What does $5. get you for lunch? (central Jersey edition)

Someone recently brought up the Brass Rail in Matawan, I remember going there fairly often, especially for business lunches when I would be in the area. Up until about 10 years ago they had a $5. lunch menu, which was generally a half sandwich and soup, something like that.

Perhaps because I used the self-checkout, but when I went to Wawa to get something to tide me over. the price happened to catch my attention. $5.00 even, not that was of any concern to me, but once I picked up the soup, I was very curious. If it wasn’t for the “M” printed on the side I was going to ask if it was my actual order or a mistake, but nope it’s a medium.

My educated guess is this is ONE ladle of soup, for $5. WTF? The crackers are almost the size of the container, when the hell did this happen?

What are your thoughts? Am I just a “boomer” who is losing touch?


Even before the pandemic and inflation, the $5 lunch was disappearing. Pine Tavern had boosted theirs to $5.95, for example. (Now, after their remodel et al, you can’t even see that in the rear view mirror.) If the fast food places still have $1 menus, they are much abbreviated.

If I thought some of that was to improve the staff’s salaries, I wouldn’t mind as much.

I’m still trying to wrap my brain around $5 loaves of ordinary supermarket bread.

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Well, we had lunch at 5Guys the other day and it was thirty $5.


How many people did $150 feed?

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Both of us

I go to Wawa and spend $2.12 on a medium coffee. A $5 lunch is something only seen in dreams anymore.

But what exactly constitutes “lunch”? For arguments sake, let’s say a sandwich, side (chips), and a drink. At my previous job (you know where), you’re at a minimum of $12-13 without enhancements.

And honestly, given the cost of stuff now, if I saw a $5 lunch special advertised I’d be too afraid to eat it!


It’s pretty bad. Seeded semolina loaves I buy whether at Livoti’s or Shop Rite (Brooklyn Bread its called) run from $3.99 to $4.99. I was paying attention to the math the other day, that to just make a grilled chicken sandwich for dinner it costs me nearly $30-- $5 for bread, $10-12 for the smallest pack of Bell & Evans chicken breasts I can find that will be enough for the sandwich, $5-6 for some deli-sliced Provolone, a tomato, and maybe another topping or two. Granted, the two of us eat this sandwich and there’s always cheese leftover for another use but that’s a lot. And we haven’t even added the $4 bag of potato chips yet, also insanity.


EXACTLY - I went to Shop Rite a few weeks ago for a loaf of semolina bread (they actually have an excellent bread selection) $ 4.99 - I also needed a head of lettuce., $3.99 (iceberg) $8.98 for a loaf of bread and 1 head of lettuce, was SHOCKED. $10. more or less for those two items you can’t really call a complete meal.

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So a friend of mine has never been to Harolds & wants to go. I took a look at the menu because my wife is a very picky eater - just to be sure there was something she’d like. At that kind of deli she generally gets a turkey club. With bacon (i know - i know).

Anyway… a turkey club for lunch at Harolds is $109. Im not sure how big a piece of that you csn get for $5