Affordable Dining Spots for Financially Savvy Millennials

By Hannah Lapiska

If you are between the ages of 18-35 and don’t have $100 to spend on dinner, here are ten dinner and dessert options for you that aren’t McDonald’s.

Although many people in this day and age have succumbed to staying at home and watching a movie and ordering a pizza, the solution may not always be just that. Even though spending $20 is better than $35, why not treat your loved one to a great night out in the beautiful city of Pittsburgh.

Here are the best spots for you and your date to go out on the town for $35 or less.

Let’s begin in the heart of the ‘Burgh.

~The Yard~

Entrance to Market Square location Photograph by: Vania E. Arthur
Entrance to Market Square location.
Photograph by: Vania E. Arthur.

Calling all grilled cheese lovers!

A new restaurant located in Market Square, The Yard opened in 2015 and is home to an array of  grilled cheeses.

“The atmosphere in here is laid back and casual,” says restaurant manager, Monica Tress about what attracts people to The Yard, a second floor bistro above a hot dog shop.

That’s not the only thing, however.

A grilled cheese with the name “Smack-Yo-Mama” is the best selling item on the menu. The sandwich has BBQ pulled chicken, onion straws and beer cheese between two lightly-grilled pieces of bread.

Along with the wide selection of grilled cheeses, The Yard also has burgers and a wide range of beers on tap, wines and mixed drinks.

It’s great for before or after baseball, hockey or football games as the Pittsburgh crowd is always lively.

Dinner for two: $30.00, including drinks.

~ Franktuary ~

Franktuary, located in Downtown Pittsburgh. Photograph: Vania E. Arthur.

Moving right along in the Market Square area is a new hot dog spot for lovers of the dogs.

As one walks in to Franktuary, a gleaming chandelier is the first thing you see, but looking right beyond the light fixture reveals a full bar with stools and high top tables for casual eating.

Franktuary, located right on Forbes Avenue, is an outstanding place for college students looking for a quick eat, but is also great for a quick bite before a night out in the bar scene.

Franktuary takes your tastebuds on a trip around the country with some of their options. First is the “New Yorker,” which consists of house kraut, onion sauce and brown mustard. Move your way down south to Texas with the “Texan,” full of jalapeños, sharp cheddar and grass-fed beef chili. Head to Chicago for the “Chicago Impostor,” and get a taste of relish, banana pepper, pickle, tomato, celery salt, onion, mustard and poppy seed.

Franktuary leaves you with a full stomach.

Dinner for two: $15.00

~ Diamond Market Bar & Grill ~

Diamond Market Grille. Bar Photograph: Vania E. Arthur.

Walking through the center of the beautiful Market Square leads you to Diamond Market Bar & Grill, where you can find yourself a juicy burger, wood-fired chicken wings or Greek-Style Lamb sliders. The casual atmosphere and low prices are great for millennials. The outside seating is perfect for a Pittsburgh-warm day, and also great for people watching.

Dinner for two: $29.00, including drinks

~ täkō ~

Tako: Downtown location. Exterior Photograph: Vania E. Arthur.

Another date spot located just blocks from Market Square is täkō, a new restaurant in the Cultural District that is getting great reviews by all.

The “farm-to-table” food is great for all types of foodies, especially those with a knack for surf style and extreme margaritas. Vegetarians are welcome. The vibes are great as the staff is personable. If you go on a brisk evening, you are able to sit right outside the kitchen and watch the men on the line cook and assemble the different flavors of tacos.

täkō opens at 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and on Sunday at 3 p.m.

You can’t miss the old school neon sign display right as you turn onto 6th Street.

Dinner for two: $30.00

~ Peter’s Pub ~

Peter’s Pub: Exterior in Oakland, Pittsburgh. Photograph: Vania E. Arthur.

Move on to Oakland, the land of colleges in Pittsburgh. Walking towards The University of Pittsburgh on Forbes Avenue, you’ll come across Peter’s Pub, a college kid landmark in the heart of Oakland.

Ashley, the bartender at Peter’s Pub explains the significance of the bar and restaurant.

“Peter’s Pub has been around for 43 years. It’s certainly a staple in Oakland and on campuses.”

The pub has a vintage feel to it. Entering the doorway, you see old time photos of Steelers and Pirates playing on the original Forbes Field, which was located directly across the street. Stringing lights hang above the bar where regulars sit during the day-time and college kids hang at night.

The food and drink prices are ideal for a bar-like atmosphere. Walking past the bar, the dining area is more modern with jerseys of hockey players and flat-screen TV’s hanging.

Peter’s Pub is fitting for a late night snack or a must-see stop on a bar hopping night.

Dinner for two: $26.00, including drinks.

~ LuLu’s Noodles ~

Lulu’s Noodles Street View. Photograph: Vania E. Arthur.

If you and your date are looking for delicious Asian cuisine, make your way to LuLu’s Noodles located in North Oakland.

LuLu’s represents the Asian culture in Oakland and it’s a hot spot for college kids, too. The menu is full of big and small dishes of noodles, soups, smoothies and rolls. The Spicy Chicken dish or the mango bubble smoothie are great for  sit down or take-out cuisine.

For only $17, dinner for two is served.

~ Fat Heads ~

Fat Heads exterior. Photograph: Courtesy of

Across one of the longest bridges in Pittsburgh, The Birmingham Bridge takes you to the South Side of Pittsburgh where the home of many original bars in the city are.

A landmark in Pittsburgh, Fat Heads is home to the iconic “Headwiches” and beers with the fat faces on the label.

Fat Heads has over 40 beers on tap, meaty wings and sandwiches bigger than your head. The Fat Heads menu has great humor and good flavoring. Great for a sit down dinner in the newly renovated dining area or just for watching a Pirates game at the bar, Fat Heads is sublime eating in the city. You may have some leftovers for later.

Dinner for two: $32.00, including drinks.

~ OTB Bicycle Café ~

OTB Bicyle Café in Pittsburgh PA Photograph: Curtosy of
OTB Bicycle Café in Pittsburgh, PA
Photograph: Courtesy of

Also located in the South Side is a chain restaurant called Over the Bar Bicycle Café, which is ideal for vegetarians and road bikers. This restaurant features dips, veggie burgers, regular burgers, wraps and good beers, too.

Dinner for two: $27.00, including drinks.

~ Mineo’s Pizzahouse & Aiello’s Pizza~

Mineo's Pizzhouse Photograph: Mineo's Pizzhouse (curtousy;

Aiello’s and Mineo’s Pizza located in Pittsburgh. Photograph(s): courtesy of


Squirrel Hill, in Pittsburgh’s East End, is home to two of the greatest pizza spots in Pittsburgh. The competition is real between Mineo’s Pizzahouse and Aiello’s Pizza just a couple doors down from each other located on Murray Sreet. Many love the greasy pizza Mineo’s makes, but others love the thickness of Aiello’s. Add a can of pop to your meal and the late night spot is the perfect way to end the night off, right before dessert of course.

Dinner for two at both pizza joints: $18.00

~ Dave and Andy’s Ice Cream ~

Dave & Andy’s located in Oakland. Photograph: Vania E. Arthur.

Speaking of dessert, we recommend one place in particular.

For 33 years, Dave and Andy’s Ice Cream has lived in Oakland and remained one of the best spots for a scoop of homemade ice cream in a waffle cone.

“You can smell the waffles from around the block,” says Jared, the beloved ice cream scooper.

Everything at Dave and Andy’s is low-fat, no sugar added and made in house. But you would never know as the flavors are so tasteful.

The owner, Andy Hardi, says his favorite flavor is the white chocolate cinnamon habanero ice cream.

Every flavor has it’s own twist and flavors are seasonal. You won’t necessarily see peach in the middle of winter.

People come from all over the city to have a scoop of the ever famous Dave and Andy’s. The location is great, too. Grab a waffle cone with your favorite flavor and head right on over to Schenley Park to walk along Pitt’s campus.

Two separate dishes: $10.00.


Hannah Lapiska  is a Sophomore at Point Park University. She is studying Journalism and Mass Communications, hoping to become an investigative reporter after she graduates in 2018.