Free stuff is not the purpose of Veteran’s Day.
However, 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 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.
Krispy Kreme: Free Doughnut and Small Coffee (Nov. 11)
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.
Nearest location: Mohegan Sun, 1 Mohegan Sun Boulevard Uncasville, CT
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.
Nearest location: 817 Queen Street, Southington, CT
Chili’s and Applebee’s: Free meal (Nov. 11)
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.
Nearest location: Chili's - 1085 North Colony Street, Wallingford, CT / Applebee's 191 Deming Street, Manchester CT 6040
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.
Nearest location: 655 South Main Street, Middletown, CT
Subway: Free six-inch sandwich (Nov. 11)
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 to find out if your Subway franchise is participating.
In addition, Subway is donating $111,112 to the Wounded Warriors Project and encourages others to do the same. A link on Subway's website enables viewers to donate directly to the project, which raises awareness for the needs of injured service members.
Nearest location: 349 Main Street Durham, CT 06422
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.
Nearest location: 310 Universal Drive North North Haven CT 06473
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.
Nearest location: 3025 Berlin Turnpike, Newington, CT
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!