In McKinney, you can find neighborhood restaurants, chef-driven sandwiches, curries and cakes, and more cheap eats. From downtown to strip malls and side streets, no matter where you go, you can find a hidden gem. We’re here to help you look by declaring 2021 the year of the great meal at a steal. These are our five favorite McKinney restaurants for an unforgettable meal under $20.
Patina Green Home and Market
Patina Green Home & Market is one of those rare places where you sit at a table, enjoy a sandwich, take home your leftovers, and if you like it, take home the table too. It’s a family-owned antique store in downtown McKinney. The original owners started selling sandwiches about 10 years ago on a whim, and today it’s known for one of the best lunch spreads in the state.
People come to Patina Green to browse antique cutting boards and colorful salads in to-go containers, taken straight from a local North Texas farm. The daily selection of five sandwiches is dependent on what suppliers delivered that morning. One week, it’ll be melting meatloaf paninis with housemade marinara, roasted squash, and basil chimichurri. The next, they might have pulled pork with pickles and beer cheese, or butternut squash with goat cheese and microgreens, best enjoyed with a cup of their roasted tomato bisque.
116 N. Tennessee St. #102, McKinney | patinagreenhomeandmarket.com
Hutchins is among the highest rated barbecue spots in the state but it’s never lost its hometown charm. Tim Hutchins, pitmaster and self-proclaimed country boy, has been smoking meat at Hutchins BBQ and Catfish for a lifetime. He inherited the art and the name from his father, who sold smoked meat and catfish at roadside stand, and to this day, is credited with the majority of their recipes, like their barbecue sauce and homemade sausage. Brisket, the king of Texas barbecue, is smoked for 18 hours to perfection.
The McKinney location had a fire at the end of 2020. But the team is set for a spring/summer reopening. Further, the Frisco location never shut down at all. Every day, Hutchins BBQ does right by barbecue, churning out brisket, Texas Twinkies, and fried catfish like nobody’s business.
1301 N. Tennessee St., McKinney | 9225 Preston Rd., Frisco | hutchinsbbq.com
Cookie’s Mexican Food
Maria Torres, nicknamed Cuca or Cookie, is the namesake and founder of Cookie’s Mexican Food. She spent her life making and selling food, first in Mexico, and for almost 30 years in Texas, and her kids grew up joining her in the kitchen after school. Today, locals know and love Cookie’s because of homemade tortilla chips, excellent service, and huge burritos.
Cookie’s Mexican Food is responsible for some of the best burritos in the metroplex. Breakfast or lunch—eggs and chorizo, or fajita steak—a Cookie’s burrito is perfection. It comes to the table stuffed with melted cheese, rice and beans that simmer with chipotle flavors, homemade red and green salsa on the side.
330 E. Louisiana St. McKinney | facebook.com/cookiesmexicanfood
Blue Olive Grill
A small restaurant that’s easily missed, Blue Olive Grill has been around for about eight years. Lowkey and uncomplicated, Blue Olive serves a variety of Middle Eastern and Greek specialties, for both limited dine-in and unlimited carryout, at the lowest prices possible.
Blue Olive has a small market, where people browse while waiting for their pickup orders. They’re known for their hot, freshly baked pita bread, and plates like spicy chicken marinated in their homemade chili sauce. Each plate comes with rice, hummus, and feta salad with a tangy yogurt dressing. Regulars return because of their spinach pies and hummus “The Works,” topped with olive tapenade and pine nuts.
At lunch, it’s difficult to beat a gyro, tender rotisserie chicken with their homemade tzatziki sauce or spicy garlic sauce, hot fries, chips or salad. It’s one of the quietest and best cheap eats in McKinney.
2414 W. University Dr., McKinney | blueolivefresh.com
Ogi’s European Deli
Ogi and Dora Stoyanov, a Bulgarian couple, own this McKinney deli that thrives on old family recipes and cheap eats. Together, they’re an ideal team. Ogi has dedicated over 35 years to the lost art of sausage making, and Dora whips up beautiful Napoleon, strawberries and cream, and Black Forest cakes, some of which take two days to complete.
Their daily specials include hard-to-find specialties like Hungarian goulash, and some of the best borscht inside city limits. Of course, all the regulars already know about their Reuben, because it comes heaping with homemade sauerkraut, but for the uninitiated, it bears mentioning.
Order a huge, warm sandwich, paired with a bowl of homemade potato leek soup. With baklava dripping in honey for dessert, it’s hard to imagine wanting more.
1651 W. Eldorado Pkwy., Mckinney | ogisbakery.com
Originally published as part of Local Profile‘s March-April 2021 Eat Great Cheap Guide.