Where Can I Drink and Eat for Cheap?

By Michal Tellos (previously run in the Windsor Independent)

New to the city and already sick of school and public transit? Let’s break down a week in Windsor for you.

Welcome to Windsor, students, or anyone else who’s chosen to call Ontario’s answer to South Beach home this month. It’s not a city that jumps out at you, but there’s a lot to love if you just scratch the surface a little.

You’ll have plenty of time to find your own watering hole or eatery on the weekend, so below I’ve broken the city down by day to give you the cheapest place to eat, drink, and attempt to be merry on any dreaded week day.

MONDAY

I know what you’re thinking: what could possibly make Monday better? Let me try. Just off-campus is one of Windsor’s gems: The Garden, a pan-Asian restaurant that is totally vegetarian and almost entirely vegan. They serve up delicious vegetable dishes, but also plenty of meat-substitutes that would fool most people. The General Tso’s chicken and spicy eggplant are must-orders. Enjoy a ten per cent “Meatless Monday” discount each week.

Now that you’ve eaten healthy, it’s time to drink. Phog, one of Windsor’s best small music venues, is just a few minutes northeast. Phog has open mic every Monday at 10 pm, and it’s truly a showcase of Windsor’s best, weirdest, and most wildly entertaining. It’s packed most weeks, and it’s probably because every open mic also has five dollar pints all night. The beer selection is great and the price and experience can’t be beaten, but don’t cheap out totally. Tip Joe!

TUESDAY

You’ve already heard about Windsor pizza, so if you’ve been able to wait until Tuesday, you’ll be rewarded. Terra Cotta Gourmet Pizzeria, on Pelissier St., is a downtown fixture that’s been tossing thin crust pizza for years, and on Tuesday, you can enjoy two pizzas for the price of one, which makes it easier for you to explore their whole menu with a group of friends, or on your own after you failed your midterm. Can't make it Tuesday? No problem, students exclusively get the same deal on Wednesdays. They’re also one of a handful of pizzerias in Windsor that offer vegan pizza, with Daiya cheese, or gluten-free crust as well.

One of Windsor’s coolest spots is right next door. Craft Heads is a brewery primarily, but it also happens to serve some of the best coffee in the city. Go for a pour over or their cold brew – made in house. Or, with pizza, enjoy any of their freshly brewed beer. They’ve usually got about twenty to pick from, ranging from fuzzy peach to salted caramel. On Tuesday, you can even order Terra Cotta right into Craft Heads so you can build your buzz while you wait.

WEDNESDAY

Hump Day is big in Windsor, and after eating all that vegan food the first two days, it’s time to cave and dive into the meat. Rock Bottom Bar and Grill is just off campus and has been serving two-for-one wings every Wednesday since ‘Nam. They’re truly some of the best in the city, and the beer selection is even better. The kitchen is open until 1 AM, you should either show up really early or really late to guarantee a spot. Lines out the door aren’t uncommon, and neither is people setting up camp for the night once they’ve secured a table.

If you’re still hungry and you’ve got some loose change left, head down to The Windsor Beer Exchange. Their slider-oriented menu is great, but on this day, you’re much more likely to go in for their wings and waffles deal. A couple of those with some inexpensive add-ons and you should be should be ready for the second half of the week. If not, sample their idiosyncratic beer menu or shoot some pool/hoops.

THURSDAY

On the second Thursday of every month, make sure to head down to Villain’s Beastro. I know! Just once a month? But their SNOT (spectacular night of trivia) is a game show style of wild trivia where dedicated teams compete against one another for a variety of prizes, and even amongst the landscape of Windsor trivia, it’s an event not to be missed.

FRIDAY

Time to reward yourself for a week in the books in Sin City. Head downtown and don’t leave until 3 AM. Start by having dinner at Snackbar-B-Q. Snack is a small barbecue joint on Chatham St. E., and they offer an unreal selection of chicken, pork, and ribs, for decent prices. It’s enough to share, and if you’re not into meat, they’ve got a couple of pretty neat vegetable options. Try the brussel sprouts or fried green tomatoes, even if you do eat meat.

Once you’ve eaten and loosened up with some Snack cocktails, head over one block to The Rondo, Windsor’s newest dance club. Friday, their indie dance night, often draws the biggest crowds of the week, and it keeps on filling up right up to closing time. There’s no cover until 11 pm, and even then, it’s “Windsor cover,” which is a mere five dollars. Dance and sweat out the barbecue and week’s worth of frustration with everyone else. The dance floor is loud and massive.

You’re drunk and you’re hungry again? That’s crazy talk! It’s also shawarma time, Windsor’s other world-famous export. Don’t get too caught up in the crazy lines at Shawarma Palace, go slightly off the main strip to Shawarma Kingdom or Shawarma Queen. What they lack in crowds or size, they make up for in garlicky, pickled slop, which speaks to everyone’s base instincts in that time of need. Also, make sure to be a pro. When someone is in tears because they can’t decide between beef or chicken, do what the locals do and ask for it mixed. Get the microwaved garlic potatoes if you must. Enjoy Windsor. Eat lots.

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