Being a college student usually means buying the least expensive option on a restaurant’s menu because, let’s be honest, we all aren’t making bank just yet. However, this was an exception. Annoyed and tired from a diet of ramen and coffee, I was driving down City Ave wondering: what if I treat myself to some good food?
I started thinking about what could be the most expensive customizable food I could buy from a restaurant close to school. I asked: what’s the most expensive burrito I could buy at Chipotle, or the most elite stirfry I could create at Honeygrow? How much would an all-inclusive pizza at Snap Custom Pizza actually cost?
So, I went on a quest to find out how to be boujee on a budget.
I went with the four restaurants mentioned above: Honeygrow, Sweet Green, Snap Pizza, and Chipotle.
These were my findings.
Food Type: Stir Fry
Grand Total: $41.53
Notes: Honeygrow is a customizable restaurant local to Philadelphia. It was started with the intention of being able to customize locally grown, healthy foods. They specialize in stir fry bowls.
A standard stir fry bowl is $9.79. There are several combinations that are pre-picked. However, you’re able to modify them as much as you like, so the price really can vary based on what you pick.
For example: Spicy Garlic stir fry. It comes with one protein: chicken. Chicken is $2.49. This is mid-range for the price of protein, as egg is the cheapest at $1.79. Shrimp is the most expensive option at $3.99.
I set out to make the most expensive bowl of stir fry Honeygrow offers.
Instead of modifying a pre-picked bowl, I chose to start from scratch. I chose the build your own option, and naturally my plan was to go for the most expensive option for each component of the bowl. However, as I was adding ingredients, I realized there really weren’t any boundaries to what you could add. I added every protein available, and then chose to double it. I did notice, though, that you do get four free toppings and one free garnish. But, it does cost money to add extras.
Additional toppings and garnishes are all a flat price of forty nine cents.
So, my total came out to a whopping $38.45 for ONE bowl of stir fry. And of course, you can’t forget the tax, bringing us to a total of $41.53!
Restaurant: Sweet Green
Food Type: Salad
Grand Total: $25.30
Notes: Sweet Green, founded in Georgetown, DC, has grown into a beloved, nationwide chain. Committed to keeping it real, the restaurant aims to connect communities with healthy and authentic food.
Sweet Green offers pre-picked warm bowls and salads which range from the Winter Squash + Blue Cheese Warm bowl at $8.80 to the OMG Omega salad at $12.95. The rest of the menu falls around $10 for an average option.
Like Honeygrow, I chose the “create your own” path instead of a pre-picked bowl. Since this option only begins at $6.80, I really wanted to challenge myself. Under this customization, you are allowed 2 bases, 10 toppings, 5 premiums, and 3 dressings.
My two bases were organic wild rice and shredded kale. No extra costs were included in this stage. After the first 5 toppings, the last 5 were an extra cost. The toppings were either an extra $1.50 or $2.50 depending on the seasonal option. When I reached the premiums, the price started to significantly rise. I added roasted sesame tofu, steelhead, roasted chicken, citrus shrimp, and avocado. These extra proteins ranged from $2.50 to $4.00, which quickly made my salad bowl $25.30!
Restaurant: Snap Pizza
Food Type: Pizza
Grand Total: $11.12
Notes: Snap Custom Pizza is a new, up and coming restaurant in the Pennsylvania and Delaware area. It’s become popular because of the chain’s quick, customizable options.
The website shows that a custom pizza is only $8.49, with a $2 dollar add on if you get gluten free crust. And that allows a variety of options. This seemed a little sketchy at first. After all, we did get a stir fry all the way up to $41.53.
So, I decided to give them a quick phone call. It turns out that the most expensive you can get is $11.12. So, if you got a gluten free pizza with every sauce, cheese, protein, vegetable, and finishing touch, after taxes, the total truly is $11.12!
This pizza would be truly massive, but worth it. If that isn’t boujee on a budget, I don’t know what else is!
Food Type: Burrito
Grand Total: $19.44
Notes: Chipotle is one of the most famous build-your-own fast food chains in the US. Among us college students, it’s popular for its fantastic guacamole and all-inclusive burritos at a low price, because let’s face it, we’re cheap.
A standard burrito ranges from $7.15 to $8.15 and it includes a selection of meat, rice, beans, and 3 extra toppings which vary from cheese to tomato sauce to sour cream. Because you’re able to customize your burrito however you want, they charge for extra toppings. For example: adding more steak will cost you $3.35 extra, and adding guacamole to your burrito will cost you $2.15.
I wanted my boujee burrito to be the best burrito I had ever eaten. So, I tripled my proteins, doubled my rice, doubled my beans, added queso, and topped it off with some much needed guacamole.
This was the result:
This insane burrito would only be $19.44.
And so, these were the results of my magnificent food quest. After lots of eating and gaining approximately 10 pounds, I can say with all honesty that the winner of this self-imposed challenge was Snap Pizza. The pizza was great quality. It was massive and it tasted like little bits of heaven – and all for less than $12.00, I mean, it really doesn’t get more boujee on a budget than that. The obvious loser was Honeygrow, because although the stir fry was good, it was way too expensive for my college budget. Sweet Green and Chipotle fell in the middle range, but I think we can all agree that all of these other restaurants should be taking a page out of Snap Pizza’s book and adopt the more toppings for less money tactic. Now, I would like to challenge you to go on a food run and try to be the most boujee on a budget you can be. Good luck, and may the food force be with you!