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Shepherd’s Pie
Facebook/The Skinny Pancake

The Essential Cheap Eats of Burlington, Vermont

Pizza, crepes, bagel dogs, and beyond

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Shepherd’s Pie
| Facebook/The Skinny Pancake

Burlington, the charming northern Vermont city perched on Lake Champlain, is home to the University of Vermont. And like any college town, it has a population of hungry young people on a budget (somewhere around 12,000 students, to be precise). So it’s no surprise that in addition to being a mecca of farm-to-table fine dining, it also boasts some noteworthy cheap eats.

Whether it’s a grab-and-go lunch or late night bite to pair with the hefty selection of local craft brews, these are the budget Burlington eats for every appetite.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Pho Hong

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Bring your own bottle (of beer or wine) to this family-owned and operated Vietnamese gem. Pho Hong has been lauded as having Burlington’s best pho, and it’s easy on the wallet with spring rolls, curries, “Happy Pancakes” (crepes stuffed with shrimp, pork and onions), and a long list of chef’s specials under $15.

Hong's Chinese Dumplings

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Formerly a food cart parked on the Church Street Marketplace, Hong Yu now sells her popular handmade dumplings in a Pearl Street storefront. Thanks to a local Kickstarter campaign, dumpling-lovers can enjoy her famous chicken, pork, and veggie dumplings along with outside-the-box creations like crab-and-cream cheese. Three dumplings will only cost $5 so go ahead and order her traditional soups and sesame noodles were recently added to the menu.

Leonardo's Pizza

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Pizza by the slice is only available during lunch hours at Leonardo’s. But order a whole medium ($15) or large ($20) pie for dinner and it’s still a good deal. For 25 years, this local favourite (which has since branched out to Portland, Maine) has been serving creative meat toppings along with a list of interesting vegetarian combinations.

The Skinny Pancake

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Crepes are the focus at this breakfast-centric, Lake Champlain waterfront hotspot. But if skinny pancakes aren’t your thing, there’s a variety of heartier fare like Vermont-style poutine (made with local cheese curds), burgers (with Vermont cheddar), and biscuits and gravy. Most of the menu is under $10.

Bueno Y Sano

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Burlington might seem like a town better known for hot chocolate and maple syrup than burritos. But this casual family-run Mexican chain (Burlington is one of seven New England locations) serves made-to-order meat, vegetarian and vegan quesadillas, soft tacos and burritos. And though specials like the Thai chicken burrito with basmati rice, red cabbage slaw and spicy Thai peanut sauce certainly isn’t authentic, it’s only $8.50 and worth every penny.

A post shared by Bueno Y Sano (@buenoysano) on

Zabby & Elf's Stone Soup

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“Food is love” at this groovy cafeteria-style cafe. Since 1997, Zabby and Elf’s Stone Soup has been partnering with local farms to provide a daily changing menu of comfort food. Referred to by locals as “Stone Soup,” this vegetarian institution in the heart of downtown Burlington has a dedicated local following of regulars thanks to its creative New York-Jewish-cuisine-meets-vegetarian menu offerings like Seitan Kung Pao and Matzo Brie with Salmon. Compose your own plate from a colourful spread of nourishing options offered at just $11.75 per pound.

Sherpa Kitchen

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This local favourite serves up comforting Nepalese and Himalayan fare including curries, stir-fried noodles, momos (dumplings) and Sherpa stew. Wash it all down with a tall glass of house made yogurt mango lassi, Nepali Chai, Himalayan spiced iced tea, or a can of Vermont’s famous Heady Topper beer. The lunch special of an appetizer, main and drink for just $8.99 might be the best deal in town.

Red Onion Cafe

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This Church Street Marketplace deli has been a lunch favourite for decades.  What would otherwise seem like a basic lunch staple, The Red Onion makes destination-worthy. Hearty sandwiches like house roasted turkey, warm reubens and corned beef are all made from scratch and served on a choice of homemade baked wheat, rye, sourdough, seven grain baguette, or their famous honey oat bread. If you’re an early bird, stop in for tempting breakfast items like the Red Onion eggs Benedict sandwich (scrambled eggs, Canadian bacon, hollandaise mayo, baby spinach and provolone) or the Red Onion bagel with chive cream cheese, red onions, tomatoes and capers for just $3.50.

A post shared by Mairé Gebhard (@maire.gebhard) on

Gaku Ramen

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Gyoza (dumplings), steamed pork buns, and karaage fried chicken are all great ways to segue into a steaming bowl of ramen at this comforting Japanese noodle shop. That said, generous bowls of chicken shoyu ($11.95) or miso ($11.50) ramen are often filling enough on their own.

Mr. Mikes

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For that go-to late night slice of pie, head to Mr. Mike’s where $2.50 gets a slice of cheese pizza and $11.00 gets a whole pie. Stay for craft beers, wings and good vibes because this 25-year-old Burlington stalwart eatery stays open until 3 a.m. on weekends.

Kountry Kart Deli

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Open 20 hours a day, Kountry Kart Deli is a late-night crowd pleaser, and one of few places open late. Its location next to the Flynn Theater makes it a convenient pre- or post- show spot, too.  Try the falafel, or if you’re up early opt for their greasy-in-a-good-way breakfast sandwiches like the Morning Riser with egg, American cheese, bacon, ham or sausage or a “Shiner” with hash browns.

Citizen Cider

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The tasting room for one of Vermont’s most popular hard ciders offers an extensive pub food menu of everything from poutine, to bangers and mash to Vermont beef burgers. Stop in for hot-dog-and-can Thursdays where guests can enjoy an all-beef hot dog and a 16 ounce can of Unified Press cider for just $6.

Myer's Bagel Bakery

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For Montreal-style bagels (the smaller, thinner, sweeter, and denser kind) head to Myer’s for a variety all-day bagel sandwich items (unlike certain Montreal bakeries, they’ll put things on your bagel). For the extra-hungry, there’s the McMyer: house-roasted brisket, melted swiss, pickles, cole slaw, fingerling potatoes and “Green Day sauce” (a Thousand Island-style dressing). The sandwich was even featured on bulk eating TV show Man vs. Food. They keep it local with Vermont Coffee Company coffee.

Feldman's Bagels

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The lox sandwich with cream cheese, tomato, red onion and capers is $7.50 at Feldman’s and that’s the most expensive menu item. A variety of bagel sandwiches, like the egg and cheese, roast beef, BLT and more are available for $6.75. Try their signature bagel-wrapped hot dogs (bagel dogs) or create your own bagel sandwich from a variety of options like hummus, white fish salad or kosher beef salami. $8.50 gets you a baker’s dozen and if you’re really on a budget, order a plain bagel toasted with butter and maple syrup for just $2.25, because after all, you’re in Vermont. Wash it down with local Speeder & Earl’s coffee. Expect the doughier America-style bagels here (for Montreal style, see Myer’s).

Pho Hong

Bring your own bottle (of beer or wine) to this family-owned and operated Vietnamese gem. Pho Hong has been lauded as having Burlington’s best pho, and it’s easy on the wallet with spring rolls, curries, “Happy Pancakes” (crepes stuffed with shrimp, pork and onions), and a long list of chef’s specials under $15.

Hong's Chinese Dumplings

Formerly a food cart parked on the Church Street Marketplace, Hong Yu now sells her popular handmade dumplings in a Pearl Street storefront. Thanks to a local Kickstarter campaign, dumpling-lovers can enjoy her famous chicken, pork, and veggie dumplings along with outside-the-box creations like crab-and-cream cheese. Three dumplings will only cost $5 so go ahead and order her traditional soups and sesame noodles were recently added to the menu.

Leonardo's Pizza

Pizza by the slice is only available during lunch hours at Leonardo’s. But order a whole medium ($15) or large ($20) pie for dinner and it’s still a good deal. For 25 years, this local favourite (which has since branched out to Portland, Maine) has been serving creative meat toppings along with a list of interesting vegetarian combinations.

The Skinny Pancake

Crepes are the focus at this breakfast-centric, Lake Champlain waterfront hotspot. But if skinny pancakes aren’t your thing, there’s a variety of heartier fare like Vermont-style poutine (made with local cheese curds), burgers (with Vermont cheddar), and biscuits and gravy. Most of the menu is under $10.

Bueno Y Sano

Burlington might seem like a town better known for hot chocolate and maple syrup than burritos. But this casual family-run Mexican chain (Burlington is one of seven New England locations) serves made-to-order meat, vegetarian and vegan quesadillas, soft tacos and burritos. And though specials like the Thai chicken burrito with basmati rice, red cabbage slaw and spicy Thai peanut sauce certainly isn’t authentic, it’s only $8.50 and worth every penny.

A post shared by Bueno Y Sano (@buenoysano) on

Zabby & Elf's Stone Soup

“Food is love” at this groovy cafeteria-style cafe. Since 1997, Zabby and Elf’s Stone Soup has been partnering with local farms to provide a daily changing menu of comfort food. Referred to by locals as “Stone Soup,” this vegetarian institution in the heart of downtown Burlington has a dedicated local following of regulars thanks to its creative New York-Jewish-cuisine-meets-vegetarian menu offerings like Seitan Kung Pao and Matzo Brie with Salmon. Compose your own plate from a colourful spread of nourishing options offered at just $11.75 per pound.

Sherpa Kitchen

This local favourite serves up comforting Nepalese and Himalayan fare including curries, stir-fried noodles, momos (dumplings) and Sherpa stew. Wash it all down with a tall glass of house made yogurt mango lassi, Nepali Chai, Himalayan spiced iced tea, or a can of Vermont’s famous Heady Topper beer. The lunch special of an appetizer, main and drink for just $8.99 might be the best deal in town.

Red Onion Cafe

This Church Street Marketplace deli has been a lunch favourite for decades.  What would otherwise seem like a basic lunch staple, The Red Onion makes destination-worthy. Hearty sandwiches like house roasted turkey, warm reubens and corned beef are all made from scratch and served on a choice of homemade baked wheat, rye, sourdough, seven grain baguette, or their famous honey oat bread. If you’re an early bird, stop in for tempting breakfast items like the Red Onion eggs Benedict sandwich (scrambled eggs, Canadian bacon, hollandaise mayo, baby spinach and provolone) or the Red Onion bagel with chive cream cheese, red onions, tomatoes and capers for just $3.50.

A post shared by Mairé Gebhard (@maire.gebhard) on

Gaku Ramen

Gyoza (dumplings), steamed pork buns, and karaage fried chicken are all great ways to segue into a steaming bowl of ramen at this comforting Japanese noodle shop. That said, generous bowls of chicken shoyu ($11.95) or miso ($11.50) ramen are often filling enough on their own.

Mr. Mikes

For that go-to late night slice of pie, head to Mr. Mike’s where $2.50 gets a slice of cheese pizza and $11.00 gets a whole pie. Stay for craft beers, wings and good vibes because this 25-year-old Burlington stalwart eatery stays open until 3 a.m. on weekends.

Kountry Kart Deli

Open 20 hours a day, Kountry Kart Deli is a late-night crowd pleaser, and one of few places open late. Its location next to the Flynn Theater makes it a convenient pre- or post- show spot, too.  Try the falafel, or if you’re up early opt for their greasy-in-a-good-way breakfast sandwiches like the Morning Riser with egg, American cheese, bacon, ham or sausage or a “Shiner” with hash browns.

Citizen Cider

The tasting room for one of Vermont’s most popular hard ciders offers an extensive pub food menu of everything from poutine, to bangers and mash to Vermont beef burgers. Stop in for hot-dog-and-can Thursdays where guests can enjoy an all-beef hot dog and a 16 ounce can of Unified Press cider for just $6.

Myer's Bagel Bakery

For Montreal-style bagels (the smaller, thinner, sweeter, and denser kind) head to Myer’s for a variety all-day bagel sandwich items (unlike certain Montreal bakeries, they’ll put things on your bagel). For the extra-hungry, there’s the McMyer: house-roasted brisket, melted swiss, pickles, cole slaw, fingerling potatoes and “Green Day sauce” (a Thousand Island-style dressing). The sandwich was even featured on bulk eating TV show Man vs. Food. They keep it local with Vermont Coffee Company coffee.

Feldman's Bagels

The lox sandwich with cream cheese, tomato, red onion and capers is $7.50 at Feldman’s and that’s the most expensive menu item. A variety of bagel sandwiches, like the egg and cheese, roast beef, BLT and more are available for $6.75. Try their signature bagel-wrapped hot dogs (bagel dogs) or create your own bagel sandwich from a variety of options like hummus, white fish salad or kosher beef salami. $8.50 gets you a baker’s dozen and if you’re really on a budget, order a plain bagel toasted with butter and maple syrup for just $2.25, because after all, you’re in Vermont. Wash it down with local Speeder & Earl’s coffee. Expect the doughier America-style bagels here (for Montreal style, see Myer’s).

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