed cheese sandwich on a largesse roll with salami
Mickey's famous Cuban sandwich, named best spot for Cheap Eats by USA Today

Tampa’s food scene is on a pedestal right now. Our fine dining is gaining national attention, but we also have some phenomenal casual spots to grab a quick bite to eat. Mickey’s Subs (5230 Bridge St) came in at number one, and Tampa Bay Empanadas (5902 S Dale Mabry Hwy) ranked number 4. The list was published in August 2023, but the news first hit our radar courtesy of Creative Loafing.

To get their rankings, USA Today analyzed Google ratings of 28,000 budget-friendly restaurants across 50 U.S. cities. The editors considered everything from major fast food chains to mom-and-pop joints slinging American comfort food, from coast to coast. The only qualifiers are that a restaurant has to be designated as one dollar sign on Google’s cost scale and have 200+ reviews.


empanadas loaded with beef, cheese and chicken
Photo via Tampa Bay Empanadas

Mickey’s, situated inside Duckweed Grocery in the Westshore Marina District, has earned notoriety for its Cuban sandwich and London broil. All 6-inch subs are $6.99, and foot-longs are $11.99.

Tampa Bay Empanadas operates out of a small food truck. It’s a hot spot for chicken, cheese and corn empanadas. There are several picnic tables set up outside its quaint cart. Their menu has included beef and cheese flavors, in addition to a special pizza empanada loaded with pepperoni.

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