TNT Diner

60 things under $7. Here’s where to eat cheaply at the Washington State Fair

The hamburger with grilled onions from Bernie’s Burgers at the Washington State Fair.
The hamburger with grilled onions from Bernie’s Burgers at the Washington State Fair. skidd@thenewstribune.com

Reader complaint No. 73,638: Fair food costs too much.

My generous benefactor, Uncle News Tribune, picks up the substantial tab for my food touring at the Washington State Fair, but I do look at the receipts.

You’re right. Fair food is spendy.

Here’s where I can be helpful. I traversed every corner of the fairgrounds looking for the best bargains to help your visit and your budget.

Would you believe I easily found 60 items priced under $7?

Did you know that crunchy beef tacos are one of the better deals at about three bucks?

That you can get a hot dog for $2.90 at the Bernie’s Burgers stands?

And did you know that a taffy bar, popcorn ball and peanuts can all be had for a grand total of $5.50?

Here’s proof. Read about the best fair food bargains below.

Tip: Visit this website link — bit.ly/2QmsIKM — to see a photo of just about every menu of every food booth at the Washington State Fair. That’ll help you plan what to eat and where at the fair, which runs through Sept. 23.

Nielsens Fair taffy.jpg
Find the taffy and popcorn stands throughout the Washington State Fair. Sue Kidd skidd@thenewstribune.com

DESSERTS

Target budget: $5 and below

Taffy booth bonanza: Find $1.25 taffy bars at Fair Time Taffy Booths throughout the fairgrounds. Those booths turn out to be the best bargains at the fair with the $1.25 bar in 10 flavors and $2.25 for a sack of wrapped taffy candy in a dozen flavors. The taffy is made at the location under the grandstand. Hot-roasted peanuts are just $1.25. Popcorn balls are $3. Caramel corn is $4.50. Try this year’s new taffy flavor, huckleberry. My heart belongs to the buttered popcorn taffy, though.

Fair Time Taffy menu 2
Find the Fair Time Taffy stands at a few locations around the fairgrounds. skidd@thenewstribune.com Sue Kidd

Scones: $1.75 each at Fisher Scone wagons throughout the fairgrounds.

Doughnut holes: $2 for six at Original House of Donuts trailer ($1.50 to $4 for other doughnuts).

Kids ice cream cone: $2.75 kids cone at the ice cream and Nut Dip Bar booths throughout the fair.

Nanaimo Bar: $3 at the Young Life booth by the Blue Gate.

Doughnuts: $3.50 at Bump N Run Espresso by the Orange Gate.

Nut dip bar lede Washington State Fair.jpg
Find chocolate-and-nut dipped ice cream bars throughout the fairgrounds. Sue Kidd skidd@thenewstribune.com

Nut Dip Bars: $3.75 at booths throughout the fairgrounds and Lulu’s Dairy Bar.

Cow chip cookies: $4 for the cow chip, nutty cow or horse chip cookies at Cow Chip Cookies booths throughout the fairgrounds.

Shaved ice: $4.25 at the Funnel Cake Booth by Kaleenka Piroshky.

Slush: $4.25 at the Fresh Made Waffle Cones booths.

Soft-serve cones: $4.50 at Fresh Made Waffle Cones booth, $4 at Lulu’s Dairy Bar; $4.78 at the Cool Treats booth inside the Village restaurant building.

Hand-scooped cones: $5 for Umpqua ice cream at Marcoe’s booths.

Sno-cones: $4.55 at the Cool Treats booth inside the Village restaurant building.

Deep-fried butter: $5 for a five-piece at Duris Fried Butter booth.

Root beer floats: $5 at the Nut Dip Bar ice cream booths throughout the fairgrounds, plus Lulu’s Dairy Bar.

Cotton candy cone: $5 at the Cotton Candy & Lemonade booths.

Real-fruit smoothies: $5 at the smoothie and coffee stand by the Crepe Chalet.

Slushies: $5 you-fill-it slushies at the Slushy World stand in Sillyville.

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The fair burger from Hamburger Myers at the Washington State Fair. Sue Kidd skidd@thenewstribune.com

BURGERS

Target budget: $7 and below.

Multiple locations: $6.25 for a burger with grilled onions at all Bernie’s booths ($6.75 with cheese). $6.75 for an onion fair burger at all Marlowe’s booths.

Food Court building: My favorite stop for an onion burger is Hamburger Myers stand in the Food Court building. Staffers will pile your burger as high as you like with fried onions, $6.25. It’s also $6.25 for a hamburger at Kay’s Kitchen in the Food Court building ($6.50 with cheese).

Sillvyille: $7 for a hamburger at the Hamburgers & Hot Dogs stand.

Stop-n-Go: $6.50 for a hamburger or onion burger at Stop-n-Go booth near the Showplex.

SANDWICHES

Target budget: $7 and below.

Grilled cheese: $2.75 at Whistle Stop in Sillyville or $5 at Louie’s Place in the Food Court building.

Hot sub: $6.50 hot sub sandwich at Evano’s booth by Blue Gate. Warning, they were out on my visit.

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A crunchy beef taco at Mo’s Fresh Mex Kitchen at the Washington State Fair. Sue Kidd skidd@thenewstribune.com

PIZZA BY THE SLICE AND TACOS

Target budget: $5 and below.

Tacos: $2.73 crunchy beef tacos at Fiesta Mexicana inside the Village Restaurant building. $2.75 chicken or beef crunchy taco at Mo’s Fresh Mex Kitchen

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A slice of cheese pizza from Aronica’s Pizza inside the Fair Food Court building. Sue Kidd skidd@thenewstribune.com

Pizza slices: $3 cheese slices at Aronica’s stand in Food Court building ($3.50 pepperoni). $3.75 pizza slices at Whistle Stop Pizza in Sillyville. $3.95 cheese, pepperoni or Hawaiian slices at Evano’s by the Blue Gate. $4.50 cheese pizza slice at Pizza window at Village Restaurant building ($5 for pepperoni).

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The Bernies hot dog was among the cheapest at the fair at $2.90. Sue Kidd skidd@thenewstribune.com

HOT DOGS

Target budget: $5.50 and below.

Bernie’s: $2.90 plain hot dog at all Bernie’s Burgers stands ($5.50 for chili-cheese dog).

Food Court building: $4 regular plain hot dog at Duke’s. $4 regular plain hot dog at Kay’s Kitchen.

Burger Palace stand: $5 plain hot dog.

Sillyville: $3.75 plain hot dog at Whistle Stop Pizza stand and $2.75 for mini corn dogs. $5 plain hot dog at the Hamburgers & Hot Dogs stand.

Corn dog: $5.46 for a Krusty Pup at Sales Family booths.

Spuds fair fries.jpg
A $3.50 order of fries from Spud’s is among the best deals for fries at the Washington State Fair. Bonus: The stands have all-you-can-pump tartar sauce and ketchup. Load up. Sue Kidd skidd@thenewstribune.com

FRIES

Target budget: $5 and below.

Sillyville: $2.75 for regular tots at Whistle Stop Pizza ($3.99 for large).

Food Court building: $3.75 for fries at the Hamburger Myers booth. $4 skins-on fries at the Duke’s booth. $4 for shoestring fries at Louie’s Place. $4 for fries at Kay’s Kitchen.

Blue Gate: $4.50 for hand-cut fries at Butch’s Better Burger. $4.95 for fries at the Mad Greek Gyros booth. $4.99 for two orders at the 2-for-1 Burgers booth.

Near Village Restaurant building: $4.96 for regular order at Bacon! Bacon! Bacon and Exotic Meats booths.

Multiple locations: $3.50 small fries at both Spud’s locations ($4.50 for large). $4 seasoned twisters at all Bernie’s Burgers ($5 for jumbo). $4.50 for fries at all Marlowe’s booths.

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Street corn from Murph’s, a barbecue booth, at the Washington State Fair. At Murph’s, street corn can be doctored any way a diner wants with crushed cereals, chips, parmesan cheese, mayonnaise and a number of other flavorings. Sue Kidd skidd@thenewstribune.com

ROASTED CORN

Target budget: $6 and below.

$5 plain at Juicy’s Outlaw Grill by the Blue Gate.

$5.46 plain at Totally Shucked by the Village Restaurant building.

$5.46 at BBQ Pete’s stand by the Paulhamus arena.

$6 plain at Murph’s on the Midway.

Sue Kidd: 253-597-8270, @tntdiner
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