[This is an old story. Click here for an updated post about where veterans can eat for free on Veterans Day this year.]
To thank members of the military past and present for their service, food and drink are on the house all over the country on Veterans Day 2015, which takes place on Wednesday, November 11. Before getting to the bars and restaurants offering freebies, let us also point out that they're not the only deals available to military service personnel.
Among the non-food freebies, Great Clips is giving anyone who gets a haircut on November 11 will receive a card that a veteran or active-duty military service member can later use for a free haircut; UFC Gyms are giving free gym access to those with military ID and their families from November 11 to 15; Meineke offers free oil changes with military ID on Veterans Day; and national park admission is free for everyone on November 11.
As for free food and drink, check out the list below. Unless otherwise stated, the offers are valid on November 11 only. In all cases, be sure to bring ID with proof of status as a current or former member of the military. Happy Veterans Day!
Read next: The Veterans’ Guide to Financial Success
Applebee's: Vets and active-duty military can have their pick from a special menu with options like three-cheese chicken penne, 7-oz. sirloin, and double crunch shrimp, free of charge (beverage and gratuity are not included).
Bob Evans: Hotcakes, brioche French toast, and the country biscuit breakfast are among the options available to veterans and active-duty military in a special free menu.
Bonefish Grill: Customers with military ID get a free order of Bang Bang Shrimp on Veterans Day.
California Pizza Kitchen: A special Veterans Day menu that includes pizza, salad, and pasta is free for vets and active-duty personnel.
California Tortilla: Show a military ID and get one free taco.
Charlie Brown's Steakhouse: Veterans and active-duty military get a free choice of entrees and a non-alcoholic beverage, plus a coupon good for a $10 credit on a future visit.
Cheeseburger in Paradise: An All American Burger with fries is free of charge to those with military ID.
Cracker Barrel: Grab a free dessert—the Double Chocolate Fudge Coca-Cola Cake—if you're a veteran.
CraftWorks: Active-duty military and veterans are welcomed to a free craft beer—or, if that's illegal locally, an appetizer on the house—at this brewery and restaurant group with nearly 200 locations around the country.
Denny's: From 5 a.m. to noon, all veterans and active-duty personnel get a Build Your Own Grand Slam meal, with possibilities including pancakes, eggs, bacon, fruit, and hash browns.
Friendly's: Participating locations are giving veterans and active military a free Big-Two-Do combo meal for breakfast, or free All American Burger with fries and a drink for lunch or dinner.
Golden Corral: From 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., anyone who has ever served in the U.S. military is welcomed to a special sit-down dinner, free of charge.
Hooters: All veterans and active-duty military personnel get an entrée on the house.
Hurricane Grill & Wings: All veterans and active military get a free meal from a special menu, as well as a non-alcoholic beverage.
IHOP: From 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., all veterans and active-duty military members are welcomed to one order apiece of Red, White & Blue Pancakes, which come with glazed strawberries (red), blueberry compote (blue), and whipped cream (white.)
IKEA: From November 8 to 11, show military ID in an IKEA cafeteria for a free entrée (value up to $9.99).
Krispy Kreme: When ordering, say that you are a veteran or active-duty military (no ID required), and you'll get a free donut and a free coffee.
Krystal: Free breakfast, in the form of a chicken or sausage biscuit, is on the table for vets and active military from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m., and after 11 a.m. all customers get pups or corn pups for 50¢ apiece, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Armed Services YMCA organization.
Little Caesars: Vets and active military can help themselves to a free, $5 Hot-N-Ready lunch combo, including four pizza slices and a 20-ounce beverage, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at participating locations.
LongHorn Steakhouse: Show military ID and get a free Texas Tonion appetizer and non-alcoholic beverage.
McCormick & Schmicks: This seafood and steak chain is honoring veterans and active military not on Veterans Day but on Sunday, November 8, with a choice of free entrees including tender beef medallions, salmon rigatoni, or blackened chicken fettuccine.
O'Charley's: On Monday, November 9, veterans and active military can make a selection for free off the $9.99 menu, which includes chicken fried steak and bayou shrimp pasta. As for Veterans Day itself, customers with a military ID who purchase an entree get a free slice of pie for dessert.
On the Border: A free "Create Your Own Combo" featuring a selection of tacos, salads, enchiladas, and more (max value: $10.79) is available to all veterans and active military.
Olive Garden: Customers with military ID get a free entrée such as chicken parmigiana, lasagna, or cheese ravioli, with unlimited soup or salad and breadsticks, and family members joining a veteran or active military member at the table get 10% off on Veterans Day.
Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt: All vets and active-duty personnel get a free 11-ounce frozen yogurt.
Outback Steakhouse: Customers with military ID get a free Blooming Onion appetizer and free beverages on November 11, and all military and their families get 15% off the bill anytime from November 12 to December 31.
Peet's Coffee: Complimentary drip coffee or tea is available to all vets and active-duty military on Wednesday.
Ponderosa Steakhouse: Both Ponderosa and its sister chain Bonanza Steakhouse offer free meals for veterans and active military from 4 p.m. until closing.
Red Lobster: From November 9 to 12, veterans and active military receive a complimentary appetizer or dessert.
Red Robin: Help yourself to a Red's Tavern Double burger and bottomless steak fries if you're a veteran or active-duty personnel.
Sheetz: In addition to a free six-inch turkey sub and regular-size fountain drink at Sheetz convenience stores, all veterans and current service members are welcomed to a free car wash at participating locations.
Shoney's: The All-American Burger is free all day long for veterans and active-duty military.
Sizzler: Veterans and active military get free lunch—entrée and a beverage—at participating locations until 4 p.m.
Twin Peaks: Take your pick of a free Philly cheesesteak or crispy chicken tender basket with military ID.
Wayback Burgers: Get a free Wayback Classic Cheeseburger (or a Crispy Chicken Sriracha Sandwich at a couple of locations) if you're a veteran or active-duty personnel.
White Castle: Get a free breakfast slider and a small coffee or other drink if you're a veteran or active-duty military.
Wienerschnitzel: Each vet or active military member is welcomed to a free chili dog and a small Pepsi beverage.
World of Beer: Show an ID card with proof of service and you're welcomed to pick a free draught beer in this craft beer haven, with locations in 21 states.
The Veteran's Guide to Financial Success:
- 8 Tips for Soldiers Looking to Conquer the Civilian Job Market
- 7 Ways for Soldiers to Dramatically Reduce the Cost of College
- 6 Simple Ways for Soldiers to Control Their Post-Military Healthcare Costs
- 5 Smart Money Moves for Soldiers and Military Veterans
- 4 Key Steps in the March Toward a Comfortable Retirement