UW-Milwaukee: Food on a Budget
uw-milwaukee food

Gyro. Delicious.

The Milwaukee area is home to a diverse group of neighborhoods and restaurants. In Walker’s Point, you’ll find a bevy of Mexican restaurants. The bar scene on Water Street and North Avenue is also home to national chains and local eateries galore. And when we zero in on East Side of Milwaukee, the UWM area, we see that it’s no slouch when it comes to food people claim as their favorite either.

We scoured Yelp and found the best places to eat UW-Milwaukee food on a budget. You’ll want to make sure to browse our UWM off-campus housing so you can live as close as possible to these favored food joints.

The Shawarma House

Shawarma is both hard to spell and delicious when eaten. Shawarma is a variety of meats placed on a spit and grilled. The meat is then shaved off and commonly put on a wrap or sandwich. Then people eat the meat and say,  “wow, this is incredible. I’m glad I stayed for that extra scene at the end of The Avengers and learned what this food was.”

The Shawarma House in Milwaukee is located just blocks from UW-Milwaukee on Oakland Avenue. It offers tons of options, stays open late and excels at delivery. Between the main courses and authentic sides like hummus, baba ghannouj, tabouleh and falafel, they offer a unique East Side dining experience.

Our Favorite Yelp Review:

This place is awesome. It was my first time there, and I asked what they recommend. They were super nice about explaining the food items in a brilliant fashion. The food was absolutely gorgeous, and very very very tasty. I haven’t tried a Shawarma, and a Falafel until today. OMGoodness it was good.

Oakland Gyros

This long time UWM mainstay is only about a block away from The Shawarma House, proving that you don’t have to go far for great options on Oakland Avenue. The gyros are what keeps this place in business (and the ability to cater to the post-2 AM crowd), but they serve a fine burger and curly fries meal as well.

Oakland Gyros doesn’t have a website, but with a reputation like theirs and as many customers hustling through the doors as they have every night, there’s no need for this shop to step into the 21st century. Or even the 20th century for that matter.

Our Favorite Yelp Review:

Cheap and amazing Greek-American food!!! My goodness my mouth is watering just thinking of this place makes me want to come here again and again and again! Seriously, it’s addicting!

Chubby’s Cheesesteaks

“Milwaukee’s Answer to the Philly Cheesesteak” is what they say about themselves and their patrons seem to be satisfied with the answer they’ve come up with. Aside from the classic ribeye cheesesteaks, Chubby’s offers chicken versions as well as sandwiches like corned beef, pastrami and more.

Chubby’s has a few locations around Milwaukee and throughout the rest of Wisconsin. But UWM students will be most thrilled to come upon their offerings on Brady Street en route to or on the way back from the popular bars that surround it. This one may push our definition of “cheap” a bit, but many commenters across the internets have noted that they have friendly portion sizes.

Our Favorite Yelp Review:

The portions here are huge! I split my sandwich with my daughter but I could have easily made a second sandwich with all of the meat that fell out of my mushroom swiss and steak sub.

Pizza Shuttle

For 30 years, Pizza Shuttle has been serving up single slices and whole pies on Milwaukee’s East Side. Ian’s Pizza is a trendy favorite in an area with a higher bar concentration (and one of our recommendations in Madison as well), but don’t overlook Pizza Shuttle simply because it’s one of your elders.

The pizza is famously greasy, but that’s part of the pizza experience. And there aren’t too many places that are willing to give you free pizza on your birthday. If you’ve got a birthday coming up, sign up for their email club, cash in and try not to spend that $10 in one place.

Our Favorite Yelp Review:

How often can you get a huge(and good) slice of pizza, 6 oily but good breadsticks and a soda(with free refills) for under $4?!?! Well at Pizza Shuttle you can.

Thai Kitchen

It was hard to keep track of all the five-star reviews Thai Kitchen has received over the years. All commenters seem to highlight the same few Thai Kitchen principles that separate it from the rest:

  • Authentic
  • Clean
  • Reasonably priced

With attributes like those, how can you go wrong?

Our Favorite Yelp Review:

Best Thai I’ve had since I got back from Thailand. The 4 flavors the Thai people incorporate into their food were all there in perfect amounts! SWEET, SPICY, SALTY, and SOUR.

Callie Kollenbroich has been the Operations Coordinator and Content Writer/Editor at Rent College Pads since 2015. When she's not working, you can find her at home, eating peanut butter out of the jar and bingeing an unhealthy amount of Forensic Files. She's not as lame as she sounds.

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