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11 restaurants that offer great deals

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Restaurants, hard hit by the recession, are now offering some discounts and special deals to lure customers into their eateries.

Whether it’s free appetizers, deals on take-out items or online coupons, many national restaurant chains are serving up greater value for your dining-out dollar.

After a long week on your feet, skip the dishes and the grocery shopping, and treat yourself and your family to a night on the town! Your wallet won’t know the difference!

Some deals to check out:

  1. The Cheesecake Factory: The “Small Plates and Snacks” menu features smaller portions from $3.95 to $6.95 on items such as beets with goat cheese, mini corn dogs or roasted stuffed dates.
  2. Arby’s: $5.01 combos include your choice of sandwich, side and drink.
  3. P.F. Chang’s China Bistro: Five regional classic dishes such as Hunan Pork or Mandarin Chicken for $9.95.
  4. Denny’s: Choose from 17 items to make your own “Grand Slam Breakfast” for $5.99.
  5. Applebee’s: “Pick ‘N Pair” lunch combos for $5.99 and the “2 for $20” deal, which includes an appetizer and two entrees such as fiesta lime chicken or a 7-ounce house sirloin.
  6. T.G.I. Friday’s: Game-day specials include $3.99 for boneless or traditional chicken wings, or $7.99 for a half rack of baby back ribs. Join the “Give Me More Stripes” program and receive things like a free appetizer and special discounts via email.
  7. Bob Evans: Get a family-size spaghetti to go for $10.99 or choose from 30 meals for $5.99. The restaurant’s Web site also offers 20 recipes under $2 and online visitors can enter to win a free dinner.
  8. Outback Steakhouse: Specials include “15 meals under $15”; on this list is a 6-ounce “signature” steak for $9.95, which comes with two sides.
  9. Ruby Tuesday: The “So Connected” club offers online coupons and other deals. Burgers start at $6.99 and come with free refills on tea and lemonade, plus unlimited trips to the salad bar.
  10. Friendly’s: The “Create Your Own Meal” menu includes a sandwich, drink and a sundae for $9.99.
  11. Uno Chicago Grill: Lunch specials include such items as the deep dish pizza of the day for $6.99, which comes with soup or salad. “Double deal specials” for takeout only include two regular-size deep dish pizzas for $21.99.

Finally, if you’re looking for more ways to stretch your food dollars, here are a couple of Web sites and blogs that can offer you terrific ideas:

Cheap eats: bloglander.com/cheapeats. Billed as “your guide to eating cheap, including tips, recipes and techniques,” this blog has a variety of items ranging from a “$3 or less” category to an article on how to make homemade Gatorade.

Budget 101: budget101.com. Founded by Liss Burnell, the site is “dedicated to helping people get the most for their money.” Included are free coupons and articles such as how to feed a family of four on less than $200 a month.

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Anita Bruzzese

Anita Bruzzese is an award-winning journalist. Her book, 45 Things You Do That Drive Your Boss Crazy...And How to Avoid Them, was named one of the top 10 most notable business books by the New York Post in 2007. For more information, visit her Website at 45things.com.
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