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View Full Version : How much is a restaurant meal in your area?


Freyja
01-20-2008, 12:02 PM
DH and I are planning a coast to coast trip from NYC to LA (including somewhere around Philadelphia, Memphis, Nashville, Dallas, El Paso, Phoenix)with our 5 kids. Im trying to make a budget and would like to know how much an average meal in a family style restaurant in your area costs? Im thinking maybe entre and desert and soda. Are the portions big? We hardly ever finish any portions in the US. Would it be o.k. if we split meals?

Any help would be greatly appreciated :)

Plantlady
01-20-2008, 12:45 PM
I think it's totally ok to split meals. I worked in a restaurant for years, and many many people split the meals.

I just went to a nice sit down restaurant today, with my three boys. We had three adult meals, and one kids meal, everyone had a soda to drink. It cost us $43.00 before the tip. But, this is an expensive place for us, a rare treat.

It was enough food, that all three of my sons brought home half of their food, to enjoy later.

But, for our family of five, it can range from $20 at taco bell, to $70 at some of the nicer places we take the kids (meaning, we don't go to the *really* nice restaurants, where the kids would be very out of place).

Kids meals portion sizes are much more reasonable, and I often order off of the kids menu when we eat out.

englishteacha
01-20-2008, 01:32 PM
The "family style" restaurants we go to have entrees from $5-12. Some places in the US charge a "Plate fee" to share a meal. Usually it's $1-2. There are no restaurants near us that charge this fee, but when we've traveled we've encountered a few.

Freyja
01-20-2008, 01:55 PM
Thank you very much! Its great to see some numbers in order to have some kind of idea what to expect. Our only comparison really is NYC, downtown DC and Disney. Probably all of these places are above average price wise.

momx2
01-20-2008, 02:17 PM
I live close to Nashville, about the same price to eat out here as there. For me, DH, and 2 DDs we average about $50-$60 for sit down dinners or lunches, with tip. My DDs aren't huge eaters, but sometimes prefer to order off the adult menu. If they do that I sometimes share with them.

Example, the other night we went to eat and DD 10 wanted the club sandwich, not on kid's menu ($12). DD 6 wanted lasagna, not on the kid's menu ($16 + $2 for drink). So I ended up eating the salad that came with the lasagna (DD doesn't like salad yet) and about 1/3 of the lasagna. Also ate about 1/4 of DD 10's sandwich, plus some of her baked potato she ordered. We were all stuffed and I got a buffet! DH ate a steak with salad and potato ($18). We probably spent about $60 with tax and tip. But this was a more expensive place.

But sometimes they order off children's menu and then I get my own plate. We also don't usually do dessert or appetizer unless it's a special treat. We all, except youngest DD also order water.

Entrees seem to run about $16-$20, but it usually includes your salad. And portions are usually pretty big. I'm never shy about sharing and never have a problem with it or charged to share.

maxtomsmom
01-20-2008, 02:39 PM
For the most part, any decent restaurant in a major city will be slightly higher and somewhat similar to NYC (maybe slightly less depending upon the quality). We live close to NYC and the average dinner for two adults with 2 young kids without drinks including an appetizer or salad, entree and maybe a dessert that we share costs around $75 at a good restaurant. At a great restaurant it's much more. Again, this doesn't include wine, pre dinner drinks, coffee, etc. That doesn't mean you won't find great meals for less. You will need to do some research. My advice is to go on the website for each major city and get info from them. They may have a restaurant guide as well as places of interests. Also you can post a thread asking other Disers to post favorite places to eat in the areas you will be visiting. Many people have done this. Also, locals will often know the best places for less and less touristy areas that tend to inflate the prices. Some restaurants have websites you can view menu items and prices. HTH, sounds like a great trip.

2TxAgs
01-20-2008, 03:35 PM
At most barbque or Mexican restaurants (or chains such as Chili's or Bennigans), your meals can be had for around $10-15 each, including the drinks. We're in Texas, and have 3 kids, so we don't visit the fancy places,
and our cost of living will be much less than NYC or Disney.
ETA: the portions at most of these places are big!

Enjoy your trip.... Plan on a 10-11 hr drive between Dallas and El Paso. I remember as a kid wondering when we were going to get out of the State of Texas - we just seemed to drive forever. We do that particular drive once a year or so, and it is long and not much to see.

TxAg

delmar411
01-20-2008, 04:04 PM
I'd say you are looking at about $10-$15 per adult serving and $5-$7 per child serving...

plus tax (varies a lot between states) and tip

This is at just basic places to eat.

my3princes
01-20-2008, 05:19 PM
It totally depends on the type of restaurant you choose. I work for a restaurant where all entrees include an all you care to eat salad bar. We do not allow any meal sharing because of the salad bar. Our meals run from $10 for salad bar only to $23 for Prime Rib. The Childrens entrees run 4.95 - 6.95 and are for children under the age of 10. Drink and desserts are separate. A family of 5 would run $75 and up on average.

pbharris4
01-20-2008, 09:54 PM
I would say on average for a family of 5 for a fast food meal (Sonic, Burger King, etc.) $25-$30. For a nice dinner (nothing too gourmet) I'd say $50-&70 depending on what you get and tips etc.) Anything above your average restuants will be $70+. Across the south there are Cracker Barrels everywhere and they have a pretty decent prices.

Have fun on your trip! I've driven cross country before and although the days can get long...the scenery is beautiful. Can't wait to take my girls and do that as well.

slruud
01-20-2008, 10:11 PM
Even though I'm not from Phoenix, I would recommend the Good Egg or Eggery, same owners for breakfast/lunch. Reasonable prices and good portions. For pizza lovers, Oregano's for reasonable priced lunch and dinner thin crust pizzas and humoungus salads. Good luck and have fun.

pearlieq
01-20-2008, 10:26 PM
A meal in a casual diner will run DH and I about $25.

A meal at a chain restuarant will run between $30 and $40 for the two of us.

SandraVB79
01-21-2008, 06:13 AM
When you're in Texas, don't forget that almost everything is Texas-sized, sharing is almost a must! One of my favourite restaurants in the DFW area is La Hacienda Ranch in Grapevine, "near" DFW airport (yeah right, nothing in DFW is near each other because it's so big!)

I used to spend my summers in Texas, so I have been to quite some restaurants in Amarillo, DFW and Austin (love the Hula Hut in the Austin area, but it's not a typical Texan restaurant, lol!)

My mom and I share many times. If we take dessert, we always share one. We almost never go to any fancy restaurants, I like chain restaurants like Olive Garden and the like. I know I know, many US people don't like those, but it makes it easier for us to find a place to eat: we know what we can expect!
When I stayed with my friends in Texas, I had some of the best food in places that looked really weird, I would never enter those places when I am just by myself, you have to "know" them; someone needs to tell you you're good. So that's why we mostly stick with chain restaurants (except in California, there we went to a variety of unique restaurants)

rockyroad
01-21-2008, 09:07 AM
I live in Memphis.

Memphis has a good number of restaurants where you can eat well at a very reasonable price.
I'm not talking about fancy places or chain places.
I am happy to make specific recommendations about places that I like if you're interested and know what part of town you will be in.

And if you are going to spend a couple of days here, you might want to get one of the Entertainment books.

Lisa_M
01-21-2008, 11:12 AM
A meal in a casual diner will run DH and I about $25.

A meal at a chain restuarant will run between $30 and $40 for the two of us.


This is the same for us we live about an hour away from Philadelphia, but without dessert. I would add about $8-10 dollars for dessert for two.

I don't know how much it would be with kids since we haven't had to order off the kids menu....yet. I can say that adult portions are pretty big. I usually take home half of my meal and DH usually takes home a third of his meal.

Freyja
01-21-2008, 11:59 AM
Thanks everyone! I really appreciate your help and input. Cant wait for this trip to start :)