A roundup of free food and discounts for Veterans Day for those who served

The Red Robin restaurant chain requires veterans who want a free burger as part of its Veterans Day special to sign up as a Red Robin Royalty member by Nov. 5 to qualify.


By STARS AND STRIPES Published: October 29, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has taken hold of Veterans Day, changing the rules, offerings and gatherings to honor those who served. Free food and discounts are still available Nov. 11, but most are for dine-in patrons. Which means you have a decision to make on whether a free burger and fries is worth potential exposure to the virus.

Some offers include takeout and online orders. Some require you to register or join a loyalty program. And a few are handing out vouchers to avoid capacity issues.

Some offers are strictly for vets; others include active-duty and retired troops. Call ahead to make sure your local places are participating — especially with COVID 19 issues — 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.

And don’t forget the waitstaff — tips are good every day of the year, especially during the pandemic.

Food and drink

Applebee’s — Veterans and active duty military receive a free meal from a special menu.

Bakers Square — Free Rise and Shine breakfast for vets and active duty. Dine-in only.

Bar Louie — Free flatbread or burger (up to $15) for vets and active duty.

Bob Evans — Veterans and active duty receive free meal from select menu, including fried chicken, country biscuit breakfast or soup and salad. Dine-in only.

Bonanza Steakhouse — Former and current service members get free buffet (beverage not included).

Bruegger’s Bagels — Free bagel with cream cheese for active-duty, veterans, Reserve and military spouses.

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. — 20 percent off for military personnel and families. Dine-in only.

Buffalo Wild Wings — Free order of 10 boneless wings and fries. Dine-in or takeout.

California Pizza Kitchen – Veterans and active military receive a free pizza and beverage Nov. 11. Dine in-only.

Cattlemens Steakhouse — Current and former military receive a free 8-ounce sirloin steak dinner.

Chicken Salad Chick — free Chick Special and beverage for vets and active duty.

Chili’s — Active duty and veterans can choose a free dine-in meal from a select menu. Dine-in only.

Cicis Pizza — A free adult buffet for veterans and active-duty with a valid military I.D. on November 11. Get coupon here.

City Barbecue — Free sandwich platter with two sides and beverage. Dine-in and carryout. Check out the vouchers available Nov. 11 for your free meal to be redeemable later.

Cotton Patch Café — Free chicken-fried steak or fried chicken.

Country Cookin — Free meal for vets, Reserve and active duty. Dine-in only.

Country Kitchen — Free Country Scramble with pancakes, scrambled eggs with ham and cheese. Dine-in only.

Cracker Barrel — Free slice of Double Chocolate Fudge Coca-Cola Cake, fruit cobbler or apple pie for all dine-in veterans.

Crooked Pint Ale House — Free meal for veterans.

Dunkin’ Donuts — Free doughnut for active duty and veterans. One per person.

Famous Dave’s — Active duty and vets get free chopped pork sandwich and a side. Dine-in, to go and online orders. No call-in orders.

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 and active duty. Dine-in only.

Friendly’s — Free burger, fries and beverage (lunch or dinner) for veterans and active military. Dine-in only.

Glory Days — Free appetizer or boneless or grilled wings for vets.

GO bird (Portsmouth, Va.) — A free chicken sandwich combo for veterans and active duty military from 5-8 p.m. Nov. 11.

Golden Corral — From Nov. 1-30, free meal and beverage cards will be handed out to active duty and vets. Vouchers can be redeemed through May 31, 2021 for lunch or dinner Monday-Thursday.

The Greene Turtle — Free entrée for active duty and vets from 11 a.m.-midnight, up to $14. Dine-in only.

Houlihan’s — Veterans, active-duty and military families get $10 off a $30 food purchase. Dine-in or carryout. Not valid for online or delivery orders.

Huddle House — Free sweet cakes from Nov. 8-11.

Hurricane Grill and Wings — Free entrée from menu of seven items, including Yuengling beer-battered fish and chips or chicken BLT tacos. Dine-in only.

IHOP — Free stack of red, white and blue pancakes or a free breakfast combo from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Nov. 10 for veterans, active duty.

Kolache Factory restaurants — a free breakfast of a kolache and a cup of coffee for all veterans and active-duty military.

Krispy Kreme — Free doughnut and small coffee to active duty and veterans. No ID required.

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.

Living Spaces: The West Coast-based home furnishings retailer will hold a Buy One, Give One event to celebrate Veterans Day. For every purchase of a select Revive product, Living Spaces will donate a mattress to a veteran. This event will take place in-store and online through Nov. 15.  

Logan’s Roadhouse — Free entrée from a select menu from 3-6 p.m.

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.”

Max & Erma’s — Free cheeseburger, endless fries, chocolate chip cookie and beverage for vets and active duty. Dine-in only.

McCormick & Schmick’s — Half-price entrée Nov. 8 from a special menu for vets, Guard and Gold Star parents and spouses. Reservations recommended.

McDonald's (Kansas City, Mo., metro, St. Joseph and Lawrence) — A free apple fritter or blueberry muffin for veterans, active duty military and their families from 6-10 a.m. Nov. 11.

Mission BBQ — Free sandwich to vets.

Nekter Juice Bar — Free 16-ounce smoothie or juice.

O’Charley’s — Vets and active duty get a free meal from its Thank You menu. Dine-in only.

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” for veterans and active duty military with 2 items, including enchiladas, tortilla soup or beef taco. Dine-in only.

Peet’s Coffee & Tea — Free coffee or tea any size for veterans.

Pilot Flying J — Free breakfast and coffee for veterans and active duty from Nov 9-15. Must use the Pilot app to order.

Red Lobster — Veterans, retired and active-duty military personnel receive a free appetizer or dessert from a limited menu that includes crab-stuffed shrimp rangoon and key lime pie. (Dine-in only)

Red Robin — Free Tavern double burger with bottomless steak fries for vets and active duty. Nov. 12-30. Dine in or to-go. Must be Red Robin Royalty member by Nov. 5 to qualify.

Romano’s Macaroni Grill — Free Mom’s ricotta meatballs and spaghetti entrée to vets and active duty. Lunch or dinner.

Ruby Tuesday — Free burger or sandwich for vets, active duty. Dine-in only.

7-Eleven — A free medium hot beverage for Veteran’s Advantage 7Rewards members only on November 11th.

Sheetz — Veterans and active-duty military get a free half turkey sub and a regular drink. Locations that offer car washes will provide a free car wash to vets and active duty.

Shoney’s — Free all-you-can-eat breakfast bar for veterans and active duty service members, 6-11 a.m. Dine-in only.

Sizzler — Active duty and veterans get a free meal and beverage from a limited menu that includes a 6-ounce tri-tip steak through 4 p.m. Dine-in only.

Starbucks — Free coffee to veterans, active duty and military families.

Tap House Grill — Veterans and active-duty military get a free meal. Dine-in only.

Texas Roadhouse — Vouchers for a free meal with military ID will be handed out in restaurant parking lots from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Offer is good for active duty and vets. Vouchers are good through June 2021.

Tohi Aronia Berry Wellness Drinks — One free four-pack for veterans, active duty and reservists. Limit one per person; redeem offer online.

Village Inn — Free breakfast with four items for vets, active duty. Dine-in only.

Wendy's — Free small breakfast combo for veterans and active duty with valid ID, Nov. 11 from 6:30 to 10:30 a.m., at participating locations. Hours may vary.

White Castle — Free breakfast combo or Castle combo meal for veterans and military.

Yard House — Free appetizer for vets, active duty. Dine-in only.

Goods and services

Amtrak Downeaster — 25% off regular adult fare for veterans and active duty on tickets bought between Nov. 10 and Nov. 20 for use by Dec. 31. Reference promo code V483; some restrictions may apply.

Black Rifle Coffee Co. — A 20% discount (plus an additional 10% with an authenticated GovX ID) on BRCC coffee, apparel, and other gear.

Great Clips — Free haircuts for veterans and active duty military.

Maxwell House — Coupons available for a free canister of Maxwell House for Heroes (1 or 3 pounds). Download the coupon starting at noon Nov. 9 from coupon.com. Can be redeemed online or in person Nov. 9-16. No military ID required.

National parks — Starting on Veterans Day, Gold Star families and veterans are eligible for free admission to national parks and other public areas. Details here.

National WWI Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, Mo. — Free admission for veterans and active duty military personnel from Saturday, Nov. 7 through Sunday, Nov. 15. General admission for the public is half-price on Veterans Day.

Office Depot and OfficeMax — 25 percent off qualifying regular and sale purchases in store Nov. 11-13 for veterans, active duty military members, Guard and Reserve and their dependents.

Red Roof — Offers military personnel, both active and retired, a 10% discount with promo code "VP606732"

Silent Professionals — Free access to their job board made for veterans. Go to the website and indicate that you're a veteran during the registration process.

Target — 10 percent military discount in-store and online Nov. 3-11. Details: target.com

World of Coca-Cola (Atlanta, Ga.) — Monday through Thursday, Nov. 2-12, members of the Armed Forces may purchase (online only) up to four general admission tickets at half-price for their friends and family. (Military members get free admission year-round.)


A young admirer talks to veterans at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Veterans Day 2019.