You can get cheap eats in the city without resorting to Sonic and McDonalds. While we have a lot of cheap, budget restaurants that aren't cheap on flavor. This is small selection of the ones that the locals flock to.
Whole Hog Cafe is often said to be the best BBQ in the city. It's just your luck that it's pretty cheap too. Prices range from $5-10. They compete in Memphis in May and I know lots of people who buy the spicey whole hog sauce for their own home BBQs.
2516 Cantrell Rd
The Flying Fish is one of my favorite places to eat. It's fun, funky and the prices are great, especially for the River Market. Catfish, beans and rice is just $8.99 and they have "baskets" of fish and chips that are even cheaper. All you can eat catfish night was Thursday the last time I checked, but call to confirm. It's not the best catfish in the city, but it's pretty close and the price is just right.
511 President Clinton Ave
3. Chi’s ExpressChi’s Express is a Chinese restaurant on Chenal Parkway, and even with their budget price they are a local favorite. With meals in the $7 range and good food, you can't miss by eating here.
17200 Chenal Parkway
I actually really like Mexico Chiquita, especially the cheese dip. I wouldn't call it the best Mexican in the city but it's really good and has a unique flavor. With the new sit-down restaurant open on Cantrell, that makes it even better. You can eat for about $8.
In the Mexican category, locals also like El Porton. It's reasonably priced, but averages about $1-2 more than Mexico Chiquita.
You CAN spend a lot at the purple cow if you browse their dessert menu, but you don't have to. A regular hamburger and chips will run you about $5. That's a deal. Plus they have a fun, 1950 soda shop atmosphere that kids of all ages enjoy. Two locations in Little Rock.
8026 Cantrell Road & 11602 Chenal Parkway