Eateries say thank you to vets, active-duty troops with free treats for Veterans Day
By STARS AND STRIPES Published: November 6, 2017
There are many ways to honor former servicemembers on Veterans Day – parades, salutes, all-you-can eat pancakes or a free cup of (G.I.) joe.
To mark Veterans Day on Nov. 11, restaurants around the country are offering free or discounted food. Some offers are strictly for vets; others include active-duty and retired troops. Call ahead to make sure your local places are participating -- and ask what you need to bring to identify yourself. Many will ask for a DD-214 or other proof of service – or you can come in uniform!
Check to make sure what exactly is included in the offers. For example, beverages and gratuities are often not covered at eateries.
Here’s a look at a few meals and deals. All are good Nov. 11 unless otherwise noted. Be aware that the federal government’s observance of Veterans Day falls on Friday, Nov. 10, this year.
And don’t forget the waitstaff -- tips are a good thing every day of the year.
Applebee’s -- Veterans and active duty military receive a free meal from a limited menu that includes double-crunch shrimp and butcher’s meat and potatoes.
Bar Louie – Free flatbread or burger for vets and active duty.
Bob Evans – Veterans and active duty receive free select menu items.
Bombshells Restaurant & Bar – Free meal for veterans, 11 a.m.-2 a.m.; 20 percent discount for active duty and military families. Vets are invited to bring an 8-by-10-inch photo from their service to be included in a Wall of Honor.
Bonanza Steakhouse – Former and current servicemembers get free buffet (beverage not included).
California Pizza Kitchen – Veterans and active military receive a free pizza and beverage Nov. 11 and Nov. 12.
Carrabba’s – All active and retired veterans get a free appetizer.
Chevys Fresh Mex – Build your own three-item combo for veterans and active military. Choose from tacos, enchiladas, chile relleno, tamales or flautas.
Chili’s – Active duty and veterans can choose a free entrée from five options, including chicken bacon ranch quesadillas and chili with salad.
Cicis Pizza – Free pizza buffet with military ID.
Cracker Barrel -- Free slice of Double Chocolate Fudge Coca-Cola Cake to all dine-in veterans.
Denny’s – Build your own Grand Slam breakfast free, 5 a.m.-noon Nov. 10, for former or active duty military.
Dunkin Donuts – Free doughnut for active duty and veterans. One per person.
Fazoli’s – Free spaghetti with meat sauce or marinara for veterans and active military with coupon.
54th Street Grill – Free meal (up to $12) for veterans. Dine-in only.
Firebirds Wood-Fired Grill – Free entrée for veteran or active duty personnel when eating with full-price patron. Available for lunch or dinner Friday, Nov. 10.
Friendly’s -- Free Big-Two-Do breakfast or free burger and fries (lunch and dinner) for veterans and active military.
Golden Corral -- Free buffet dinner and beverage from 5-9 p.m. Nov. 13 for retirees, veterans, active duty, National Guard and Reserves.
Hooters – Veterans and active duty military get a free meal from special menu choices including wings, salad and a burger. Requires a drink purchase. IHOP – Free stack of red, white and blue pancakes from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Nov. 10 for veterans, active duty and retired.
Krispy Kreme – Free doughnut and small coffee to active duty and veterans. No ID required. Check local locations.
Little Caesars – Free lunch combo 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; includes 4 slices of deep-dish pizza and a beverage. Vets and active duty.
Logan’s Roadhouse – Free entrée from a select menu.
Longhorn Steakhouse – Veterans and current service members receive a free appetizer or dessert from a select menu. Check about the 10 percent discount for “eligible customers.”
Macaroni Grill – Free Mom’s ricotta meatballs and spaghetti entrée to vets and active duty.
Max & Erma’s – Free cheeseburger, endless fries and beverage for vets and active duty personnel.
Mission BBQ – Free sandwich and cake to vets and active duty.
O’Charley’s – Vets and active duty get a free meal from the $9.99 menu.
Olive Garden – Free meal from limited menu for vets and active duty. Includes unlimited soup or salad, plus breadsticks.
On the Border – Free meal from “Create Your Own Combo” meal for veterans and active duty military.
Outback Steakhouse – All active and former servicemembers receive a free Bloomin’ Onion and a beverage on Nov. 11. Outback is also offering active and former servicemembers 15 percent off their meals Nov. 12-Dec. 31.
Peet’s Coffee & Tea – Free small coffee or tea on Nov. 11. For troops and vets.
Red Hot & Blue -- Veterans receive a free entrée (up to $10) from Nov. 9-11 with the purchase of a second entrée and two beverages.
Red Lobster -- Veterans, retired and active-duty military personnel receive a free appetizer or dessert from a limited menu that includes lobster pizza and brownie overload.
Red Robin -- Free Red’s Tavern double burger with Bottomless Steak Fries for vets and active duty.
Ruby Tuesday – Free appetizer (up to $10) for vets, active duty and reserves.
Shoney’s -- Free all-you-can-eat breakfast to veterans and active duty servicemembers, 6-11 a.m.
Sizzler -- Active duty and veteran military members get a free meal and beverage from a limited menu through 4 p.m.
Starbucks – Free tall coffee to veterans, active duty and military spouses.
Texas Roadhouse – Free lunch Nov. 11; hours may vary. Choose from 10 menu options, from pulled pork sandwich to sirloin steak. Offer is good for active duty, retired or former U.S. military.
TGI Fridays – Free lunch item (up to $12), 11 a.m.-2 p.m., including the Big Ribs entrée in the half-rack portion.
White Castle – Free breakfast combo or Castle combo meal for veterans and military.
Wild Wings Café – Free meal all day for veterans and active duty personnel.
World of Beer – A free beer (or $5 off a check) for veterans and active duty. Check local location.
Zoe’s Kitchen – Active duty military and veterans get a free meal.