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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