Veterans Day 2021: Where To Find The Best Food Freebies And Deals

Originally created over a century ago to honor those who fought for the United States during the First World War, Veterans Day has rolled around once again (via With it comes a federal holiday and various deals for those who have served the U.S. military.

While service members most likely did not enlist in the hopes of receiving discounts and free drinks down the line, many companies are offering just that on Thursday, November 11 and (in some cases) the surrounding days. These deals are intended as a token of gratitude for the work carried out by both active members of the military and veterans. For Veterans Day 2021, Mashed has compiled the complimentary, the discounts, and the outright free for anyone who served and wants to take advantage of these impressive offers.

On The Border

According to a press release sent to Mashed, on November 11, veterans can enjoy a Pick 2 combo for free at Tex-Mex chain On The Border. Options include chicken flautas; beef or chicken empanadas; cheese, chicken tinga, or seasoned beef enchiladas; tacos of either the chicken, seasoned beef, or Dos XX variety; and a house salad or chicken tortilla soup (via On The Border). The combo also comes with an added side of rice and beans.

Bad Daddy's Burger Bar

There are few foods as America as a good burger, so in honor of Veterans Day this year, Southeastern burger chain Bad Daddy's Burger Bar is offering a free All-American burger to veterans and active service members. According to a statement sent to Mashed, that burger can come with any cheese and one of the chain's basic sides: fries, tater tots, sweet potato fries, or chips.

However, anyone who wants to take advantage of the offer has to have a valid ID and be willing to dine-in. This deal is only available between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on November 11.

Taco John's

Taco John's is offering its Veterans Day deal to anyone who visits, regardless of military service, all day long. Anyone who enters the code VETERAN into the Taco John's app on November 11 will get a small beef taco combo for free.

According to the chain "encourages guests to take a moment to commemorate our nation's veterans when taking advantage of this special offer." 

Barbecue at Home by Dickey's

For those who want to use Veterans Day to stock up on meat, Barbecue at Home by Dickey's Barbecue is offering a 15% discount in honor of the holiday. Barbecue at Home is a shipping service that offers, among other things, sausages, steaks, and chicken (via Barbecue at Home). Most of the food offered is raw meat, but the company sells heat and serve food as well.

To get the discount, use the promo code VETERAN15 anytime between November 11 and December 31. There is no indication that an ID will be needed, so the discount seems open to all.

California Pizza Kitchen

California Pizza Kitchen is pulling out all the stops this Veterans Day. First, any military member who can display proof of their service will be given a free entrée and drink when they dine in. Veterans will also receive a buy one get one offer that they can redeem between November 12 and the 20th.

But free pizza isn't the only way California Pizza Kitchen has decided to honor veterans this year. Restaurants throughout the country will feature a "fallen hero" table to commemorate those who died on duty. Perhaps more importantly, the chain is giving 20% of all sales made between November 8 and 10 to Disabled American Veterans, a non-profit that works to make the lives of disabled veterans better. Strangely, California Pizza Kitchen is requiring customers to indicate their support for the non-profit by mentioning it to their server. If you order online, the chain asks you enter the code DAV.

Hard Rock Cafe

A free burger is being offered by the Hard Rock Cafe. Specifically, the Legendary Steak burger which comes topped with applewood bacon, cheddar cheese, an onion ring, lettuce, and tomato. Both veterans and active service members can snag themselves the burger by showing a valid ID. If a member of the military does not want the Legendary Steak Burger, have no fear. While the freebie relates to that particular item, the Hard Rock Cafe also offers a 15% military discount on other menu items.

Red Robin

Now through November 14, military members can go to Red Robin for one free Red's Tavern Double Burger, which the press release describes as "a house favorite." It boasts two patties, American cheese, lettuce, tomato, and Red's Secret Tavern Sauce.

The deal is available for dine in and takeout. However, veterans and active military who are already part of Red Robin's Royalty Program may want to opt for dining in — the chain is offering a free side of endless fries in addition to the burger.

Pilot Co

If any active or retired military members happen to be travelling on Veterans Day, they can take advantage of the meal deal being offered at the 750 Pilot Travel Centers dotted around the U.S. The deal, which takes the form of a $10 meal credit, is available to any service members who have verified their ID with the myRewards Plus app. The press release explains that the money can be used on any food or drink, or be applied to restaurants operating in the rest stop.

Until November 15, you can also round up your purchases at Pilot travel centers to donate to the Call of Duty Endowment, which helps veterans find a career after their time in the military. Pilot will match all donations up to $100,000.

Metro Diner

If you're a fan of fried chicken and waffles, rejoice! Metro Diner is offering military members a serious discount on November 11, and that is one of the dishes they suggest you use it on.

Upon presenting a military ID, both active and retired personnel will be treated to 50% off their meal. It is also worth noting that the small chain offers a 10% discount for military members throughout the year.

Fogo de Chão

For many, the only way to truly commemorate Veterans Day is to eat a massive steak. Well, Fogo de Chão is here to serve those who have served with delectable meat at a reasonable price. On Veterans Day this year, the chain's American steakhouses will cut the cost of any veteran's main, dine-in meal by 50%, plus give a 10% discount to up to three other guests dining with the service member.

This discount will not be applied to drinks, desserts, taxes, or tips; nor do to-go meals, products bought from the butcher shop, or catering count.


Bartaco will offer all dine-in military members a 20% discount on food for Veterans Day 2021. As the name might suggest, this largely means tacos; though rice bowls, roasted chicken, and ceviche, among other dishes, are available. Unfortunately, as the other part of the name bartaco may suggest, there is also an emphasis on the restaurant's bar, which does not come at a discount.

Still, if you want to treat yourself to what bartaco describes in a press release sent to Mashed as a "upscale street taco[s] ... with a coastal and relaxed environment," the restaurant will provide it.

STK Steakhouse

Doubling down on the atmosphere, STK Steakhouse invites military members to spoil themselves with "vibe dining." On November 11, active and retired U.S. military personnel who dine in at a STK location with a valid ID will get 20% off of their check. Notably, the company does not seem to specify that the discount only applies to food.

According to the company website, STK Steakhouse has 15 locations in the United States, three of which are in New York City.

Kona Grill

Some families can't agree upon a single cuisine for the table. In those cases, the best course of action might be to go to Kona Grill, which will offer ID-bearing members of the military a 20% discount on their check.

Considering you can get steak, sushi, seafood, and cocktails all at the same chain, Kona Grill side steps extended debate on what type of food to eat (via Kona Grill). Moreover, as the discount goes towards the check, you can indulge more than if it were directed to a single item or person, so you can go all in and throw some surf and turf on the table.

Romano's Macaroni Grill

On Thursday, November 11, Romano's Macaroni Grill will offer veterans its Mom's Ricotta Meatballs and Spaghetti for free. The hearty dish introduces meatballs made of beef, veal, pork, and ricotta, with a sprinkling of romano cheese and Pomodorina sauce. Those globules of meat sit atop a web of spaghetti.

To claim the free meal, all military members have to do is who present their ID while ordering. While diners can take advantage of perk for takeout, it should be noted that the freebie is not available for delivery. 

Texas Roadhouse

Texas Roadhouse is taking a somewhat different approach from the others on this list to its Veterans Day gift. On November 11, service members who drive-thru between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. will receive (upon presentation of an appropriate ID or discharge papers) a meal voucher. The voucher can be redeemed for one of 10 entrees, two sides, and a choice of drink between a Coca-Cola product, sweet tea, or coffee.

The vouchers are valid until May 30, 2022 and can only be retrieved via the drive-thru, but can be used when the restaurant opens for dinner.

Einstein Bagel Bros.

The Veterans Day deal is a bit more modest at Einstein Bagel Bros. than other options on the list, but still worth considering if you live near a location. On November 11, Veterans can receive either a free hot or iced coffee of any size when they show their ID. The deal is not available in licensed stores in colleges, hospitals, airports, or hotels.

Au Bon Pain

With the weather in large parts of the country taking a decided turn towards a chillier, more autumnal feel, you may feel the craving for a bowl of soup. Or, at least, a bowl of hot soup on the side. In either case, Au Bon Pain will be offering both veterans and active service members a free small cup of soup on November 11

The Au Bon Pain menu reveals a vast selection of different soup options to choose from, ranging from clam chowder to lemon orzo chicken to wild mushroom bisque. To claim this free soup, a valid military ID will be required.

Old Chicago Pizza & Taproom

Old Chicago Pizza & Taproom is offering veterans a freebie for their service. Namely, if they order an entrée, their appetizer will be free as long as it is worth less than $11.99 and is not the Old Chicago's Keg of Wings. Furthermore, like most deals on this list, the free appetizer is only available for people who dine-in on November 11.

As Old Chicago Pizza & Taproom primarily offers pizza, this does mean that a perfect pairing like cheesy garlic bread or bruschetta will be available. Of course, the online menu lists other starters are well, including jalapeño pretzel bits, Italian nachos, and pepperoni rolls.

Smokey Bones

Every other day of the year, Smokey Bones gives a 10% discount to all members of the military, but on Veterans Day 2021 the chain will offer a free dine-in meal.

There are a few options for military members to choose from: eight boneless chicken wings, a pulled pork sammie, or four whole chicken wings. All three options come with fries, baked beans, coleslaw, and roasted corn.


In honor of the holiday, Dunkin' is promising veterans and active military members a free donut of their choice on November 11.

No other purchase is necessary to claim the free donut, though the promotion is limited to one per person. The freebie is also only available in participating Dunkin' stores, while supplies last. It is not being offered for On-The-Go ordering through the mobile app.

Golden Corral

The pandemic might have caused some to think that buffets were a thing of the past, but Golden Corral is still around and offering a deal this Veterans Day. Anyone connected to the military from "active duty military personnel, retirees, National Guard, reserves and veterans of all branches of service" can show up between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. on November 11 for a free dinner buffet and beverage, according to a statement send to Mashed. Golden Corral offers a wide array of foods, like steak, fried chicken, soup, and scalloped potatoes (via Golden Corral).

The company makes no mention of whether or not you need identification to make it into the buffet, but it would be prudent to take some with you just in case.

White Castle

Famous for their sliders, on Veterans Day this year, White Castle is offering one free combo meal to veterans and active military members. According to a statement sent to Mashed, this offer is valid on both a breakfast combo or combo meals 1 through 6.

To claim this freebie, all service members have to do is present a valid U.S. military ID at a participation White Castle location — no other purchase is necessary.

Miller's Ale House

East Coast chain Miller's Ale House if offering an impressive deal for Veterans Day 2021. According to a statement sent by the company, Miller's will be giving all active military members and veterans 50% off one entrée to thank them for their service, with valid ID.

The Miller's Ale House menu lists dishes like burgers, pasta, fajitas, steak, and chicken sandwiches among the options veterans will be able to apply their discount to.


Fast casual burger chain Smashburger is giving veterans and active military members a free classic burger this year in honor of Veterans Day. The company describes the menu item as "a Certified Angus Beef patty, American cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, pickles, ketchup, a toasted bun, and Smashburger's specialty Smash Sauce" in a press release about the one- day deal.