It’s Friday and it’s much more fun to talk about food than actually get work done, am I right? (Excuse me while I wipe the donut crumbs off my shirt.) So, I bring you three free and cheap food options available today.
First, the newly opened Dutch Bros. at Blackstone and McKinley avenues is having its grand opening today. You can read all about the new location (and how it’s pronounced “bros”) here. It’s selling $1 16-ounce drinks all day today. All the money you do spend goes to Valley Children’s Hospital.
Did you know today is National Pie Day? Yes, it’s a thing. There’s no free pie, unfortunately, but there is cheap pie. Marie Callender’s $7.99 whole pie sale is today.
Also, Chipotle has a not really free food deal that starts Monday. First, you have to pay for a dish with its organic tofu Sofritas on Monday, Jan. 26. Bring the receipt back between Jan. 27 and Feb. 28 and you get a free burrito, bowl, salad or taco — made with Sofritas or any kind of meat you want. Details here.
Update: How could I forget this one? If you dress up like a cow today and go to Chick-fil-A, you’ll get a free meal. It’s “Cow Appreciation Day” there. And these people are serious about humiliating you having fun – to get the full free meal you have to dress up “head to hoof” in cow attire. Customers who are too “chicken” to go all out get a free entree for wearing a cow-spotted hat, scarf, purse, etc.
Let’s take a quick break from all the wonderful farm-to-fork foodie goodness our Valley produces and focus on some of the more oddball munchies that have hit Fresno recently. First, Friday is 7-Eleven Day (it’s 7/11, get it?) and that means the stores will be giving away free small Slurpees — but only from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. of course. In the days that follow, you can get free snacks ranging from birthday cake-flavored M&Ms to yogurt bars if you download the 7-Eleven app. Details here.
Twinkies is reintroducing Chocodiles to stores. Chocodiles, which Hostess says developed a “cult-like following” are essentially chocolate-covered Twinkies. (I’ve never had one. How are they?) In the past they were only distributed to stores in the West, but appeared on eBay selling for $30 a box. Now you can get them again, along with strawberry creme, banana creme and chocolate creme Twinkies the company will be releasing this summer. (No word yet on where to get these Twinkies, but since Walmart had first dibs on the relaunch of the original Twinkies, they might be a good place to try.) Hostess is also inviting fans to submit new and inventive recipes that use Twinkies for what will become The Twinkies Cookbook.
Update: Happy Veterans Day! In addition to the free Hooters meal below, several other restaurants are thanking vets and active-duty military for their service with free or discounted meals. Applebee’s lets vets pick one of seven free meals. California Pizza Kitchen will give them a free pizza. Chili’s has a vets day menu. There’s all-you-can-eat pancakes at Denny’s, 25% off your bill at Famous Dave’s, and a free meal from this menu at Olive Garden. (In fact, there’s so many options that if you have a favorite restaurant, just google it and see what it’s doing for the day.)
There’s a million and one jokes I could make here, but why don’t I just leave that to your active imaginations and get right to the point? Hooters restaurant is giving free meals to veterans and active-duty military personnel on Veterans Day, Monday. As long as you buy a drink and show your military ID or proof of service (yeah, bring in your medals, that would be cool), you can get a free meal up to $10.99 in value. Anything on the menu, including the chicken wings. The Fresno location is here. The company views the free meal as “small but earnest way to say ‘thank you’ for your service.”
While you’re at it, Hooters is encouraging customers to buy an extra copy of the 2014 Hooters calendar. (Yes, it’s exactly what you think a Hooters calendar would look like. Definitely NSFW.) They’re encouraging people to hand write a message on the calendars and they’ll ship them to U.S. military stationed overseas. (Unfortunately it looks like the calendars are only designed to appeal to men serving overseas. No eye candy calendars for the women in our military.)
Today is National Frozen Yogurt Day. Every day is some sort national food day, but I’m noting this one because you can get free frozen yogurt.
From 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. today at the River Park Yogurtland, the froyo is free. You can fill the container as high as you want and get all the toppings you want too, the owner assures me.
The store has recently added Greek frozen yogurt — in a banana raspberry flavor — and now has two dairy-free sorbets — strawberry lemonade and grapefruit guava.
You can get more free food tomorrow too. IHOP restaurants are offering a free short stack of pancakes to each guest from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday. The restaurant is asking that for every free stack, customers make a donation to the Children’s Miracle Network, which supports Children’s Hospital Central California.
The program raised $3 million nationwide last year and IHOP is hoping to raise that amount again this year.
Everybody likes free food, right? And cheap food is the next best thing, so I’m sharing some edible deals you can take advantage of in the next few weeks.
Wednesday is free biscuit day at Carl’s Jr. The chain is debuting its scratch-made biscuits, the same ones it has sold for years at its sister company Hardee’s in the midwest and southeast. You can get a free sausage biscuit if you go into the restaurant Wednesday morning.
If you’re brave enough to wear your Halloween costume to Chipotle on Oct. 31, you can get cheap food. As part of its “Boorito” promotion, you can get a $2 burrito from 4 p.m. to close if you’re in costume. The money you do spend goes to the Chipotle Cultivate Foundation, which supports sustainable agriculture and family farming.
And Marie Callender’s whole pie sale continues until the end of the month. The pies cost $7.99, plus the cost of the pie tin.
Update: My colleague Donald Munro points out that kids in costume can get free burgers and fries at Eureka! Burger. Only the first 100 under age 12 get the free food. The restaurant apparently understands that burgers, fries and a whole bunch of candy on the same day might be a bit much, so if you don’t want to eat the meal right then you can get a gift card for a kid’s burger and fries for later.