EARLY BIRD GETS THEIR CHOICE
Great deals on good food aren't always easy to find, but we've uncovered some early bird dining specials at top-rated restaurants in every state by scouring reviews on TripAdvisor and Yelp. Bon appétit!
Related: 50 Ways to Spend Less When Eating Out
Every Monday is pasta night at Silvertron Café, a Birmingham neighborhood favorite for more than 25 years. Enjoy $8 comfort food (regular prices range from $9.50 to $14), $1 off glasses of wine, and $4 off bottles.
The three-course "first seating" menu at Simon & Seafort's Saloon & Grill in Anchorage features soup or salad, one of five entrees, and homemade dessert for $30 daily. A dish of pasta, seafood, or meat alone from the regular dinner menu at this classic American grill costs between $22 and $68. Early bird hours change seasonally, so check for the current schedule.
A purveyor of prime rib and steakhouse dining for more than 65 years, Billingsley's Restaurant offers an entree, soup or salad, a potato or rice, a vegetable, garlic cheese toast, a beverage, and dessert for $23 from 4 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 4 to 6:30 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Those who arrive later pay $20 to $36 without the drink and dessert.
Early bird menu options (smaller portions of standard menu items that regularly cost $25 to $80) are available for a half-hour starting daily at 5 p.m. at husband-and-wife-owned Carlos' Bistro, most for half off. Don't come with a large crowd, though; the specials are for parties of no more than four people. And mark the calendar -- no early bird dinners in December.
Enjoy views overlooking the Housatonic River while dining at Riverview Bistro, a charming Stratford restaurant. From 4 to 6 p.m. daily, guests can order from a $16 early bird menu that includes soup or salad, a choice of entree served with a starch and vegetable, dessert, and coffee or tea. At other times, it costs $17 and up just for an entree and side salad.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Patrons of Las Canteras Peruvian Restaurant & Bar get a three-course meal of certain appetizers or salads, entrees, and desserts for $24 from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday. Ordering from the standard menu costs at least twice as much. Look for ceviche, fresh and marinated fish plates, and traditional dishes such as lomo saltado (beef with onions, tomatoes, and fries) and arroz con pollo (chicken and rice).
Early bird specials are served from 4 to 6 p.m. daily at the family-friendly Lewes eatery JD Shuckers Seafood Grill & Raw Bar, with 11 meals such as fish and chips ($15, regularly $17), fried oysters ($15, regularly $19) and homemade meatloaf ($10, regularly $14) offered with a choice of two sides.
The Saltwater Grill early bird menu is served daily from 4 to 5:30 p.m. with an array of appetizers ($5), entrees ($15), and desserts ($3.50). Crispy fried calamari, beef tenderloin, shrimp and grits, honey-glazed salmon, creme brûlée, and Key lime pie are all options at this Panama City eatery.
Atlanta staple The Colonnade Restaurant opened its doors in 1927 and has been serving Southern fried chicken, fresh fish, and country vegetables ever since. Early bird patrons can choose one of 13 entrees, two sides or one side and a salad, a non-alcoholic beverage, and dessert for $13 Monday through Thursday from 5 to 6:30 p.m. and Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. Diners shell out up to $30 a plate for dishes on the regular menu.
Atlantis Seafood & Steak offers daily early bird specials from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Plates of steak and pasta range in price from $12 to $15, while regular menu items at this Waikiki establishment are priced between $20 and $50. Enjoy a discounted meal with a view of Kalakaua Avenue and the lively Waikiki strip.
Lino's has been serving Italian food to the Rockford area for more than 40 years. Nightly dine-in specials are on the menu from 4:30 to 6 p.m. and include baked lasagna (just over $11, regularly $12.50), fried cod (just over $12, regularly just over $15), chicken Parmigiana ($13, regularly $15), and much more. Meals come with some combination of pasta or potato, salad, bread, a non-alcoholic drink, and ice cream.
Stone Creek Dining Co. in Greenwood offers a small but appealing early dining menu every weekday from 4 to 6 p.m. Entrees such as steak and fries, chicken piccata, fish and chips, sirloin steak, and beer-battered shrimp are $11 to $13 served with a house or Caesar salad. The special menu at this traditional American steak and seafood house shaves about $4 to $8 off normal prices.
Place an early bird order between 4:30 and 6:15 p.m. daily (excluding New Year's Eve and Valentine's Day) at Prime N Wine, a retro-style steakhouse in Mason City. There's salmon with dill sauce ($12, regularly $17), prime rib ($17), spaghetti and meatballs ($12, regularly $16), and Greek-style chicken ($11, regularly $15) served with sides such as fries, baked potato, and salad or soup.
Four generations of the Cascone family have owned and operated Johnny Cascone's Italian Restaurant in Overland Park since 1954. Customers at this Italian gem can enjoy classic dishes such as homemade gnocchi, veal Parmesan, rigatoni, and baked lasagna. Choose from one of nine entrees and soup or salad for just $13 from noon to 5 p.m. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday and 3 to 6 p.m. the rest of the week. A scoop of ice cream is included. Entrees on the regular menu run between $16 and $32.
Located in downtown Owensboro in a charming 20th-century building, Colby's Fine Food & Spirits has an early evening menu served from 4 to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday with eight entrees including slow-roasted prime rib, pork chops, and grilled salmon, tuna, or tilapia. A beverage, dessert, and even tax are included in the $15 price. Early birds save at least $4 off regular menu items.
Tucked away in a park-like setting in Baton Rouge, traditional French restaurant Maison Lacour serves up a four-course meal for $32 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. daily (except for Valentine's Day, Christmas Eve, and New Year's Eve). There are six appetizers to choose from, such as gazpacho and duck pâté, as well as 10 entrees including pork tenderloin and shrimp with basil cream sauce. Salad and dessert are included. An equivalent meal off the regular menu would be at least $44.
Discounts are available from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the West Street Cafe, a casual surf-and-turf eatery in Bar Harbor, and include lobster ($20, regularly $22), broiled salmon, fried clams, sirloin tips (all $15, regularly $17), and more.
Get an entree and two sides for $10 to $14 from 4 to 6 p.m. daily at Coins Pub & Restaurant in Ocean City, about $3 to $8 off regularly priced dishes. There's a little of everything on the menu, including chicken teriyaki, fettuccine Alfredo, prime rib, and seafood marinara.
Boston's La Famiglia Giorgio's, a family-style Italian joint, specializes in large portions. An early evening menu is served Monday through Thursday from 3 to 6 p.m. and offers meals with a salad, entree, glass of wine, and dessert for just $20 a person. Regular dinner menu entrees range in price from $12 to $23.
Fresh fish, steak, and lobster are favorites at The Manitou, a new American restaurant near Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Honor. An extensive early bird menu is served daily from 4:30 to 6 p.m. and includes $12 to $16 smaller portions of house favorites served with a choice of potato or veggie and a cup of soup, coleslaw, or garden salad. Regular-priced, full-size entrees are $18 to $30.
Minneapolis' family-owned Jax Café was born in 1933, when Prohibition ended and liquor licenses started flowing again. On Sunday and Tuesday through Friday from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., the Kozlak family serves favorites including smothered chicken breast ($18), a full Polish dinner ($17), and chicken pot pie ($17) with soup or salad and a bread platter.
Small plates and salads ($3 to $7), main courses ($10 to $13), tiramisu ($5), house wine ($5), and children's items ($5 with beverage) are available until 6 p.m. at the kid-friendly Amerigo Italian Restaurant in Ridgeland. Regular dinner menu appetizers and entrees range from $5 to $29.
Kansas City gastropub Beer Kitchen offers a small but affordable early snacking menu every day from 4 to 6 p.m. Sliders and fries are just $2, deviled eggs $3, hummus $4, and flatbread pizzas are $5. Diners pay $5 to $18 for regular-priced appetizers and entrees.
Early dining options at Butte's highly rated Uptown Cafe are offered Sunday through Saturday from 5 to 6:30 p.m. and change seasonally. A choice between two main courses, such as green chili pot pie and Mexican halibut, comes with soup or salad for $14.50. Regular-priced dishes range from $13 to just over $40.
Offering new American cuisine, Omaha's Salt 88 offers a discounted menu Monday through Saturday from 3 to 6 p.m. with appetizers for $4 to $8, pizzas for $9 to $13, and spaghetti and meatballs for $11. There are also deep discounts on boozy drinks. On the regular menu, starters and main courses are $5 to $34.
The early bird menu at Mykonos Greek Cuisine in Las Vegas' Sun City is served daily from 3 to 7 p.m. It includes authentic Greek dishes such as gyros, moussaka (baked eggplant and ground beef casserole), and keftedakia (Greek-style meatballs) for $9.50. All come with rice and a small salad or soup and regularly cost between $15 and $24. Diners must buy a beverage to get the discounted price.
The family-run Old Salt Restaurant in Hampton specializes in fresh seafood and prime-cut steaks. Stop by between 3 and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday to take advantage of the three-course early dining deal for $14. Choose salad or soup and an entree, such as grilled salmon, broiled chop sirloin, and fish and chips, and save room for a choice of desserts. Appetizers and entrees are between $7 and $23 on the regular menu.
Visit Wildwood Crest's Little Italy with an empty stomach. Sunday through Friday from 4 to 5 p.m., the restaurant serves a hearty three-course menu for $14.50. Entrees such as rigatoni, manicotti, and chicken marsala come with soup or salad, dessert, and a bread basket. Pasta, meat, and seafood entrees normally cost between $14.50 and $30.50.
Ranchos De Taos' Trading Post Cafe & Gallery Italian restaurant serves $12 three-course dinners from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday that include entrees of pasta Bolognese (regularly $17.50), seafood pasta ($23), rosemary chicken ($17.50), and farfalle primavera ($16.50) among other tempting dishes.
TripAdvisor ranks Lincoln Square Steak the fifth-best restaurant in all of New York City. While the three-course menu (which includes a side) served from 5 to 6:30 p.m. daily is a bit steeper than most, at $42 per person, consider that main dishes alone range from $22 to $54 at this Upper West Side steakhouse.
Miller's Seafood & Steakhouse in Kill Devil Hills takes 20 percent off the bill if everyone is seated before 5 p.m. The deal excludes salads, sandwiches, and the children's menu. Entrees range from $16 to $34 and include dishes such as a fried seafood trio ($24), surf and turf ($27), and scallops ($28).
Monday through Friday from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Granite City Food & Brewery in Fargo, customers get $2 off a variety of savory foods, including certain flatbreads, nachos, quesadillas, and tacos starting at $5.
For a classic American fine-dining experience for less, head to Port Clinton's 1812 Food & Spirits from 4 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Entrees served with salad or soup, fresh-baked bread, and a non-alcoholic beverage range in price from $12 to $17 and include dishes such as barbecue ribs, salmon, and eggplant Parmesan. Diners pay $16 to $39 for regular-priced main courses.
Pelican's Restaurant has a little something for everyone on the early bird menu available 2 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends. Aside from the $15 petite top sirloin, everything is $12, including catfish (regularly $14), shrimp scampi (regularly $17), and grilled chicken (regularly $16). Diners get salad, fresh bread, and one side included in the price.
Located at the Inn at Spanish Head Resort Hotel in the oceanside town of Lincoln City, Fathoms Restaurant & Bar treats diners to views of the Pacific as well as early dining specials from 4 to 5:30 p.m. daily. Dishes including crabcakes, fettuccine Alfredo, Parmesan chicken, and grilled salmon can be had for $10.50 to $17.50. Dining from the standard menu costs $19 to $36 per entree.
A three-course meal is $15 to $19 at Square One Pub in New Hope from 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday through Thursday with choice of potato or rice and a vegetable. Settle in for comfort food such as meatloaf, roasted chicken, and filet mignon, and follow it with apple crisp, vanilla ice cream, or lemon sorbet. Plates range from $13 to $26 on the regular menu.
Pasta lovers in Rhode Island need look no further than Bella Pasta in Pawtucket. The daily early bird menu (4 to 6 p.m.) is $13 and comes with soup or salad, pasta or veggies, and coffee, tea, or ice cream. By comparison, it's $16 for veal Parmigiana alone from the regular menu.
Diners at Martin's Restaurant at Longbay Resort at Myrtle Beach can get great deals on dinner before 6:30 p.m. daily. Entree prices range from $11 to $17 and include soup, salad, and bread. Diners pay at least $10 more per entree from the regular menu.
The early bird menu at the Pheasant Restaurant & Lounge in Brookings may be small, but it's mighty. Monday through Thursday from 5 to 6:30 p.m., choose from taco salad, cod fillet, pork chops, and liver and onions, each just $8 and served with coleslaw, dinner roll, and baked potato or French fries.
Old World Italian meets Southern hospitality at Antonio's of Nashville. Early bird menu items are available from 4 to 6 p.m. daily, ranging in price from $10.95 to $17.95. Tempting dishes such as chicken marsala ($15, regularly $22), fettuccine ($11, regularly $19), and salmon with capers and lemon ($15, regularly $23) are served with a house salad.
Early bird plates are piled high with one meal only at Ruth's Diner in Salt Lake City: meatloaf and macaroni and cheese, a side of sautéed vegetables, and choice of soup or salad for $10.50 from 4 to 5 p.m. daily.
Get ready for a four-course Colonial dining experience at Ye Olde Tavern in Manchester from 5 to 5:59 p.m. (as the owners put it) Sunday through Friday for just $19, including coffee or tea. Entrees include stuffed shrimp (regularly $23), Yankee pot roast (regularly $19), and chicken pot pie (regularly $19).
Rockafeller's in Virginia Beach serves three-course early bird dinners for $8 to $15 from 3 to 5:30 p.m. daily, including mains such as a fried fish of the day or bistro steak and a chef's choice of salad and dessert.
Diners at Arnie's in Edmonds can take in views of the Puget Sound and snow-capped Olympic mountains while enjoying a three-course meal for $23 from 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday through Friday. Featured entrees such as roasted salmon (regularly $29), seafood fettuccine (regularly $28), and miso-grilled flank steak (regularly $26) are served alongside a starter and dessert.
A three-course, $22 early evening menu at the family-owned Chop steakhouse in Sister Bay is offered only between 5 and 5:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. But with choice of soup or salad, meaty entrees such as lamb chops (regular $25) and beef burgundy tips (regular $20), and three dessert options, few leave hungry.
Get seated before 6 p.m. at the charming Blue Lion in Jackson and enjoy a 20 percent discount on the entire bill, including drinks. Dig into entrees such as roasted rack of lamb (regularly $43), buffalo ravioli (regularly $29), and sautéed salmon (regularly $37) while enjoying a live acoustic musical performance most nights of the week.