Lulu’s is one cheap, delicious meal
Unfortunately most of my friends don’t work in the Mac-Groveland area of St Paul and thus can’t meet me for lunch. Or maybe that’s fortunate, because if this nearby restaurant was more popular, maybe there wouldn’t be this perfect storm of deliciousness and tastiness. First off, let’s play pretend like I’m a restaurant critic…
Lulu’s Market & Deli is fantastic. It used to be this hole of a corner store who’s only worth was that, in case of apocalypse, I could get there quickly and loot it, knowing no one else would be there. About a year ago, it was reborn. Now it’s this quirky quasi-diner complete with a respectable menu (including a couple signature Jucy Lucy’s) and convenience store necessities catering to the predominately college crowd of the neighborhood. I ate here prior to going pescatarian and can attest that it was all good stuff. Lulu’s has struck a good balance between fast food junk and the made from scratch you might expect from a more stand alone restaurant. Even now, I love their falafel pita, their hummus & pita chips readily hit the spot, and they frequently have fish tacos as their special. And men have been murdered for less than the saffron fries with the pink sauce. Plus, at $5 for the falafel pita and fries basket (the platter is $2 more and substitutes fries for a salad and this curried rice with red sauce side), you could easily add some natural winter insulation for super cheap.
But that’s only the start of it. I also have a tendency toward being cheap, and Lulu’s has piqued this side of me. First, Lulu’s has had LivingSocial deals. My office’s standard practice is to buy them when they’re available and then take turns burning through the vouchers as we each treat each other to lunch (3 can easily eat for $9).
But the real gem is that the small incentives in place means you don’t have to wait for the next limited time deal because of three things:
- Lulu’s has a punch card (buy 8 baskets and get the 9th for free)
- Living Social’s takeout & delivery section has a punch card (order online 5 times, get $5)
- Living Social has deal bucks, which can be used on takeout & delivery ($5 bonus each month)
So what does this mean in dollars and cents? Well, let’s take a 12 week period in which you get the falafel pita basket once a week. 12 x ($5 + tax) = ~$64. However, you effectively get 1.375 free from a punch card, $11 off (2.2 free) from ordering online, and what you did pay for online is the equivalent of 20% off. End result ~$36 or $3 per pita basket (that’s with tax included). I have guilt pangs at this price; if someone sells you something at a loss and you’re aware of this, are you bad for buying it? Someone has to be losing money (I kind of hope it’s LivingSocial).
Oh, and did I mention Lulu’s routinely announce specials and do deals on their facebook page? 10% off here, a lunch special there. They’re 2/3 of the way to 1000 fans and have promised something at that milestone.
I don’t know how they’re staying in business.