Quick & Cheap Eats: Spots Near Campus If You’re Budgeting and In A Rush

It’s not uncommon to find students rushing about for a quick bite to eat around the UA campus. Whether they’re needing to study, get to work, or meet up with friends, quick and cheap eats is usually what’s on the radar.

Luckily, the U of A has a handful of places scattered around and just off campus that are affordable, satisfying, and fast. Below are nine eateries that should be able to cater to your grab-and-go needs.


1702 E. Speedway Blvd.
Swiss Melt pizza with swiss cheese, salami, spinach, pepperoncini and drizzled beer mustard.

Swiss Melt slice at 1702 (Photo credit: 1702)

Their mantra is “a beer and a pie” and that’s exactly what they specialize in. Known for larger than life sized slices, this joint also has a wide array of craft beers from across the country pandering to any beer aficionado. Just a short walk down Speedway, 1702 is a great place to grab a slice that you can keep for later while saving you some cash in the process.

Highlighted items:

  • Slice of Cheese ($5.95) – A single slice that will almost assuredly last you two meals.
  • Chicken Wings ($6.40) – A half a pound of house made wings that comes in a variety of sauces.
  • Calzone ($8.10) – Stuffed with mozzarella and ricotta cheeses, with many meat and veggie fillings to choose from.

For more information, visit 1702az.com.

Boca Tacos y Tequila

828 E. Speedway Blvd.
Taco Dog from Boca Tacos

Taco Dog from Boca Tacos

Just a short way from campus, this taco joint serves up original, made to order tacos with super-unique house salsas to pair with any item on the menu. Choices include corn or flour tortillas, or a cabbage wrap, all stuffed with guacamole, cabbage, various salsas, and meats that range from chicken and steak to chorizo, pork and fish. They also feature delicious veggie tacos as well.

Some local favorites:

  • Boca Balls ($5.25) – Chipotle-seasoned mashed potatoes rolled in panko crumbs and friend. Served with Boca house dipping sauce.
  • Chips & Salsa ($4.50) – Fresh, homemade salsas of varying intensities, with crisp, warm, and also homemade tortilla chips.
  • Taco Dog ($3.50) – Boca’s spin on a Sonoran dog: A bacon-wrapped hotdog grilled with onions, pico de gallo, and beans.
  • Macho ($3.85) – Chopped steak stuffed in an Anaheim chile with melted cheese, wrapped in the tortilla of your choice.

For more information, visit bocatacos.com.


845 E. University Blvd.
Falafel Pita at Eat-A-Pita

Falafel Pita at Eat-A-Pita

Eat-A-Pita has developed a following over the years for its delivery and late night hours. Students love its healthy spin on traditional sandwiches that you can eat on the go. Located on University Boulevard, this place has all the characteristics of a classic college town eatery for those who are in need of a quick fix.

Popular items:

  • Wildcat ($7.49) – A pita loaded with chicken, grilled onions, mushrooms, and bell peppers that can be customized any way you like.
  • Club ($7.74) – Turkey, ham, and bacon are the basics. From there on, the possibilities are endless.
  • Noah’s Arc ($7.99) – Roast beef, turkey, and ham coupled with whatever extras you want to pile on.
  • Egg & Bacon ($6.99) – They have breakfast too! A pita filled with eggs, bacon, and cheese to start your day.

For more information, visit eatapitatucson.com.

China Pasta House

430 N. Park Ave.
Pork Bun at China Pasta House

Pork Bun at China Pasta House

Their large noodle bowls and hefty portions have put this place on the map. Located on Park Ave., China Pasta House has authentic Chinese noodles, and more, at modest prices, and for students on the go, this place is perfect for a meal that is filling, fast, and unique.

Favorites include:

  • Cucumber & Shredded Chicken Noodles ($6.49) – Slices of cucumber paired with grilled chicken over a bed of noodles.
  • Braised Beef Noodles ($7.24) – Steamed noodles under cuts of beef and greens.
  • Pork Buns ($1.50) – Pork filled bread buns, an appetizer favorite.

For more information, visit chinapastahousetucson.com.

Time Market

444 E. University Blvd.
Reuben at Time Market

Reuben at Time Market

While locals are familiar with Time Market, many students have yet to stop by. Just a quick walk down University will provide you with some of the best brick oven pizza and deli made sandwiches you’ve ever had. As the name suggests, this place also serves as a specialty market with a variety of meats, cheeses and wines. And, the house baked bread is some of the best in town.

Highlighted items:

  • Roasted Chicken & Tamal ($8.99) – Green corn tamal, chicken, cheddar, avocado, and salsa on house baked pain levain.
  • Classic Reuben ($8.59) – Corned beef, swiss, caraway kraut, and thousand island on house baked pain levain.
  • Pizza Slice ($2.50 +) – Choose from cheese, pepperoni, or the Specialty Slice Of The Day.

For more information, visit facebook.com/TimeMarketTucson.

No Anchovies

870 E. University Blvd.
No Anchovies' Buffalo Chicken Pizza

Buffalo Chicken Pizza from No Anchovies (Photo credit: No Anchovies)

Many students are familiar with this joint as a place to grab a slice and a beer after a long day. Essentially on campus, No Anchovies is the perfect spot to relax with friends while enjoying a piece of pie and a brew. Although known for pizza, No Anchovies features other tasty and affordable items on the menu as well.


  • Cheese Slice ($2.50) – Add a topping for 50 cents extra, or try their gourmet slices for $3.75.
  • Basil Chicken Ricotta ($3.75/slice, $13 for 12″) – Mozzarella, grilled chicken, ricotta, fresh garlic, and basil.
  • Mediterranean ($3.75/slice, $13 for 12″) – Mozzarella, tomato, artichoke heart, black olive, feta, and pesto.
  • Parmesan Sandwich ($8.00) – Mozzarella, parmesan, house made marinara, grilled peppers and onions, with your choice of chicken, meatball, or sausage.

For more information, visit noanchoviespizza.com.

Mama’s Hawaiian Bar-B-Cue

850 E. Speedway Blvd.
Mama's Hawaiian Bar-B-Cue

Mama’s Hawaiian Bar-B-Cue’s Eastside location

One of my personal favorites, Mama’s serves up some great unique late night dining until 3 AM. From homemade teriyaki to kalua pork to my go-to’s in their loco moco and chicken katsu, there’s always something for those wanting a hearty meal that’s sure to fill you up. Also very close to campus, Mama’s has become a Tucson staple and is noticeably more popular after midnight.

Highlighted items:

  • Kalua Pork ($7.49) – Pork that is marinated, seasoned, and oven-roasted to perfection. Comes with two sides.
  • Chicken Katsu ($7.49) – Boneless chicken breast covered in panko bread crumbs then fried. Served with katsu sauce and two sides.
  • Loco Moco ($8.49) – A half pound of seasoned grilled ground beef with a fried egg topping. Served with two scoops of white rice covered in house beef gravy.
  • Chicken Teriyaki ($7.49) – Boneless, skinless chicken breast marinated in homemade teriyaki sauce and grilled to your liking. Comes with two sides.

For more information, visit mamashawaiianbbq.com.

Miss Saigon

1072 N. Campbell Ave.
Miss Saigon's Pho Tai

Miss Saigon’s Pho Tai (Photo credit: Downtown Tucson Partnership)

If you’re in a hurry, call it in. The wait for a table can be long. From the outside you might not think much, but the food is rave-worthy. Vietnamese food fans visit for the egg and veggie rolls, pho, and egg noodle soups. The spicy broth and boba teas are also worth a try if you’re looking for something different.

Highlighted menu items:

  • Cha Gio ($5.99 for 5) – Fried egg rolls with ground pork, mushroom, and carrot.
  • Pho Tai ($7.25/small, $8.49/large) – Rice noodle soup with cuts of rare tender beef and herbs.
  • Mi Hoanh Thanh ($7.25/small, $8.49/large) – Egg noodle soup with shrimp and pork wontons.

For more information, visit misssaigon-tucson.com.


845 E. University Blvd.
Kababeque's Chicken Tikka Kabab

Kababeque’s Chicken Tikka Kabab

For those who struggle to find good Indian food around the U of A, or Middle Eastern-type food in general, Kababeque will certainly satisfy your hunger. Recently renovated, the interior of this Indian cuisine creates an inviting environment for students to come in and grab a quick, affordable bite down the street from the heart of campus. Again, call it in if in a major hurry.

Favorites include:

  • Tikka Masala ($9.45 for chicken & veggie, $10.35 for lamb & shrimp) – Served under a mild tomato based sauce, a hint of cream, and a bed of basmati rice.
  • Q Rolls ($4.50 – $6.99) – Wraps of many of their dishes.
  • Chicken ($7.50), Lamb ($9.99), and Veggie Kabob ($7.99) – Marinated in spices and grilled to order, served with lettuce, tomato, rice, and yogurt.
  • Hariyali Roll Double ($7.50) – Chicken breast kabob rubbed with cilantro and mint paste wrapped in a pita with lettuce and house dressing.

For more information, visit kababequeindiangrillaz.com.

Dario Foroutan was Tucson Foodie's spring 2015 intern, covering general news in and around the University area.