March 3, 2009 by  
Filed under Freebies, Restaurants & Bars

Photo courtesy gadgetdude; Creative Commons license

We love free food. Discount dining. Gratis grub. Whatever you call it, dining discounts are tops in our book.

Hence, we’ve been joining restaurant e-clubs for several years. Some are great. Some are stinkers. (We won’t name names.) To make our “great” list, an e-club or newsletter must offer a freebie simply for joining, must send regular offers, and must not send irrelevant come-ons or spam. Here are 11 restaurant e-clubs worth joining.

  1. Mimi’s Cafe. Upon joining, you’ll receive an e-mail offer for a free breakfast entree. Throughout the year, you’ll receive periodic offers. Recently, we’ve received offers for “Valentine’s Dinner for 2 for $25.99” and “$5 off any $15 breakfast check.” And let’s face it: who doesn’t love Mimi’s muffins?
  2. Texas Roadhouse. Joining the “VIP Roadie” club gets you a certificate for a free appetizer: Tater Skins, Rattlesnake Bites, Cheese Fries, or Cactus Blossom. We haven’t received any further offers since joining around the 1st of the year, but then again we haven’t received any spam. Also, if you’ve never been to the Texas Roadhouse before, tell your server it’s your first visit. The manager will come and present you with a certificate for a free appetizer on your next visit.
  3. Red Robin. Not only does Red Robin offer you a free burger on your birthday, but they also have a Kids’ Club that gifts your spawn with a free kid’s meal on his/her birthday.
  4. Village Inn. Sign up for their e-newsletter and receive a welcome coupon good for a free entree (with purchase of an adult entree and two beverages).
  5. Denny’s. Receive a welcome gift of 20% off your entire bill when you sign up to receive promotions by e-mail. Great excuse to lasso a bunch of friends for a late breakfast after a night of clubbing.
  6. Chili’s. Just for joining, you’ll receive a certificate good for free chips and salsa with purchase of an entree.
  7. Landry’s Seafood House. Sends you a welcome gift certificate for $5 off lunch or dinner. Obviously, lunch is the better deal.
  8. Black Angus (Stuart Anderson’s). Free dessert for joining; free steak dinner on your birthday! Nice bar, too.
  9. Sweet Tomatoes. Club Veg sent us a welcome coupon for 15% off our next meal, good for up to 4 adults (with some restrictions).  Plus, they send you an e-mail every month with specials, and that means much more frequent discounts than the others offer.
  10. Buca di Beppo. Joe offers you a free small appetizer as a welcome gift, free dessert on your birthday, and even a gift on your anniversary.
  11. Boston’s Restaurant & Sports Bar. Offers you a free appetizer welcome gift.

The great thing about e-clubs is that the welcome e-mail generally arrives in your inbox within 24 hours of joining. So you can sign up today and plan to eat out on Friday. In fact, that’s a great idea, since most of the welcome offers expire fairly quickly.

Do you have a favorite restaurant e-club that we missed? Drop us a line to let us know! And if you know of any locally owned restaurants that offer e-clubs or similar deals, we’d love to hear about it.

–Elizabeth Hanes





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