Free lunch? No such thing. $5 lunch? We have just the thing. From burgers to bratwurst, there’s a nearby eatery that keeps both your wallet and stomach full.

Stone Elephant

1. Stone Elephant
$5 » Quesadillas or chicken tenders
The vibe: Easily transforms from family restaurant to party place/sports bar during karaoke or live-music evenings, or during a big game.
Why it’s a bang for your buck: The aforementioned quesadillas and tenders are but two of several specials on the $5 lunch menu. Vienna hot dogs, salads and a BLTA (bacon, lettuce, tomato and avocado) also are among the offerings.
For a few dollars more: Add house fries, pasta salad, slaw or Elephant Chips for $1.95, or a drink for $2.50.
Tip: Lunch specials are offered every day, even Sundays, from 11 a.m.-2 p.m., and the bar stays open ’til 2 a.m. daily.
SKILLMAN & ABRAMS
214.342.9200

2. Taqueria Los Altos
$4.99 » Taco lunch special
The vibe: Tucked behind a billiards bar and protected by burglar bars, the clean, roomy and authentic taqueria offers friendly table service.
Why it’s a bang for your buck: The taco lunch special includes three tacos with a choice of meat (chicken, pork or beef) plus rice and beans. Free chips with a selection of mild to hot salsas make the meal a steal.
For a few dollars more: Add a soda or a beer for a buck or two.
Tip: Open weekdays from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. only; they’re not open for dinner. Saturday hours are extended until 4 p.m.
ABRAMS & NORTHWEST HIGHWAY
214.361.6769

Eddie's Deli

3. Eddie’s Deli
$4.50 » Chicago Hot Dog
The vibe: Not much to look at and hardly any seating, but these dogs are worth standing for.
Why it’s a bang for your buck: “No frills” applies (and boy, does it) only to the atmosphere, because the Chicago hot dog is overflowing with toppings — yellow mustard, diced onions, bright green relish, tomato slices, kosher pickle wedges, sport peppers and celery salt for starters.
For a few dollars more: A bag of chips and a can of soda (no fountain soda and no refills) will run you about $2.
Tip: Eddie’s is closed Sundays. Hours of operation are 11a.m.-8 p.m., officially, but they usually will take orders until 9 p.m. Mon.-Sat.
ABRAMS & NORTHWEST HIGHWAY
214.692.5844

Bistro B

4. Bistro B
$4.99 » Grilled chicken vermicelli
The vibe: Consider yourself warned — bright, erratic décor and a half-dozen television sets surrounding a buzzing dining area might initially shock the senses. A counter up front is backed by digital, ever-shifting menus and several (usually) busy staffers. More TVs, a computer and an impressive aquarium entertain if you’re waiting on takeout.
Why it’s a bang for your buck: Portions are large, as is the menu and selection, and the fish sauce is to die for.
For a few dollars more: Grab deli delights such as fresh spring rolls, candies, gelatin-like desserts, coffees and cappuccinos.
Tip: Fresh egg rolls are four for $1 when you buy them at the counter. Politely make your presence known when you arrive, or you risk being overlooked.
AUDELIA & WALNUT STREET
214.575.9885

Keller's

5. Keller’s
$4.95 » No. 5 double-meat special with fries and a lemonade
The vibe: Waitresses serve you at your car, and you might find yourself parked between a gang of middle-aged bikers and a soccer mom steering a kid-filled SUV.
Why it’s a bang for your buck: Reliably good, cheap burgers since the 1960s. Plus, the place is a piece of Dallas history.
For a few dollars more: Add cheese to your fries or tots for $1.50. A six-pack of beer is $5.25.
Tip: Be sweet to your carhop. At least one of them has been there all 40-some years.
ABRAMS & NORTHWEST
214.368.1209

6. Big Mama’s Chicken and Waffles
$4 » 2-piece dark chicken basket and fries
The vibe: The bright yellow-and-red double drive-thru, which includes limited picnic-table seating, serves up savory-sweet combos. What was once a very niche-y biz seems to have developed a cult following.
Why it’s a bang for your buck: All the chicken baskets are served with fries, pickles, a hot pepper and bread, and you can substitute any of those for a waffle or coleslaw.
For a few dollars more: Add another leg or thigh for $1.75 or a breast for $3.
Tip: Bring cash because Mama doesn’t do plastic.
FOREST & AUDELIA
214.340.3035
bigmamaschickenandwaffles.com

7. Tony’s Pizza and Pasta
$4.95 » Mozzarella, ricotta & sausage calzone
$4.75 » artichoke salad
The vibe: Italian bistro that’s usually bustling. You’re likely to see one of your neighbors on any given lunch hour. There’s a banquet room in back, but it’s not always open. Service generally is swift and friendly. Once you’ve been in a time or two, you’ll know the staff, and they’ll know you.
Why it’s a bang for your buck: The artichoke salad — with mounds of mozzarella, Canadian bacon and artichoke hearts — could feed two.
For a few dollars more: Start with an order of fried calamari for $3.95.
Tip: Feel free to bring your own bottle of wine (if you have the afternoon off, that is).
NORTHWEST & FERNDALE
214.503.0388
tonyspizzapasta.net

8. Rick’s Old Fashioned Burgers
$3.99 » Chili, cheese and onion burger
The vibe: Old-school burger joint where it’s OK to spill a little ketchup on the beat-up red leather seats.
Why it’s a bang for your buck: 1/3-pound burgers come topped with the freshest veggies.
For a few dollars more: Add a bowl of chili, stuffed jalapeños or an apple turnover for $2.99, $2.15 and 99 cents, respectively.
Tip: Rick’s also has a Mexican food menu with items priced just above the $5 mark — a soft-taco plate or a chili taco salad for $5.25, for example — and it has also recently added salmon burgers to the menu.
PLANO & FOREST
214.348.8400

9. Samich’s Soul Cafe
$4.95 » Deli sandwich
The vibe: It’s set inside a tired strip center that recently lost a popular restaurant (Flavor), but comfy seating, bright colors, free wireless internet and an ever-spinning music mix are attracting ambiance- and deal-seeking diners.
Why it’s a bang for your buck: Choose from about 20 different hot or cold sandwiches served up on old-school hoagie buns.
For a few dollars more: A side of soup or a slice of red velvet cake will set you back about $1.75 and $2.75, respectively.
Tip: Return during evening hours for the same cheap-eats lineup, plus live music, poetry and comedy.
SKILLMAN & LBJ
214.341.0788

10. Tex-Mex Grill and Cafe
$4.99 » Taco or enchilada lunch plate
The vibe: Family-owned restaurant, after only about a year in business, has become popular with the neighborhood crowd.
Why it’s a bang for your buck: Soft tortillas, juicy meat and extras such as chips and salsa at the tables.
For a few dollars more: Sticky sweet sopapillas are $2.99.
Tip: Lunch specials offered Monday-Friday from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
PLANO & WALNUT HILL
214.343.8740