'Good Guy' Restaurants Honoring Our Vets

While we all pause to honor our military this Veterans Day, we should also take a minute to thank the national restaurant chains that are honoring them by appetizing means.

If you have ever served your country in the military, you get free food on Wednesday.  On Veterans Day, which falls on Wednesday, Nov. 11 this year, veterans and active members of the military can eat free practically all day.

Start with Krispy Kreme, which is giving away one free donut per veteran or active member of the military all day Wednesday. The donut chain is offering their classic, fresh-baked glazed donut, as well as several other options including jelly-filled and the seasonal Pumpkin Spice cake donut.

This is the first time Krispy Kreme has offered this promotion. “As a company, we wanted to honor and thank the dedicated men and women who have served, or are currently serving in the armed forces,” said Marketing Manager Lisa Bahaw-Thornton of the corporation’s decision to honor members of the armed services.

Since your donut is free, you can splurge on Krispy Kreme coffee and call it breakfast accomplished.

Then think about going to Outback Steakhouse for a free bloomin’ onion appetizer and complimentary beverage for a pre-dinner or late-day snack (most Outbacks open at 4 p.m. on Wednesday). Outback parent corporation, OSI Restaurant Partners, also funds a program called Operation Feeding Freedom, which sends volunteers oversees “to bring U.S. and coalition soldiers a taste of home from its restaurant brands in America,” according to the website. This fall marked the program’s seventh year.

For dinner, head to Applebee’s and get a free entrée from a choice of six popular dishes including a hamburger, a steak, pasta, or a salad. Buy your own drink, or drink enough at Outback to get you through the meal.

At the end of the day on Wednesday, start thinking about getting free desert from the buffet next Monday, Nov. 16. Golden Corral is offering both vets, active, and reserve military members a free dinner—including beverage—in their ninth annual “Military Appreciation Monday” during dinner hours from 5 to 9 p.m.

According to their website, “Golden Corral restaurants have served over 2.156 million free ‘thank you’ meals to our heroes in the military over the past 8 years.” Golden Corral restaurants also support the Disabled American Veterans organization, and invite guests to contribute at locations nationwide.

Finally, if you missed it this year, make a note to catch McCormick & Schmick’s (more commonly known as M&S Grill) Veterans Appreciation Event in 2010. This year’s event, held on Sunday, Nov. 8, was the eleventh year M&S recognized veterans by offering a choice of free entrees.

At most of these restaurants (Golden Corral is the exception), proof of military service is required: a uniform, photograph in uniform, ID card, Veterans Organization Card, or Current Leave and Earnings Statement.

Veterans Day is a perfect day for military-outfitted men and women to eat out in force, along with their family or friends (related civilians have to pay). Food-lovers who are not veterans or members of the active military can show support by donating their patronage to these patriotic restaurants.


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