Dollars & Sense columnist John Ewoldt searches the Twin Cities and beyond for bargains and strategies to spare you time, money and hassles.
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Posts about Restaurant Bargains

Half-price slice of cheesecake at Cheesecake Factory today

Posted by: John Ewoldt Updated: July 30, 2012 - 9:00 AM


The Cheescake Factory in Southdale (Edina, 952-653-3333) is participating in the national "any slice half-price" promotion today only, Monday, July 30. You can choose from 35 flavors, including the debut of the Oreo Dream Extreme. (The cheesecakes are on pp. 13-14 of the online menu.) The Edina restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. today,


The online promo says that the half-price slice is only valid for dine-in service, but an employee who answered the phone at the Edina location this morning said that take out is also allowed. Still, it's one slice per person. In other words, we can try to place a take-out order for our "family of four," but only one slice will be half-price. A slice of cheesecake is about $7 to $8 before the discount.


Hooters and other restaurants offer Mom a free meal on Mom's Day

Posted by: John Ewoldt Updated: May 11, 2012 - 2:47 PM


Mother's Day is the busiest day of the year for restaurants when most moms catch a break from kitchen duty. The following Twin Cities area restaurants are offering price breaks for moms.

 Hooters (Mall of America, 952-854-3110) is offering Mom 10 free boneless chicken wings (an $8.95 value) on Sunday.

Ikea (across from Mall of America, 952-858-8088) offers a free breakfast until 11 a.m. Sunday, including scrambled eggs, bacon, potatoes and cup of coffee, a $1.74 value. 

 Beef O Brady's (Andover, Monticello, Northfield). Mom gets a free entree (up to $10 value) all day Sunday at this family friendly sports pub.

Tony Roma's (Mall of America, 952-854-7940). Moms get a free entree (up to $15) with this coupon. If mom's a big fan of Tony Roma's Endless Slab, steer her to something else. The coupon isn't valid on the Slab. Note: the free offer is not valid without the coupon.  

Champps (nine Twin Cities locations including Woodbury, 651-735-5050). Mom can come in any time Friday through Sunday (May 11-13) and get a card entitling her to $10 off a $25 purchase on the first of every month (while supplies last).

If you know of other restaurant deals on Mother's Day, please comment.


Free IHOP pancakes Tuesday, plus hardware and Disney on Ice discount

Posted by: John Ewoldt Updated: February 27, 2012 - 11:29 AM


Mark your calendar or set your alarm. IHOP restaurants (11 Twin Cities locations) will be offering a free short stack of

pancakes (3  large buttermilk pancakes, a $4.99 item) between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 28.


In return diners will be asked to make a voluntary donation to support the Children's Miracle Network at Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare in St. Paul. (The designated charity varies in other parts of the country.) IHOP has raised more than $8 million for charities nationwide since it started the program in 2006.

And  it's being offered all day long, so the crush of customers can be spread throughout the day.  

One unrelated bargain tip: Menards in Richfield (612-798-0508) has now increased its storewide discount to 20 percent during its closing for remodeling sale. About the time that the Richfield location closes, the newly remodeled Golden Valley store is supposed to open March 13.

One final tip:Goldstar is offering discounted seats to Disney on Ice Dare to Dream on March 2, 3, 4. Tickets are normally $22 but are currently discounted to $16.50 (including fees).You need to register if you're a new Goldstar

customer but it's free to register.


Free food for kids and fast food deals for adults

Posted by: John Ewoldt Updated: January 11, 2012 - 9:22 AM

Dealspotter Jason Stewart found a good deal at Dickey's Barbecue (10 Twin Cities suburban locations). Kids under the age of 12 eat free every day now through February. Choose a meat plate or sandwich plate or Dino Bites nuggets and a drink. The offer is limited to only one free meal no matter how many adults.

I spotlight Dickey's, not only because Stewart was nice enough to share it, but also because it's a temporary offer. (Dickey's offers kids' free meals year round but limits the day sometimes.) Parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles know that so many restaurants have "kids eat free" deals that there are too many for an article devoted to them. Now, I can point instead to websites that keep track of them.

I don't know how well the websites keep the info updated, however. Restaurants change their deals frequently, so always call or check the restaurant's website to confirm. Here's a list of a few of the kids eat free websites. Many are nationwide, so check them when traveling too. The sites also indicate if the deal is good all day or just lunch or dinner.

Twin Cities Fun: Lists 19 restaurants and lists them by the day of the week. Four restaurants are listed for Wednesday deals.

My Kids Eat Free: A national site; you choose a state and then a city. The site lists 38 Minnesota cities.

Kids Eat Free Places: A national site; you choose a state and then a city. Twenty-nine restaurants are listed in the Twin Cities.

Kids Meal Deals: A national site; you input your zip code for a list. For Wednesdays, the site lists 15 restaurants with free kids meals in or near Minneapolis.

What good sites am I missing?

USA Today listed several fast food bargains recently:

Taco Bell: Beefy Crunch Burrito has been brought back for 99 cents for a limited time.

Wendy's: 99 cent value menu including a 2.25 ounce Cheesy Cheddarburger

KFC: $11 weekend buckets promo with 10 pieces of chicken on Saturdays and Sundays in January. The buckets are normally $15.

Pizza Hut: $10 any pizza deal.

Papa John's: Any large pizza, including specialty pizzas, for $11

Burger King: A coupon booklet with $40 worth of food and drink coupons was mailed out recently. You can also pick them up at the restaurant while supplies last. The BK on Stinson Boulevard in Minneapolis had about 10-15 left on Wednesday morning.

Know of other fast food deals going on now? Share away.

42 Veteran's Day deals for vets

Posted by: John Ewoldt Updated: November 11, 2011 - 8:59 AM

On Veteran's Day today there are plenty of deals for veterans. Just remember that most require military I.D. or proof of service.

Please add any others you don't see on the list. Thanks. John

Theater Latte Da offers vets a savings of more than 50 percent on tickets to its Christmas classic "All is Calm." It's a story of the Christmas Truce of 1914 on the Western Front. Out of  the violence comes a silence, then a song. A German soldier steps into No Man's Land singing Stille Nacht. It begins an extraordinary night of cameraderie, music and peace. Tickets are normally $27.50 to $35 each but veterans pay only $12.50. Call 1-800-982-2787 and ask for the military discount or stop at the State Theatre box office.

A.C.E.S. Flight Simulation at the Mall of America is offering a free 30 minute flight simulation plus a 10 minute pre-flight training briefing, featuring eight flight simulators (F-18 jet fighter, P-51 Mustang, F4U Corsair and British Spitfire).


 Treasure island Resort & Casino offers a free buffet anytime Friday at the Tradwinds Buffet (1-800-222-7077, ext. 2640). You must be a Passport Club member but it's free to join and you can join on the spot.

Grand Casino in Mille Lacs and Hinckley are also offering a free buffet. Check hours of service.

Classic Cadillac Diner (7090 21st Av. S., Lino lakes, 651-294-2096) is offering 25 percent off the check for the veteran AND his or her family all day. 

Texas Roadhouse (2780 Main St. NW, Coon Rapids, 763, 862-3389) will have one free entree plus a free non-alcoholic drink from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday. Choose from among nine entrees (sides included).

Sleep Number is giving away a cotton travel pillow to military personnel visiting any Sleep Number store Friday.  Additional discounts are available on beds and accessories in the store.


From Coupon Sherpa: 
Free album - through Nov. 11
Applies to: Everyone
Download a free MP3 album of “Veterans Day Honor,” which includes 12 songs performed by military bands and ensembles.

Anheuser-Busch Parks 
Free admission - Nov. 11
Applies to: Active-duty service members
Free admission with up to three dependents for such parks as Sesame Place, SeaWorld and Busch Gardens.

Free meal - Nov. 11
Applies to: Veterans and active-duty military personnel
For the third year, Applebee’s offers a special dine-in-only menu for Veterans Day.

Bed & Breakfasts 
Free night’s stay - Nov. 11
Applies to: Active military and veterans and one guest
For the third year, B&B for Vets is offering veterans a free night's stay at more than 485 participating bed and breakfasts across the U.S. and Canada.

Cabela’s Outdoor Store
Employee discount of 5% to 50% - Nov. 11 to12
Applies to: Veterans, active-duty military and reserves, law enforcement, fire and EMS personnel

Free meal - 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Nov. 11
Applies to: Active duty and veterans
Chili’s is offering a choice of one of six meals on a dine-in-only basis. Beverages and gratuity not included.

Colonial Williamsburg 
Free admission - Nov 11 to 13
Applies to: Active-duty, retirees, veterans, Reserves and their immediate dependents
Tickets are only available on-site.

Free Grand Slam breakfast - Nov. 11
Applies to: Active military or veterans
Available only at participating locations.

Dollar General 
10% discount - Nov. 11
Applies to: Active-duty, veterans, National Guard, Reserves, and immediate family members
No coupon is required for in-store savings, but use the promo code VETERANSDAY for online discounts from Nov. 11 to 13.

Famous Dave’s 
Free or discounted meal - Nov. 11
Applies to: Active military and veterans
Offer varies by location.

Golden Corral
Free meal - 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Nov. 14
Applies to: Active military, veterans, National Guard or Reserves
The 10th annual Golden Corral Military Appreciation dinner will be held at all Golden Corral Restaurants nationwide.

Grace For Vets
Free car wash - Nov. 11
Applies to: Active duty, veterans and service personnel
Since 2004, thousands of car-wash businesses have participated in this national event, sponsored by Grace For Vets.

Historic Jamestowne 
Free admission - Nov. 11 to 13
Applies to: Everyone

Home Depot 
10% discount - Always available
Applies to: Active duty, veterans, Reserves and their families

10 free wings (Drink purchase required) - all day, Nov. 11
Applies to: Active duty and veterans
Offer valid only at participating Hooters.

Free breakfast buffet - Nov. 11
Applies to: Active military and veterans
Available at participating Hy-Vee grocery store with in-store dining.

Knott's Berry Farm 
Free admission - Nov.1 to 24
Applies to: Active military and veterans plus one guest

Krispy Kreme
Free doughnut - Nov. 11
Applies to: Active duty and veterans
Available only at participating Krispy Kreme stores.

10% discount - Always available
Applies to: Active-duty servicemen and women, National Guard, Reserves, honorably discharged and retired military personnel, and immediate family members
Good for in-stock or special order purchases, up to $5,000. (Not available online.)

15% off - through Nov. 13
Applies to: Everyone

McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurants 
Free lunch or dinner entrée - Nov 13
Applies to: Veterans
This is the 13th Annual Veteran’s Appreciation Event at McCormick & Schmick’s.

National Parks 
Free admission - Nov. 11-13
Applies to: Everyone
Over 100 national parks will participate and many have special events planned to mark the occasion.

Outback Steakhouse
Bloomin’ Onion and Coke - Nov. 7 to 11
Applies to: Veterans and active-duty military

San Jacinto Monument and Museum, La Porte, Texas
Free admission - Nov. 7 to 13
Applies to: Veterans and their families
Free admission to the theatre, Observation Floor and, on Nov.12-13. the special exhibit.

Red Roof Inns
26% off room rate - Nov. 11
15% off - rest of November
Applies to: Veterans, active and retired military
Use code "604287" when booking to get the discount.

Sam’s Club
Free Hugo® cane - Nov. 9 to 11
Applies to: Military veterans in need of mobility assistance
As they do every year, Sam's Club stores across the country will distribute 36,000 Hugo® canes. Sam's Club membership is not required, but proof of service is. Available while supplies last; limited quantities per store.

5% to 15% off almost everything - through Nov. 10
Applies to: Everyone
Applies only to sales through

Free small Slurpee - 11.m. to 7 p.m., Nov. 11
Applies to: Active military and veterans

Spaghetti Warehouse 
11-cents meal with coupon - Nov. 11
Applies to: Everyone
Print the coupon here and get a serving of lasagna, spaghetti and meatballs, or any original recipe spaghetti entree for just 11 cents.

Sport Clips
Discounts on haircuts -  Nov. 11
Applies to: Active duty and veterans

Free six-inch sub - Nov. 11
Applies to: Veterans
SUBWAY restaurants are franchises, so this offer may not be available everywhere.

Texas Roadhouse
Free lunch - 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Nov. 11
Applies to: Veterans and active duty military
Dine-in only.

TGI Fridays 
Buy an entrée and get a second entrée free - Nov. 11
Applies to: Active duty military and veterans

Twin Peaks Restaurants 
Free entrée, up to $10 - Nov. 11
Applies to: Active duty and veterans
Dine-in only and a tip is not included.

Tim Hortons
Free donut - Nov. 11
Applies to: Veterans

UNO Chicago Grill
19.43% discount on food and non-alcoholic drinks - Nov. 11
Applies to: Veterans





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