Veterans Day 2021: Deals, freebies on meals for veterans, active-duty military members

The country’s active-duty military members and veterans are being honored Thursday at restaurants across the country with free and discounted meals in recognition of Veterans Day.

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Veterans Day gets it origins from “Armistice Day” on Nov. 11, 1919, the anniversary of the end of World War I.

Seven years later, Congress passed a resolution for an annual observance, and Nov. 11 became a national holiday beginning in 1938.

Restaurants are offering meals and specials on Thursday to celebrate those who have served the country in the armed forces. Below are some of those deals.

(Note: Not every restaurant in a chain may be honoring the deals, so be sure to check with local restaurants to confirm which deals are available before you go. Most offers are dine-in only and can’t be used with any other discount or coupons. Prices may vary with location. To get most deals, proof of service such as a DD-214 or a current military ID is required.)

Food and drink freebies and deals:

Applebee’s: Active-duty personnel and veterans can get a free entree from a special menu on Thursday. Dine-in only. Proof of service required.

BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse: Active-duty personnel and veterans can get a free entree from a special menu on Thursday. Dine-in only. Proof of service required.

Bob Evans: Active-duty personnel and veterans can get a free meal from a special menu featuring seven entrees on Thursday. Dine-in only. Military ID or other proof of service required.

Bonefish Grill: Active-duty personnel, veterans and first responders get 10% off every day at Bonefish Grill with a valid ID.

Buffalo Wild Wings: Active-duty personnel and veterans can get 10 boneless wings and a portion of fries for free on Thursday. Valid for dine-in or takeout, online ordering excluded. Proof of service required.

California Pizza Kitchen: Active-duty personnel and veterans can get a free meal and beverage from a select menu at participating locations on Thursday, Nov. 11, from a select menu. Proof of service is required. A “buy one-get one” card will be given out and will be good for a return visit between Nov. 12-20.

Chicken Salad Chick: Active duty and veterans can get a free Chick Special and regular drink on Thursday with proof of service.

Carrabba’s Italian Grill: Active-duty personnel, veterans and first responders get 10% off every day at Carrabba’s with a valid ID.

Chili’s: Active-duty personnel and veterans can get a free meal on Thursday at participating Chili’s Grill & Bar restaurants. Dine-in only.

Denny’s: Active-duty personnel and veterans can get a free “Build Your Own Grand Slam” from 5 a.m. to noon on Thursday at participating locations. Dine-in only with valid ID.

Dunkin’: Active-duty personnel and veterans can get a free doughnut of their choice on Thursday at participating Dunkin’ restaurants. There is no purchase necessary. The offer is available in-store only and no ID is required. Not available for orders placed using on-the-go mobile ordering through the Dunkin’ Mobile App.

Fazoli’s: Active-duty personnel and veterans can get a free regular spaghetti with meat or marinara on Thursday.

Golden Corral: Active-duty personnel and veterans can get a free meal from 5 p.m. to close on Thursday. Dine-in only.

Hooters: Active-duty personnel and veterans can get a free entrée from the Hooters Veterans Day menu on Thursday. Must present ID or proof of service and purchase a beverage.

IHOP: Active-duty personnel and veterans can get free red, white and blueberry pancakes from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Thursday at participating locations. Dine-in only. Proof of service or ID required.

Little Caesars: Active-duty personnel and veterans can get a free Hot-N-Ready Lunch Combo at participating restaurants from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. on Thursday.

Menchie’s: Active-duty personnel and veterans can get 6 ounces of frozen yogurt for free on Thursday at participating locations. Must show valid military ID or proof of service.

Olive Garden: Active-duty personnel and veterans can get a free entrée with breadsticks and choice of soup or house salad from a select menu Thursday. Dine-in only. Proof of military service is required.

Outback Steakhouse: Active-duty personnel and veterans can get a free Bloomin’ Onion and Coca-Cola product Thursday.

Pilot Company: Active-duty personnel and veterans can get a $10 free meal credit on Thursday. The company is using ID.me to verify eligibility in the myRewards Plus app. After signing up with ID.me, service members will automatically receive a 10% discount on food and beverages when using the app.

Red Lobster: Active-duty personnel and veterans can get a free appetizer or dessert from a special menu on Thursday. Military ID or other proof of service required.

Shoney’s: Active-duty personnel and veterans can get a free “all you care to eat” breakfast bar from opening to 11 a.m. on Thursday. Dine-in only. No purchase required, however, coffee and beverages will be offered at regular prices. There is a limit of one breakfast bar per military member and proof of military service is highly recommended.

Starbucks: Active-duty personnel and veterans can get a free tall (12-oz) hot brewed coffee at participating U.S. Starbucks stores. Offer valid on cafe and drive thru orders only. Limit one per customer.

Texas Roadhouse: The restaurant chain will distribute meal vouchers in the parking lot between 11 a.m.-2 p.m. on Thursday. The vouchers will be valid through May 30, 2022. They can be redeemed for one of 10 entrees, plus a choice of certain drinks. Vouchers can be redeemed when the restaurants open for dinner. Proof of service is required.

White Castle: Active-duty personnel and veterans can get a free Combo Meal (#1- #6) or Breakfast Combo on Thursday. Military ID or proof of service required.