Two for 20 Meal Deals

by Libby Balke on August 7, 2012

I don’t know about you, but when I go out to dinner, I like to go all out. That means ordering an appetizer, a main course, and a dessert. But dining out on a budget is easier said than done, and it’s almost impossible to do if you’ve limited yourself to just $25 a week.

That’s why I love the plethora of two for 20 discounts available right now; there are also a few places that offer slightly more expensive meal deals for those of us who dine out in pairs.

Chili’s Grill & Bar

Chili’s is one of the restaurants that routinely offers a two for 20 deal to dining out duos, typically during the summer months. Included in the price fixe deal is one appetizer to share and two entrees. Some of the options are:

Appetizers (5 options in all, including):

  • Fried Cheese
  • Tostada Chips and Salsa
  • Tostada Chips and Fire-Grilled Corn Guacamole

Entrees (11 options in all, including):

  • Fried Shrimp
  • Quesadilla Explosion Salad
  • Classic Bacon Burger
  • Cajun Chicken Pasta
  • 6 oz. Classic Sirloin

When my husband and I recently ate at Chili’s, we opted to get the guacamole appetizer, the classic bacon burger, and the sirloin from the two for 20 menu. We ordered water – which is pretty standard for us when dining out – and hoped to order dessert after we’d completed our entrees; however, we were too full and skipped that final course.

Total bill (with 2% sales tax and 15% tip): $23.40 – below budget!

Applebee’s

Similar to the two for 20 deal at Chili’s, the price fixe menu at Applebee’s also offers diners one appetizer and two entrees. Also like Chili’s, the five appetizer options are dip heavy – one is a spinach dip, another is chips and queso. Applebee’s offers fewer main course options – just six compared to eleven at Chili’s – but some options lead to easy comparisons, such as Applebee’s sirloin entree, which is 7 oz, slightly larger than the similar dish at Chili’s. Applebee’s other entrees include:

  • Oriental Chicken Salad
  • Riblet Basket
  • Three Cheese Chicken Penne
  • Chicken Tenders Basket
  • Fiesta Lime Chicken

I have to admit, I’m not a huge fan of Applebee’s in the first place, so I haven’t been there recently to put their two for 20 deal to the test.

O’Charley’s

O’Charley’s is a regional chain with restaurants in 17 states, predominately in the south, mid-Atlantic, and Great Lakes. It’s also another restaurant that’s jumping on the two for 20 bandwagon by offering a price fixe menu for dining pairs. O’Charley’s offers fewer appetizer options than its two for 20 competitors at just four, most of which are a variation on a theme of chips, dip, and fried cheese:

Appetizers

  • Good Time Nachos
  • Spicy Jack Cheese Wedges
  • Authentic Spinach & Artichoke Dip

Entrees (10 options in all, including):

  • New York Pizza Pasta
  • Chicken Italia
  • Hand-Battered Fish ‘n Chips
  • Teriyaki Sesame Tilapia
  • 6 oz. Cowboy Sirloin

My most recent trip to O’Charley’s actually came with my best friend during a recent moms’ night out. We decided to order off the two for 20 menu together, getting the spinach dip, Chicken Italia (her), and Teriyaki Sesame Tipalia (me). I found the shared dip to be smaller than similar appetizers at other restaurants, but the tipalia was more than enough to fill me up and leave me without the room for dessert.

Total bill (with 2% sales tax and 15% tip): $23.40 – my half was just $11.70, coming in under budget!

Other Price Fixe Options

Chili’s, Applebee’s, and O’Charley’s aren’t the only restaurants offering these types of meal deals. T.G.I. Friday’s – which really launched the two-fer deals years ago – is making it easier for single-diners to get a lot of food for a little money, offering a two for $10 menu, which lets singletons order either an appetizer and entree or an entree and dessert for just $10.

You’ll also find two for $25 out there as well. Currently, Texas Land & Cattle and Olive Garden are offering price fixe menus for two for $25. The Olive Garden deal is one of my favorites, especially if you’re dining out with young children – that’s because in addition to getting two entrees and either two appetizers (which are, admittedly, pretty small compared to the full-price menu options) or a single dessert, you also get unlimited soup or salad and breadsticks, which pretty much guarantee you’ll leave the restaurant absolutely stuffed.

Reader, have you found any restaurants that offer meal deals like this? Do you think they’re good deals?

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