I know what you are thinking: What can $5 get me? An energy drink and MAYBE a bag of Cheetos?
The answer is yes. However, $5 can also treat you to some of the tastiest local eats that Anchorage has to offer. Gone forever is the stigma that eating out has to cost a fortune. Here are five fantastic, local food options that will bring you more satisfaction than a Pop-Tart that has snapped in half from hitting the bottom of the vending machine.
Slice of pepperoni pizza—one of many choices! $4.00
1. Uncle Joe’s Pizzeria, 428 G. St.
Highlighting their downtown location in particular, Uncle Joe’s boasts a hefty slice that will put other pizza-by-the-slice restaurants to shame. Located downtown between 5th and 4th Avenue, Uncle Joe’s sells fresh pizza by the slice at $4 a pop. What are you getting for $4 aside from the charming atmosphere of a local pizzeria as the scent of fresh pizza from their ovens waft through the air? You are getting a substantial, hefty slice, the kind that barely fits on a plate. However, it is not a grease-fest like the slices from Costco or Sam’s Club. In terms of taste and texture, their large slices hold their shape just enough to hoist up to your mouth and extract a “cheese-pull” of epic proportions. No single flavor is overpowering, either; it will not leave you feeling greasy or heavy, and it is not salty to the point of needing to chase each bite with an entire glass of water. When you think of what good, classic, no-gimmick pizza ought to taste like, you are thinking Uncle Joe’s.
Medium, pepperoni pizza, $5.00
2. Luigi’s Pizza, 5011 Arctic Blvd.
I may be over the quota for amount of pizzerias in one article, but hear me out.
“This pizza saved my life,” is a direct quote from a friend of mine in high school who relied on this cheap, but tasty, pizza to provide him with a delicious meal when he only had $5 in his pocket. Known as a staple among West High School students, one can purchase an ENTIRE medium, pepperoni pizza for only $5. Comparing this deal to Little Caesar’s ought to be punishable by law, as Luigi’s $5 pizza trumps Little Caesars’ in all categories: it is made from scratch, the cheese does not taste like plastic and it is made with love. Need I say more?
At only $5, Luigi’s pizza is, what some would call, a lifesaver.
Wee-B’s quarter-pound hamburger, $5.00
3. Wee B’s, 1260 O’Malley Rd.
Heralded as a classic by the South Anchorage community, Wee B’s is a time machine back to the good old days. Varsity jackets, Levi’s 501 denim, arcade games, permed hair and the Sony Walkman— that is Wee B’s. Walking into the establishment, one cannot help but feel that not a lot has changed since Wee-B’s opened their doors in 1988. This includes the flavor of their famous burgers. For $5, you can indulge in a quarter-pound Wee B’s hamburger; for a few cents more, that includes a nice, hearty slab of cheese. Served on a sinfully soft bun and adorned with a tangy special sauce, Wee-B’s quarter-pound burger is a tasty reminder that they just don’t make ‘em like they used to anymore.
Shoyu ahi poke, $4.87
4. New Sagaya Midtown Market, 3700 Old Seward Hwy.
When Anchorage comes to mind, what does the average person imagine? Palm trees? Luaus? Gorgeous hula dancers adorned with flower leis? Not a chance.
However, one thing Anchorage does have in common with The Aloha State is ahi poke.
For those who do not know, poke is a Hawaiian dish in which raw cubes of fish — usually ahi tuna — are seasoned with sesame oil, scallions, onions, soy sauce, rice vinegar and other spices. It is a delightful island treat that is healthy and delicious.
One can get a decent portion of poke from Sagaya’s seafood counter at $13.99 per pound. When asked how much you want, just ask for a $5 portion — they know what to do. Paired with hot, steamed rice if that strikes your fancy, these delectable cubes of ahi act as flavorful umami gems that melt in your mouth.
A round-trip ticket to Hawaii may cost a pretty penny, but being able to stay home and sample poke that rivals that of its homeland is an experience that is truly priceless.
5. Charlie’s Bakery, 2729 C St.
How does a fresh baked bun filled with pork, curry, ham and cheese or sweet custard sound? How about a “bao,” Chinese steamed bun stuffed to the brim with marinated pork? Maybe a plate of handmade pork “shu mai” dumplings sounds like a good call?
At Charlie’s Bakery, the world is your oyster… or dumpling in this case.
Pictured are their pork dumplings: plump, juicy morsels full minced pork seasoned with scallions and the warming sensation of Chinese allspice. The custard bun was equally as delicious, boasting luxuriously soft bread serving as a vessel for the sumptuous, vanilla custard.
Charlie’s Bakery makes everything in-house. Their quality and taste are unparalleled by any other Chinese restaurant in Anchorage. Furthermore, Charlie’s boasts the most authentic experience when it comes to their “dim sum” dumpling assortment. With each aforementioned item ranging from $2.75-$4.95, you can’t go wrong.