20 places kids eat free

Treat your grandkids to a special dinner and save money doing it.

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While restaurants throughout the country felt the sting when the economy began to slow down in 2008, business has picked up for many of them in recent years. Several of those that initiated kids-eat-free programs in the past have now scaled back their promotions, leaving local franchises to offer their own incentives.While national chains like IHOP, Denny’s, and Chevy’s still offer great deals (as do some local mom-and-pop restaurants) expect many restaurant promotions to vary by location. We’ve listed a few of the better deals here.

The specific times and dates vary from restaurant to restaurant, including those of the big chains, so call your local favorites directly and find out if they have any kids-eat-free specials. Usually, these deals take place on off-peak days, like Tuesdays and Wednesdays; if you can find a deal, it’s a good excuse to spend time with the grandkids. Treat them to a special dinner, give their parents some downtime, and save money at the same time.

Here is a short list of national chains that have kids-eat-free deals at some locations*:

*Note: These specials vary from restaurant to restaurant and are subject to change at any time. The sample deals are real listings, but may not apply to the specific restaurants in your area. Always call ahead for details. Sometimes, the deal in your area might even be better. (Last updated: 3/15.)

Applebee’s
Occasional kids eat free nights, varies by location. Usually kids 12 and under eat free on Tuesdays when an adult purchases a full price entrée.

Bennigan’s
Occasional Kids Eat Free nights, varies by location.

Bob Evans
Get a free meal on kids’ birthdays when you join their kids club.

Captain D’s
Get a free meal on kids’ birthdays when you join their kids club.

Chevys Fresh Mex
On Tuesdays, get two free kids’ meals with one paying adult at regular price.

Chic-fil-A
Occasional Kids Eat Free nights, varies by location.

Cody’s Original Roadhouse
Kids 10 and under eat free Mondays and Tuesdays. Limit 2 kids meals per adult entrée.

Denny’s
Tuesdays from 4pm to 10pm, up to two kids’ entrees are free with the purchase of one adult entrée.

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Dickey’s Barbecue Pit
On Sundays, children 12 and under and get a free kids meal with purchase of one adult entrée.

Firehouse Subs
Occasional Kids Eat Free nights, varies by location.

Holiday Inn
Up to four kids ages 12 and under eat free any time in any Holiday Inn onsite restaurant if you’re staying in a Holiday Inn hotel.

IHOP
From 4pm to 8pm on Tuesdays, children 12 and under get one free kids’-menu item with the purchase of an adult entrée. There may be more days and hours available, so be sure to check your local IHOP for details.

IKEA
On Tuesdays, children 12 and under get a kids meal for free.

Marie Callender’s
All day, Tuesday and Saturday, receive one free kid’s meal with the purchase of one adult entrée.

O’Charley’s
Occasional Kids Eat Free nights, varies by location.

Old Country Buffet
Every Thursday night, from 5 to 8, kids 11 and under eat free with purchase of one adult entrée. Can vary by location, so call ahead to be sure.

Pizzeria UNO
Kids 12 and under eat free on Tuesdays with purchase of adult entrée.

Ponderosa Steakhouse
Occasional Kids Eat Free nights, varies by location. Check out their Facebook page for announcements.

Red Robin
Get a free meal on kids’ birthdays when you join their kids club.

T.G.I. Friday’s
Occasional Kids Eat Free nights, varies by location.

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