Six for $6 (or less)
Ditching the drive-thru doesn't have to cause pain in your pocketbook. Students, workers and anyone else seeking something quick, cheap and tasty in downtown Medford have a wide variety of lunches to choose from, some costing less than the price of a value meal.
1. A victory for dog lovers
Many of the "toppings" at Victory Dogs would qualify as their own sandwich if there wasn't already a stadium-size beef frank and slice of bacon in the roll.
The stand at the corner of Eighth Street and Central Avenue is operated by Chuck Reeder, who points newcomers to the pastrami dog, which comes with Swiss cheese, dill pickle and mustard underneath a freshly grilled dog for $4.75. The Grinder, for $5, adds salami, pepperoni, capicola, onions, olives and pepperoncinis. Jez's Dorito Chili Dog ($5), adds nacho cheese-flavored Doritos and fried cheese to a bacon chili dog. A regular bacon dog with traditional toppings costs $3.25, or add chips and a soda for $5. Find Victory Dogs on Facebook or call 541-414-3346.
2. Lovin' spoonfuls
Spoons, at 33 N. Central Ave., offers a lot of choices for six bucks, making the kitchen window inside the Woolworth building a favorite among downtown workers who want something that's not just quick and cheap, but nourishing as well.
Three soups made from scratch are available daily with a house-made roll and a small salad-like "nosh" (Yiddish for "a little something-something"). The menu rotates daily, with vegetarian and vegan options. Recent options included chicken pozole with hominy, cinnamon-seared beef soup with Asian dumpling and root-cellar stew.
Also on the menu for $6 is a daily green salad, available with a roll, and a "pounder" baked potato loaded with special ingredients such as "chicken cordon bleu" and "stadium dog," all served with a nosh.
Spoons is open weekdays from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., but popular soups tend to run out early. Call 541-220-6993 or find Spoons' menu on Facebook.
3. Jose's Mexican Express Food
There's no shortage of places to get Mexican food in Southern Oregon, but much rarer are the ones that make their own corn tortillas yet charge Taco Bell prices.
Jose's, located at Digger's Goodyear Tavern, 101 S. Riverside Ave., offers a plate of five small tacos for $5. Larger tacos are available for $2 apiece, or on a plate special with rice and beans for $6.
The extra steps involved in making tortillas from masa may mean longer waits than what you'd find at the drive-thru, especially if there's a line. Those in a big hurry should consider calling in their order ahead or waiting for a time when they can appreciate the extra effort. Call 541-690-7535.
4. Better Bowls
Since Ed Chun opened Sunrise Cafe in 2010, the spot at 130 E. Main St. has developed a reputation for fresh Hawaiian fare, bolstered by signs proclaiming the lunch spot a "Can Opener-Free Zone" — aside from Spam dishes, of course.
Much of the menu hovers around $10, but the eatery is well-known among downtown aficionados for its $6 "small" rice bowls, which are large enough to satisfy most appetites. The bowls contain generous servings of grilled chicken or beef and a hearty amount of white or brown rice, drizzled with spicy house "Chun Sauce" or traditional teriyaki sauce and garnished with pineapple, scallions and sesame seeds. Curry rice bowls are also available for six bucks.
Turnaround on rice bowls is typically quick, making it a good choice for those on the go. Sunrise is open Mondays through Fridays from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Call 541-245-0555 or see
5. What a waffle
For a food truck that specializes in waffle sandwiches, Ooblies Waffle Food Truck offers a lot of variety.
Much of its regular menu is priced between $7 and $9, but the stand offers $5 lunch specials, including the Mac Daddy, which improves upon spicy bacon macaroni-and-cheese by putting it between two buttermilk waffles.
On the regular menu, the $6 veggie has tomato, spinach, avocado, pesto and cool, Italian-style sliced mozzarella cheese between savory waffles. On the sweeter side are waffle sandwiches such as Peaches and Cream ($5) and PB&J ($4).
The stand can be found Tuesdays through Saturdays at the parking lot near 10th Street and Riverside Avenue, and from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday nights at the Medford Center. Call 541-737-5533 or
6. Hey, Paisan!
Paisan's Pizzeria and Bistro offers a lunch special for less than $4, and with a location just a block away from the RCC/SOU Higher Education Center, the New York-style pizzeria is a favorite among students.
Budget-conscious or otherwise, anyone can get a foldable slice of freshly baked New York-style pie and a Coke for $3.95. You can get the cheese slice by itself for $3.50, and other choices are available by the slice for less than $5, including pepperoni, meatball and Hawaiian.
Be sure you're carrying cash for those bargain prices, however. Paying with plastic adds an extra 35 cents to the total.
The business, at 149 S. Central Ave., is open from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and noon to 6 p.m. Saturdays. Call 541-772-3668 or see
www.paisanspizzeria.com. (Corrected hours, debit card fee)
Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @MTCrimeBeat.