Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Free Veterans Day Meals

A lot of eateries are thanking veterans by offering free meals or discounts on Veterans Day (Sunday, Nov. 11) or the following day, Nov. 12.
Last year I took my husband, Kim Phillips, out for the free Veterans Day lunch at Applebee's in Bountiful.  I was curious as to what the experience was like, because a lot of times those "free meal deals" are super-crowded and not worth the hassle.  But, we had a good time -- maybe because we went at around 3:30 in the afternoon when it wasn't likely to be busy.
I looked up my post about it, and I was kind of touched by emotion when I mentioned that I was looking forward to taking my dad, Jay Sagers, out to a Veterans Day meal on Veterans Day in 2012. He was a World War II vet.  Unfortunately, my dad passed away on Oct. 11, a month shy of Veterans Day.  We'll be thinking of him. 
I don't know what the experience is like at other restaurants offering Veteran's Day dining, but I suspect you would do well to avoid "rush hours," especially near a military installation such as Hill Air Force Base.

I've compiled a list of free meals and discounts being offered, from press releases, a website, and phone calls to local restaurants. Things to remember:
- In some cases, the decision to participate is up to the individual franchise owner, so you should call ahead or check the company website to verify that the outlet in your particular location is participating and what type of identification is required.
- Required military identification or proof of service may vary. This could include a military I.D. card (active/reserve/retired), current leave and earnings statement, drivers license with veteran designation, photograph in uniform, a veterans organization card such as the American Legion or VFW, or discharge paperwork. Or wear your uniform if your branch of service permits this
- Some of the free meals are offered only to veterans but most include active duty military.
 - Tips are not included in the special offers, so I would tip on what the free meal would have cost you. 
 - Check the dates; since Veterans Day falls on a Sunday, some places are offering their celebration on Monday.
Red Robin: A free Red's Tavern Double burger on Nov. 11 for veterans and active duty military.
Krispy Kreme: A free doughnut on Nov. 11 to active military, retirees and veterans.
Little Caesars Pizza: A free Crazy Bread for veterans and active military at participating stores on Nov. 12.
Sizzler: A free entrée with the purchase of another entrée of equal or lesser value on Nov. 11 for veterans and active military.
Texas Roadhouse: A free lunch chosen from ten different entrees on Nov. 11 for active, retired or former U.S. military.
T.G.I. Friday’s : A free lunch on Nov 12, for all U.S. military personnel and veterans.
The Olive Garden: A free entree from a special menu on Nov. 11 for veterans and active duty military.
7-Eleven: A free small Slurpee on Nov. 11 from 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. for veterans and active duty military.
Lone Star Steakhouse, Monday, Nov. 12, 2012. Free appetizer for veterans and active duty military.
Outback Steakhouse: A free Bloomin’ Onion and a Coca-cola product from Nov. 7-11, available to active duty veterans and military personnel
Applebee’s: A free meal chosen from a selected menu on Nov. 11 for veterans and active military
Chili’s: A free meal from a selected menu, from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on Nov. 11 for veterans and active military.
Denny’s: Free all-you-can-eat pancakes from 6 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 12 for all active military and veterans.
Famous Dave’s: A free meal from a selected menu on Nov. 11 for veterans
Golden Corral:  A free meal on Nov. 12 for any person who has ever served in the United States Military
California Pizza Kitchen: A free individual pizza and non-alcoholic drink on Nov. 11 and Nov. 12, for all veterans and active military.
Einstein's Bagels: A free classic or signature bagel to veterans on Nov. 11.

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