24/7 Wall St.

Restaurants Serving Free Food for Veterans Day

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We are still two weeks away from Thanksgiving, when we give thanks for the bounty that nature has provided us. But before that holiday, on Veterans Day, the nation will give thanks and show its appreciation to its service men and women.

Veterans Day originated as “Armistice Day” on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I. Congress passed a resolution in 1926 for an annual observance, and Nov. 11 became a national holiday to honor veterans in 1938.

Unlike Memorial Day when we remember those who died in war, on Veterans Day we pay homage to those who served, and continue to serve, in the armed services.There were 18.5 million military veterans in the United States in 2016, according to U.S. Census figures, and 9.2 million of them were 65 and older.

Veterans Day rituals have included attending parades, festooning buildings with flags, getting a day off from school or work, and seeing lots of ads for sales. More recently, the restaurant industry has started a tradition of offering food deals to military service men and women on Veterans Day, as well as other days in November.

Click here to see the 50 largest restaurant groups offering free meals to veterans

24/7 Wall St. has compiled a list of restaurant groups in the United States offering meal deals for veterans. The list is limited to those eateries offering at least a free appetizer or dessert item to veterans. All of the establishments require veterans to show proof that they are serving, or have served, in the military. This can be done either by showing military identification or appearing at the restaurant in uniform.

Source: MollyNZ / Getty Images

1. Applebee’s
> Category: Casual dining
> What vets get: Free meal from limited menu on Veterans Day
> Proof required: Proof of service
> Store count: 2,000

Source: barlouie / Instagram

2. Bar Louie
> Category: Casual dining
> What vets get: Free flatbread or burger
> Proof required: Military ID
> Store count: 132

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Source: Xnatedawgx / Wikimedia Commons

3. BJ’s Restaurant
> Category: Casual dining
> What vets get: Complementary entrée under $12.95
> Proof required: Military ID
> Store count: 195

Source: RiverNorthPhotography / Getty Images

4. Bob Evans
> Category: Casual dining
> What vets get: Free select menu items
> Proof required: Military ID
> Store count: 500

Source: Josh Hallett / Flickr

5. Bonefish Grill
> Category: Seafood
> What vets get: Free Bang Bang Shrimp
> Proof required: Military ID or in uniform
> Store count: 191

Source: Miosotis jade / Wikimedia Commons

6. Boston Market
> Category: Fast casual
> What vets get: Buy one meal with drink, get a second free
> Proof required: Coupon, no ID required
> Store count: 450

Source: Wikimedia Commons

7. Buffalo Wild Wings
> Category: Casual dining
> What vets get: Small order of wings and fries
> Proof required: Proof of service
> Store count: 1,237

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Source: mizoula / Getty Images

8. California Pizza Kitchen
> Category: Italian
> What vets get: Free entrée
> Proof required: Military ID or proof of service
> Store count: 250

Source: Facebook / Chicken Salad Chick

9. Chicken Salad Chick
> Category: Chicken restaurants
> What vets get: Free meal and drink
> Proof required: Military ID or proof of service
> Store count: 75

Source: CatLane / Getty Images

10. Chili’s
> Category: Casual dining
> What vets get: Free meal for veterans
> Proof required: Proof of service
> Store count: 1,600

Source: SweetBabeeJay / Getty Images

11. Chuck E Cheese
> Category: Family entertainment
> What vets get: One free personal pizza
> Proof required: Military ID
> Store count: 580

Source: Daniel M. Hendricks / Flickr

12. Cicis Pizza
> Category: Pizza
> What vets get: Free pizza buffet
> Proof required: Military ID
> Store count: 450

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Source: Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock.com

13. Cracker Barrel Old Country Store
> Category: Homestyle cooking
> What vets get: Complementary dessert
> Proof required: Military ID
> Store count: 646

Source: Skyhobo / Getty Images

14. Denny’s
> Category: Casual dining
> What vets get: Free build-your-own Grand Slam breakfast
> Proof required: Military ID
> Store count: 1,700

Source: Michael Barera / Wikimedia Commons

15. Dickey’s Barbecue Pit
> Category: Barbecue
> What vets get: Free meal (sandwich, side, cup)
> Proof required: Military ID
> Store count: 600

Source: Dori / Wikimedia Commons

16. Famous Dave’s
> Category: Barbecue
> What vets get: Free two-meat combo
> Proof required: Military ID
> Store count: 170

Source: Instagram / farmerboysrestaurants

17. Farmer Boys
> Category: Quick service
> What vets get: Free big cheeseburger.
> Proof required: Military ID
> Store count: 90

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Source: Michael Rivera / Wikimedia Commons

18. Fazoli’s
> Category: Italian
> What vets get: Free spaghetti with marinara or meat sauce
> Proof required: Military ID or in uniform
> Store count: 217

Source: Mr. Blue MauMau / Flickr

19. Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers
> Category: Fast casual
> What vets get: Free combo meal card
> Proof required: Veterans/active military ID
> Store count: 274

Source: drserg / Getty Images

20. Friendly’s
> Category: Casual dining
> What vets get: Free breakfast, lunch or dinner from select menus
> Proof required: Military ID/honorable discharge card
> Store count: 254

Source: Facebook / Frisch's Big Boy

21. Frisch’s Big Boy
> Category: Casual dining
> What vets get: Free Big Boy sandwich
> Proof required: Military ID/VA card
> Store count: 79

Source: gattispizza.com

22. Gatti’s Pizza
> Category: Italian
> What vets get: Free buffet or free medium topping pizza for carryout
> Proof required: Military ID
> Store count: 97

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Source: AWSeebaran / Getty Images

23. Golden Corral
> Category: Family style
> What vets get: “Thank you” dinner
> Proof required: Military ID
> Store count: 481

Source: Aneese / Getty Images

24. Hooters
> Category: Casual dining
> What vets get: Free meal from Veterans Day menu
> Proof required: Military ID
> Store count: 420

Source: houlihans.com

25. Houlihan’s
> Category: Casual dining
> What vets get: Free entrée from select menu
> Proof required: Military ID
> Store count: 71

Source: Michael Rivera / Wikimedia Commons

26. Huddle House
> Category: Diner
> What vets get: Free order of sweet cakes
> Proof required: Military ID
> Store count: 400

Source: Facebook / Hy-Vee Market Grille

27. Hy Vee Market Grille
> Category: Casual dining
> What vets get: Free breakfast buffet during breakfast hours
> Proof required: Military ID
> Store count: 246

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Source: ivanastar / Getty Images

28. IHOP
> Category: Pancake house
> What vets get: Free red, white, and blue pancakes
> Proof required: Military ID or proof of service
> Store count: 1,650

Source: Michael Rivera / Wikimedia Commons

29. Krystal
> Category: Casual dining
> What vets get: Complementary sausage biscuit on Veterans Day
> Proof required: Military ID or in uniform
> Store count: 360

Source: Flickr

30. Little Caesars Pizza
> Category: Carry-out
> What vets get: Free $5 lunch combo
> Proof required: Military ID
> Store count: 4,388

Source: RiverNorthPhotography / Getty Images

31. Logan’s Roadhouse
> Category: Burgers, barbecue
> What vets get: Free entrée from select veterans menu
> Proof required: Military ID
> Store count: 220

Source: 99restaurants.com

32. Ninety Nine Restaurant and Pub
> Category: Pub
> What vets get: Free lunch from $9.99 menu with purchase of entrée
> Proof required: Military ID
> Store count: 106

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Source: Kirk Allen / Wikimedia Commons

33. O’Charley’s
> Category: Casual dining
> What vets get: Free $9.99 entrée
> Proof required: Military ID
> Store count: 200

Source: Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock.com

34. Olive Garden
> Category: Italian
> What vets get: Free meal from Veterans Day menu
> Proof required: Proof of service
> Store count: 800

Source: Chuck Wagner / Shutterstock.com

35. Outback Steakhouse
> Category: Steakhouse
> What vets get: Free Bloomin’ Onion and beverage
> Proof required: Military ID
> Store count: 174

Source: RiverNorthPhotography / Getty Images

36. Panera Bread
> Category: Fast casual
> What vets get: Free breakfast sandwich
> Proof required: Military ID
> Store count: 2,000

Source: Wolterk / Getty Images

37. Red Lobster
> Category: Seafood
> What vets get: Free appetizer/dessert from Veterans Day menu
> Proof required: Military ID
> Store count: 700

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Source: Wikimedia Commons

38. Red Robin
> Category: Hamburgers and fries
> What vets get: Free burger and fries
> Proof required: Military ID
> Store count: 547

Source: macaronigrill.com

39. Romano’s Macaroni Grill
> Category: Italian
> What vets get: Free mom’s ricotta meatballs and spaghetti entrée
> Proof required: Military ID
> Store count: 98

Source: tobiasjo / Getty Images

40. Ruby Tuesday
> Category: Casual dining
> What vets get: Free appetizer
> Proof required: Military ID
> Store count: 600

Source: U.S. Department of Energy

41. Shari’s Café & Pies
> Category: Casual dining
> What vets get: Free pancake breakfast
> Proof required: Military ID
> Store count: 95

Source: Ed! / Wikimedia Commons

42. Shoney’s
> Category: Casual dining
> What vets get: Free all-you-can-eat breakfast
> Proof required: Military ID
> Store count: 150

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Source: Orderinchaos / Wikimedia Commons

43. Sizzler
> Category: Casual dining
> What vets get: Free lunch and beverage
> Proof required: Military ID
> Store count: 200

Source: DanTD / Wikimedia Commons

44. TA Stopping Centers
> Category: Quick serve food
> What vets get: Complimentary meal from select menu
> Proof required: Proof of service
> Store count: 785

Source: chapin3 / Getty Images

45. Texas Roadhouse
> Category: Steakhouse
> What vets get: Free appetizer
> Proof required: Military ID or in uniform
> Store count: 392

Source: Wolterk / Getty Images

46. TGI Fridays
> Category: Casual dining
> What vets get: Free lunch up to $12
> Proof required: Military ID
> Store count: 931

Source: David Shankbone / Wikimedia Commons

47. Village Inn
> Category: Casual dining
> What vets get: Free V.I.B. breakfast (participating locations)
> Proof required: Military ID
> Store count: 200

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Source: patty_c / Getty Images

48. White Castle
> Category: Fast food
> What vets get: Free combo meal or free breakfast combo
> Proof required: Proof of service
> Store count: 400

Source: NicolasMcComber / Getty Images

49. Wienerschnitzel
> Category: Fast food
> What vets get: Free chili dog with small fries and small Pepsi
> Proof required: Military ID or in uniform
> Store count: 320

Source: yardhouse.com

50. Yard House
> Category: Casual dining
> What vets get: Complementary appetizer
> Proof required: Military ID
> Store count: 70