Money-Savin’ Mama’s Guide to F-M Birthday Specials

This month, the SheSays section of The Forum is celebrating its first birthday. It seemed like a good excuse to tackle a story I’ve been intrigued by for awhile: Where in town can you get freebies for your b-day?

I’ll be honest, it was an overwhelming task to call as many restaurants as I could think of in Fargo, Moorhead and West Fargo. After four days and 145 establisments, I wrote on Facebook that I felt like I’d run a marathon on my phone, and have hit the wall at mile 25.

“This is why I get paid the medium bucks,” I wrote.

So in hopes of preserving my marathon-like effort, I’m posting the piece her for posterity. I’d like to keep it updated, so if you hear of a birthday promotion in town, let me know.

What a deal: Check out these special birthday bargains
By: Sherri Richards, INFORUM

With SheSays celebrating its birthday today, I’ve been on the look-out for ways to celebrate. My criteria: Free. Food.

Last week, I called more than 150 restaurants in the Fargo-Moorhead metro area, searching out the best birthday promotions. It turns out lots offer a little something extra on the anniversary of your birth.

While this list includes only free restaurant promotions, there are other deals to be had. Some bars I called give a free drink or shot to birthday patrons. Several coffee shops have birthday specials. Toys R Us mails out small gift cards before your child’s birthday.

My new rule: If it’s your birthday, it doesn’t hurt to ask.

Here’s the fine print: Offers are subject to change. Some freebies, especially dessert, require a purchase. There may be a price limit on complimentary items. You’ll need to provide proof that it’s your birthday, so bring ID.

Did I miss your favorite restaurant’s birthday freebie? Know of a great deal outside Fargo-Moorhead? Email, and I’ll update this guide.

The free meal

The gold standard of birthday freebies, several local restaurants comp your meal on your birthday. Bon appetit, birthday boy/girl!

Big D’s Bar and Grill: Free meal
Denny’s: Free Grand Slam breakfast
Grand Junction: Free sub
Grazies Italian Grill: Free meal
Hooters: Free meal (up to $10)
IHOP: Free meal (up to $10)
Mexican Village: Free meal with purchase of entrée (equal or greater value)
Old Broadway Grill: Free meal with purchase of entrée (5 to 10 p.m. Mondays during birthday month)
Paradiso: Free meal
Valentino’s: Free buffet with purchase of buffet

Meal deal

These places offer a discount for birthday guests, or gift cards good for use at a later date.

101 Sushi: $15 gift card (with group of 5 or more adults). Otherwise, free deep-fried bananas.
Acapulco Mexican Restaurant: Half-price meal and free sopapillas
Broadway Classic Subs: Half-price sub
China Garden: $2 off buffet
Gallery Restaurant at Holiday Inn: $15 off fine dining entrée (after 5:30 p.m.)
Giant Panda: Half-price meal
Kobe Japanese Cuisine: $15 gift card and free dessert at end of meal (evening only)
Mango’s: Half-price meal
Speak Easy: $10 gift card (no purchase required)
Speedway: Half-price meal
Spitfire: $10 off any entree
Super Buffet: Half-price meal

Join the club

Lots of national chains and even some local establishments send birthday coupons to members of their loyalty or rewards clubs. They’re free to join and get you other deals throughout the year. Just visit the restaurant’s website or ask for a card in the store. An added bonus: Most of these coupons give you a week or more to redeem the free item, stretching out the celebration, though you must sign up in advance.

Arby’s: Free menu item (coupon varies)
Boppa’s Bagels: $8 toward sandwich and drink
Cold Stone Creamery: Buy one, get one free creation
Culver’s: Free sundae (on birthday only)
Dickey’s Barbecue Pit: Free drink or barbecue
Divots at Edgewood: Buy one entrée and beverages, get one entrée free
Erbert and Gerbert’s: Free sandwich
Green Mill: Free menu item (otherwise free dessert on birthday)
HuHot Mongolian Grill: Free meal (if register on birthday, free cheesecake or sake bomb)
Moe’s Southwest Grill: Free burrito or entrée
Noodles and Co.: Free meal
Old Chicago: Free pizza (otherwise free dessert on birthday)
Pizza Ranch: $5 off, plus $5 in reward points (kids get free meal on birthday)
Qdoba: Buy one burrito, get one free
Ruby Tuesday: Free burger (otherwise free cupcake on birthday)
Schlotzsky’s: Free sandwich
Smashburger: Free shake
Smiling Moose Deli: Free sandwich or salad (automatically deducted when swipe rewards card)
Spicy Pie: Free slice of pizza and soda (Facebook coupon)
Texas Roadhouse: Free appetizer
The Pita Pit: Free pita

Sweet deals

Forty-one restaurants not already mentioned said they offer birthday guests a free dessert, with some giving the option of a free drink to guests 21 and older. Most required purchase of an entrée. Some places were specific about which dessert you get. Here are some other “sweet” deals.

Cherry Berry: Free yogurt up to 12 ounces
Goodfellas: Free dessert pizza (or personal pan)
Perkins Family Restaurant: Free strawberry pancakes (or slice of pie)
Sandy’s Donuts: Free donut
Tutti Frutti: Free yogurt up to 12 ounces

Worth mentioning

Chuck E Cheese: 12 free tokens
Godfather’s Pizza: Free mini pizza
Pizza Hut (sit-down): Free personal one-topping pizza (children only, call ahead)