Portsmouth on $40 a Day

Portsmouth has changed a lot since we first moved here in 1992. The downtown area in particular has become a popular destination for food and shopping – not just for locals, but busloads of antique hounds come to town to check out the shops.

So here’s my entry for the Is My Blog Burning? site’s Be Rachael Ray for a Day blog contest mimicking Rachael Ray’s TV program where she finds places for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, all for $40.


For the last year or so, we’ve been going to Waffle World on Western Branch Blvd. frequently; it’s actually in neighboring Chesapeake, but it’s our favorite, so here it is. Interestingly, the current owner of Waffle World used to operate a diner in the location now occupied by our lunch location, below 🙂

This is our exchange student for the year 2004-2005, Hannah Gutdeutsch, after her last breakfast at Waffle World before returning home to Germany in June:

Waffle World

Waffle World is one of those great local places with good food, great service, and reasonable prices, so it’s quite popular. There are lots of choices, such as egg combos, French toast with a variety of toppings, and frittatas, as well as lunch staples like BLTs, tuna or chicken salad, melts, etc.

I like to get the Denver omelet, toast included, $4.95, with a cup of coffee, $1. So there’s $5.95 for breakfast.


My friends and former neighbors Shannon and Tim Woodland own The Daily Grind of Portsmouth, a great coffee house on Portsmouth’s main drag, High Street. They renovated this historic building and live in the three floors above the coffee house.

The Daily Grind of Portsmouth

For lunch, I’d recommend one of the wrap combos for $7.25, which comes with a bag of gourmet chips. A couple of the options are:

  • Roman Turkey – spinach wrap with seasoned turkey, prosciutto, mango chutney, provolone cheese, lettuce, and Italian dressing.
  • Greek Isles – Spinach wrap with hummus, feta cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, Greek olives, and tzatziki sauce.

Add a cup of coffee for $1.40 and you’re set – lunch for $8.65. If you want to splurge on a specialty coffee, you’ll still have plenty left for dinner, so go for it – $3.60 for a mocha cafe. Now you’ve spent $10.85 for lunch, for a total of $16.80.


I’m going to give you a couple of options for dinner, depending on how you want to spend your evening.

You can go to Roger Brown’s Restaurant and Sports Bar, owned by former professional football player Roger Brown, who played for the Detroit Lions and the Los Angeles Rams in the ’60s. With its huge menu and variety of seating options, everyone will find something pleasing. You can sit at a sidewalk table if it’s nice outside, or in a cozy dining room with a fireplace. Or you can sit at one of the hundred or so seats around the 90-foot bar, or at a booth facing the four large screens showing various sporting events, each with its own sound box.

Roger Brown's Restaurant and Sports Bar

A couple of choices for a great dinner at Roger Brown’s are the Home-Style Fried Chicken, with garlic mashed potatoes, bourbon gravy, and braised greens or sauteed vegetables, for $10.95, or the Barbecued Chicken, topped with Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheeses, bacon, tomatoes, and scallions, with mashed potatoes and greens or veggies, also $10.95. Add a glass of wine for $3.50 and you’ve got dinner for $14.45. Add that to the $16.80 you spent for lunch and you’ve eaten well for $31.25. So splurge and have dessert and coffee. You’re in the South, so try the Sweet Southern Bread Pudding for $4.95. With coffee at $1.50, you’re now up to $37.70.

Or you can catch a movie along with dinner at the Commodore Theater, a restored 1940 Art Deco-style movie house. Adult admission is $6 for a dining floor seat at a table equipped with a phone you use to order dinner (balcony seating is also available, but you can only order snacks such as popcorn and candy there). You can also use it to call your babysitter, or another table, since they’re all numbered 🙂

Commodore Theater

I like to start off with a small salad for $2.75, then savor the fish n’ chips – two large pieces of expertly fried cod with a generous portion of crispy-on-the-outside, tender-on-the-inside potato wedges on the side, for $6.75. Add a glass of blush (yes, I like pink wine 🙂 ) for $3.15 and you’ve spent $12.65; add $6 for your admission and you’re up to $18.65 for dinner and a movie – a total of $35.45 for the day. Hey! You’ve got just enough left to get the absolutely decadent hot cinnamon loaf with raisins and icing for dessert. Yum! It’s $3.75, so you’ve spent all but 80 cents of your $40. Cool!

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9 Responses to “Portsmouth on $40 a Day”

  • Sam says:

    Hey Kim
    I love it when people get within a dollar!
    Great idea with the cinema option although I don’t llike raisins in my cinnamon loaf. Do they do them without as well?


  • sarah says:

    hiya! thanks so much for coming out to play in the dine and dish party! hopefully we’ll see you at the next one, too!

    and by the way, i love the design on your blog!

  • nicole says:

    I am a local too, live in the “golden triangle” where Portsmouth, Chesapeake, and Suffolk meet. Love your suggestions – saw them on Becks and Posh’s blog. I used to be a regular at Paddy O’Brian’s (where my husband and I met and I loved the spicy burgers) and Thumpers.

  • KimL says:

    Hey, Sam! Yes, the raisins and icing are both optional on the cinnamon loaf. Come try it sometime 🙂


  • KimL says:

    Hey, Sarah, thanks 🙂 I had fun doing it – I’ll definitely do more dine and dish parties.


  • KimL says:

    Hi, Nicole. Nice to “meet” you 🙂 I like Paddy O’Brien’s, too – love the Ultimate Nachos. They’re the only place I know of that puts rice and black beans on their nachos. Good stuff.


  • Ruth says:

    Kim, Loved it
    Daily grind’s chicken salad wraps are the best.
    Miss you and Dan. Last time I saw you the dog was a new puppy.

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