By MC1 Elliott Fabrizio, The Pentagon Channel
Free stuff is not the purpose of Veteran’s Day, but that doesn’t mean you can’t graciously accept some of the offers extended by private businesses to show their appreciation for those who have served in our nation’s armed forces.
This list can help you find the best deals to take advantage of this Veteran’s Day long weekend.
Just to cover myself, this list in no way implies endorsement by The Pentagon Channel or the DoD, but is simply this Sailor’s personal recommendation for great deals.
10. Krispy Kreme: Free Doughnut and Small Coffee (Nov. 11)
This is not meant to be a ranking system. Krispy Kreme is number ten because you should go there first and start off your Veteran’s Day with a delicious free doughnut and cup of coffee. The customer service representative I spoke with estimates that 99 percent of their chains will participate but also recommends calling ahead because Krispy Kreme is a franchise and some may not offer the deal.
9. Outback Steakhouse: Free Blooming Onions and Soda (Nov. 11 & 12)
Outback Steakhouse is opening their hearts to veterans with free blooming onions and soft drinks. Be sure to enjoy this deal in moderation or you may need the help of doctors to re-open your heart- kidding. This offer is good on that Sunday and Monday, and, according to their website, from November 13 to the end of the year, veterans enjoy 10 percent off their entire check. Outback is a strong military supporter and participates in Operation Feeding Freedom that has served more than 207 thousand deployed service members, according to outback.com.
I’m lumping Chili’s and Applebee’s together because their offers are identical. I have done the Applebee’s Veteran’s Day meal and they basically have a special menu with seven meal options. You get one of them free. Drink and tip is not included. I’m not going to knock this deal, but when I go into an Applebee’s I usually want their largest steak dinner with a side of ribs, and you won’t find that on the special offer menu.
6. Denny’s: Free all-you-can-eat pancakes (Nov. 12 from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.)
Denny’s is a name in possessive form like Chili’s and Applebee’s, but its deal is entirely different and entirely pancakes. I love pancakes, but here’s where you’ll run into trouble. All the pancakes you can eat sounds like it’s going to be a lot before you go there, but when you’re there it’s probably going to be around one and a half. A Denny’s press release states that the offer “can be enjoyed alone or as a tasty addition to any meal, offering a hearty start to the day for our nation’s heroes.” When you use this deal be prepared to order some eggs, bacon and coffee al la carte.
5. Sonic Car Wash: Free car wash (Nov. 11)
There are several listings of Veteran’s Day deals that cite a free wash at Sonic Car Wash. Are they referring the Sonic Car Wash in Utah, the Ultra Sonic Car Wash in New York, or the Soft Sonic Car Wash in Virginia? I don’t know for sure. The Utah location definitely offers the free wash, according to their website. The Virginia location said no, and I couldn’t get through to New York. Your best bet is to call whatever car wash is near you, whatever the name, and ask if they offer a Veteran’s Day deal. Best of luck, but my theory is that if you get your car cleaned for free this weekend, it probably rained.
Who said there’s no such thing as a free lunch? This deal is great because it’s quick and easy to claim. Be sure to call ahead if possible because Subway is a franchise, and the owner of the Subway on or right off base may not be able to give out that many free sandwiches.
3. Olive Garden: Free meal with breadsticks and choice of soup or salad (Nov. 11)
Now we’re talking. Like most restaurants offering a free meal there is a special menu; however, at Olive Garden you also get soup or salad and bread sticks. I’m a big fan of soup, breadsticks and an all-around carb enthusiast. I recommend calling ahead just to be sure and make reservations if possible.
2. TGI Friday’s: Free Lunch (Nov. 12 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.)
This is a reminder to stay organized if you’re going to take advantage of some Veteran’s Day offers. Show up at TGI Friday’s for dinner and you’ll look quite foolish, since they are offering a free lunch. It’s going to be awkward. Keep your deals organized and you can visit Subway on Sunday and TGI Friday’s on Monday for two days of free lunches.
1. Golden Corral: Free “thank you” dinner buffet (Nov. 12 from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.)
According to goldencorral.com, all chains participate in this event, and it’s a big one. I’ve witnessed this one from afar, and it’s a crowded affair. You will wait, you will witness breaches of buffet etiquette and you will be compelled to donate. This free meal sets itself apart from the others by also raising money for the Disabled American Veterans organization. According to their website, “To date, Golden Corral restaurants have provided over 3.2 million free meals and contributed more than $6.1 million to the Disabled American Veterans organization.” This is not a ranking, but raising money for disabled veterans gives Golden Corral a special place of honor on this list.
These listed businesses accept various forms of identification including military ID cards, DD214 papers and, for some, even pictures of you in uniform. Save yourself some trouble and call ahead to ensure you have everything you need, the location is participating in the deal and to make reservations if possible.
Happy Veteran’s Day!