There are all kinds of benefits in finding great little “dive” restaurants in your neck of the woods…

You can “take a trip around the food world” without going far from home. You’ll meet diverse people and sample new and unusual tastes. And, of course, you can save a fortune on your dining out bill!

Last week, I wrote about some marketing lessons you can learn from the way restaurants like these operate. But you might be even more interested in the food!

So how can you find cheap but fabulous restaurants where you live? How do you discover these little treasures?

  • Check out your local “alternative paper.” Look under “Cheap Eats” or “Meals Under $XX.”
  • Visit online sites – ChowHound, for example – and look for topics like “best cheap food” or even “roadside dives.” Gourmets love discussing their latest local off-the-radar discoveries.
  • Check out restaurants near colleges and universities. These places are almost always cheap. The trick is to find the ones that are cheap and good.
  • And, of course, ask local ethnics for recommendations, and look for restaurants packed with local ethnics.

Now keep in mind, I’m talking about being a little bit adventurous here. Almost by definition, most “dives” are in low-rent areas. That can mean venturing into higher-crime neighborhoods where you may feel more comfortable during the day. But, hey… these places serve lunch too! And the culinary rewards can be well worth stepping out of your comfort zone.

And I’m not saying you should never go to a “regular” restaurant again. They pay rent, pay taxes, keep downtown areas alive, and provide safe and steady places to dine out.

But if you want some fantastic meals for a song, start “Thinking Global and Dining Local” – at your local “dive” restaurants, that is.

Charlie Byrne

Charlie Byrne is a former Senior Copywriter and Editorial Director for Early to Rise. Charlie spent the earlier part of his business career as a systems analyst, project manager and consultant in New York City for Fortune 100 companies including Philip Morris, Digital Equipment, and Citicorp as well as New York University and Columbia University. He then spent over ten years at Reuters Ltd and Interealty Corp designing and implementing financial, real estate and news information services. In 2003, he joined Early to Rise as a senior editor and copywriter. Since then he has helped publish over 1000 editions of ETR, resulting in gross revenues of well over $25 million. He has also produced dozens of winning sales letters and promotions, including two that brought in over $200,000 in under 24 hours, another two that have grossed over $1 million each, and a single sales letter that sold 25 units of a $10,000 product.

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