Suggested Dinning on a Tight Budget
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Posted by laufersweiler

If you plan for shelf-stable foods, you don't even need a cooler. A loaf of crusty bread, a summer sausage, a block of cheese, and some apples/grapes/carrots should all be fine at room temp for a few days. I just keep most of it in my room and cut/tear off a day's worth into a zip-lock bag each morning. That goes in the outside pocket of my tote along with some granola bars. Easy peasy.

I also brought a re-fillable water bottle & some vitamin-C powder things to mix into it, both to avoid buying pricay drinks and because 70k people = germs.

I did get food truck food truck sandwiches here and there just to avoid getting burned out on my rations, but that's OK.

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Posted by fethbone

Obviously BYO is hands-down the most affordable option. However, if you don't have the time or inclination to pack a lunch or buy groceries, one thing I suggest is to avoid the food trucks. There may be cheaper options I haven't tried like cheese pizza or maybe getting a solo order of fries or a pretzel or something, but  I feel like when I've done the trucks I always end up spending at least $10-12 for one meal's worth of food while waiting in the blazing sun for 30+ minutes. The Subway is a great suggestion, and if you're OK with fast food in general, $10-12 will get you a lot more food than a food truck meal. If fast food is no bueno, you could go to, say, PF Chang's, get a water and order a Buddha's feast that comes with a bunch of rice for around $11 and likely get two (healthier) meals out of that. 

As far places open late besides Steak n Shake, off of Meridian street Kilroy's, Brothers, Claddagh, and Punch Bowl Social are all open till 3AM and serve food, though I don't know if the kitchen closes earlier. None of these are particularly cheap, though.

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Posted by stepamilewski fethbone

fethbone wrote:
Obviously BYO is hands-down the most affordable option. However, if you don't have the time or inclination to pack a lunch or buy groceries, one thing I suggest is to avoid the food trucks. There may be cheaper options I haven't tried like cheese pizza or maybe getting a solo order of fries or a pretzel or something, but  I feel like when I've done the trucks I always end up spending at least $10-12 for one meal's worth of food while waiting in the blazing sun for 30+ minutes. The Subway is a great suggestion, and if you're OK with fast food in general, $10-12 will get you a lot more food than a food truck meal. If fast food is no bueno, you could go to, say, PF Chang's, get a water and order a Buddha's feast that comes with a bunch of rice for around $11 and likely get two (healthier) meals out of that. 
As far places open late besides Steak n Shake, off of Meridian street Kilroy's, Brothers, Claddagh, and Punch Bowl Social are all open till 3AM and serve food, though I don't know if the kitchen closes earlier. None of these are particularly cheap, though.
Kilroys is probably the cheapest out of those options.

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Posted by stepamilewski ytuni

ytuni wrote:
I cannot find an outside food policy on the ICC's website nor on GenCon's so I assume that it's okay so long as eating it doesn't disturb other convention goings on. My husband and I eat at the mall food court mainly because we park in the garage there so it's easiest to drop off purchases/refill water bottles/get Pepsi bottles from the car and then eat before heading back to the ICC. Gen Con is essentially our vacation for the year so we don't mind splurging a little to eat out while we're there.
The only thing ICC frowns upon is large coolers. Security will not allow them in the building because they are a safety hazzard. But outside food seems to be ok. During the winter I will sometimes bring my lunch to the convention center for a change of scenery during my lunch break.

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Posted by mbeauparland stepamilewski

stepamilewski wrote:
ytuni wrote:
I cannot find an outside food policy on the ICC's website nor on GenCon's so I assume that it's okay so long as eating it doesn't disturb other convention goings on. My husband and I eat at the mall food court mainly because we park in the garage there so it's easiest to drop off purchases/refill water bottles/get Pepsi bottles from the car and then eat before heading back to the ICC. Gen Con is essentially our vacation for the year so we don't mind splurging a little to eat out while we're there.
The only thing ICC frowns upon is large coolers. Security will not allow them in the building because they are a safety hazzard. But outside food seems to be ok. During the winter I will sometimes bring my lunch to the convention center for a change of scenery during my lunch break.
It's a bit of a crap shoot... I've been told by security that I couldn't have outside food in the ICC and asked to leave. I've also brought food back for ourselves and the GM during an eight hour game and no one batted an eye.

I'd be surprised if there isn't a policy against outside food and beverages, otherwise the ICC couldn't sell $5 Cokes and $6 pretzels. But ultimately it does seem to be laxly enforced...

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Posted by lilyjade mbeauparland

mbeauparland wrote:
stepamilewski wrote:
ytuni wrote:
I cannot find an outside food policy on the ICC's website nor on GenCon's so I assume that it's okay so long as eating it doesn't disturb other convention goings on. My husband and I eat at the mall food court mainly because we park in the garage there so it's easiest to drop off purchases/refill water bottles/get Pepsi bottles from the car and then eat before heading back to the ICC. Gen Con is essentially our vacation for the year so we don't mind splurging a little to eat out while we're there.
The only thing ICC frowns upon is large coolers. Security will not allow them in the building because they are a safety hazzard. But outside food seems to be ok. During the winter I will sometimes bring my lunch to the convention center for a change of scenery during my lunch break.
It's a bit of a crap shoot... I've been told by security that I couldn't have outside food in the ICC and asked to leave. I've also brought food back for ourselves and the GM during an eight hour game and no one batted an eye.I'd be surprised if there isn't a policy against outside food and beverages, otherwise the ICC couldn't sell $5 Cokes and $6 pretzels. But ultimately it does seem to be laxly enforced...
Technically the ICC has a no outside food and drink policy during events since they have on site food service as well. That said, most staff won't say a word if you are being reasonable about it and not making a mess or causing problems. They know it would be impossible to feed everyone at the Con with their offerings. They also know that people are working long hours or playing long hours. They don't want to peeve people off because of how much money Gen Con brings to the city. (Source: People who work at the ICC that I know as I am local as of last year when I asked said people about it due to the number of food restrictions I have.)

I budget $30 per day for food. I bring something for breakfast that I eat as soon as I get to the ICC, I will also carry some snacks for a fast pick me up, and I have a reusable water bottle. This means I am normally only buying food for lunch and dinner. So as long as I keep it under $15 a meal, I am good.

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Posted by stepamilewski

There's a new Thai rolled ice cream place that opened up in the food court! Very exciting and highly recommended if you have never tried it!

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Posted by austicke stepamilewski

stepamilewski wrote:There's a new Thai rolled ice cream place that opened up in the food court!

Oooh, I'm so there!

_____________________________________
Alec Usticke, Fans of Gen Con Facebook Group

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Posted by bluemax

Keep an eye on Groupon and/or Living Social, one year I found certs for both a sports bar down by the Pacers stadium, and the sports bar in the JW, both great deals and great places

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Posted by steffles

We pack lunches and eat breakfast at hotel for free.  That said, rather than thinking about eating on a budget, think about not wasting a ton of time looking for food options in the middle of the day.  We stopped going out for lunch (and breakfast) years ago.  We did that not to save money but to save time!  We felt it sucked leaving in the middle of the day to get food (and we don't like the convention center food at all) - it was too time consuming.  We pack sandwiches and snacks and it is really satisfying and we don't feel we are losing precious gaming time.  We do eat dinners out...but not always fancy and not always expensive. 

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