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Veterans Day freebies, deals and events

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Veterans Day is a day to thank and honor those who have served the United States – and many restaurants and businesses are saying thank you by giving veterans some freebies.

Here's a look at some of the free or reduced deals for veterans and active service members with a military ID:


Applebee's is giving veterans a free entree from a select menu, which includes items like the Fiesta Lime Chicken, American Standard All-In Burger and the three-cheese chicken penne. The deal is good all day Tuesday.


Chili's is giving away a free entree from a special menu which has items that include the Oldtimer with Cheese, the margarita chicken Fresh Mex Bowl and enchiladas, Thrillist says.

The restaurant has been honoring veterans for the last few weeks and has detailed its recent efforts, such as hiring veterans and delivering chips and salsa to active military members serving overseas.

Chuck E. Cheese

Chuck E. Cheese is giving 20 free tokens to military vets and active-duty military members through Saturday, USA Today says.

CraftWorks Restaurants and Breweries

Restaurants owned by CraftWorks Restaurants and Breweries, which includes Rock Bottom Brewery and Old Chicago Pizza, are giving veterans and active military a free craft beer Tuesday, USA Today says.


Denny's is giving veterans a free build-your-own Grand Slam – pick four of the following: eggs, bacon, pancakes, hash browns, sausage links and toast. The deal is good from 5 a.m. to noon Tuesday.

Great Clips

Great Clips shops are giving veterans a free haircut on Nov. 11, or a card to redeem a free haircut by Dec. 31.

Massage Retreat and Spa

Massage Retreat and Spa, which has several Minnesota locations, donated 200 free massages and facials to Beyond The Yellow Ribbon and is also offering deals for members of the military.

Olive Garden

Olive Garden is giving veterans a free entree off a select menu, which includes the restaurant's garlic rosemary chicken, penne primavera, cheese ravioli or chicken parmigiana, Thrillist says. Unlimited soup, salad and breadsticks is also part of the deal, which is available all day long.

Outback Steakhouse

The chain restaurant is giving veterans a free Bloomin' Onion and beverage all day Nov. 11 – just present your military ID to get the deal.

The deal doesn't end there – Outback Steakhouse says "Military Mates" (members of the military with valid ID) get 15 percent off from Nov. 12 through Dec. 31.

There are eight Outback Steakhouse locations in Minnesota.

Red Lobster

The seafood chain is giving veterans a free select appetizer – options include shrimp nachos, calamari and white wine, and roasted garlic mussels, Thrillist says. The deal is good all day Tuesday.

There are 12 Red Lobster locations in Minnesota, mainly in the Twin Cities and one in Duluth.

Red Robin

Red Robin is giving veterans a free tavern double burger and bottomless steak fries all day Tuesday.


Starbucks is giving veterans – and military spouses – a free tall brewed coffee on Nov. 11.


InForum notes several Fargo-Moorhead area restaurants are offering free meals to veterans, including Texas Roadhouse and Super Buffet in south Fargo, as well as the chains listed above.

The Associated Press says many other establishments also have offers, including free car washes and at select theaters veterans can see the World War II film "Fury" for free.

The free deals are something that most service members are humbled by, Mark Ostern, 119th Air Wing's Airman and Family Readiness Program manager, told InForum. However, one veteran told The AP that the deals are great, but many will miss out because they'll be working – noting Veterans Day is only a day off for federal and state offices.

Local events

The Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs will be hosting its annual Veterans Day breakfast and program Tuesday at the Veterans Memorial Community Center in Inver Grove Heights. Gov. Mark Dayton, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Sen. Al Franken and others are expected to attend.

Several Vikings players, cheerleaders and Viktor the Viking will be visiting patients at the VA Medical Center in Minneapolis Tuesday – this is the 15th consecutive year the Vikings and the state Department of Veterans of Foreign Wars have partnered for the project, KSTP says.

The Minnesota National Guard will also be leading a Veterans Day event at Bloomington Public Schools. The 1/34 Armored Brigade Combat Team will raise flags at 15 schools in the district as well as lead students in the Pledge of Allegiance, the news station notes.

These are among many statewide events planned for Veterans Day. More information can be on the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs website.

What's open and what's closed

Post offices, most banks, public agencies (local, state and federal offices), and most libraries are closed on Veterans Day, while grocery stores, malls and most public schools are open (pending weather closures), the Star Tribune says.

Metro Transit will also be running on a normal schedule, but parking meters in Minneapolis and St. Paul won't be enforced, except for at the University of Minnesota and at Minneapolis parks, the newspaper says.

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