THOUGHT FOR FOOD: Kids Eat Free Mid-Week

| August 5, 2013 | 1 Comment | Thought for Food

By Andrea Ragonese

I am a mom of three growing boys (ages 5, 7 and 9) who are always hungry. Honestly, I should have named my youngest one “Hungry” because whenever he meets someone, the first words out of his mouth are, “I’m Hungry.” Because of this, I have to keep my purse strings tight and rarely take the entire family out to eat. However, when I do, I am looking for the best possible deal.

Hence, I have compiled my own list of local restaurants where “Kids Eat Free” (usually with the purchase of an adult entrée, but some other restrictions may apply).

Early and mid-week are some of the best times to get deals on kids’ meals. Restaurants know they are going to get enough traffic from Thursday through the weekend, so do not expect great deals during those peak days. However, Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the perfect days for kids to eat free.

While researching these restaurants, I have learned that trying to combine the “Kids Eat Free” deal with another savings options, such as one previously purchased online from Living Social or Groupon, or with a coupon clipped from the newspaper or savings book, does not usually work. (Restaurants need to make money too.) However, it doesn’t hurt to ask as soon as you are seated at your table.

Therefore, before you assume any deal is valid, make sure you ask your server or the restaurant manager. You can also ask them how to maximize your savings. Management should be willing to help a polite and courteous customer if they want you to become a a repeat customer.

In the case of a restaurant where you are served a meal, make sure to tip on the total amount before the discount. Your server has likely worked very hard to cater to the needs of your family (and has given you the night off from cooking and doing dishes). Plus, tips are an essential part of their take-home income, so make sure to show them your appreciation!

Here are some mid-week deals for children:


IHOP | $$ | Dine-In / 55+

Virginia Gateway, 7495 Iron Bar Lane, Gainesville, Va. 20155-2994, Tel: (571) 261-1709

Tuesdays from 4-9 p.m. IHOP is located on Iron Bar Lane. If that sounds unfamiliar, you can find it in the Virginia Gateway Shopping Center off U.S. 29 and Linton Hall Road in Gainesville right near Starbucks and Grafton Street.

IHOP offers a free kid’s meal Tuesdays with the purchase of any regular-priced entrée, actually two kids’ meals per adult entrée. Drinks are $0.99. Additionally, they provide a free junior sundae upon request with kids’ meals only. Children must be 12 or under. No coupons needed.

BONUS: Activities and crafts for the kids in the dining room.

IHOP is a perfect match for all the members of my household, especially since I am a bit of a sucker for “Breakfast for Dinner.” Plus, I love to have someone else make me an omelet with fresh ingredients and crispy hash-browned potatoes, so I don’t have to do it myself.

My retired mother is impressed by their appetizing 55+ menu as she is also watching her budget. IHOP is very kid-friendly from the crayons and the activity placemats at the table to the extensive kids’ menu.

My boys’ favorite meal is the “Create-A-Face Pancakes.” This meal keeps them entertained and engaged in their meal long after the food has arrived since the meal comes with yogurt in a tube with which the boys can use to decorate their pancakes. Since yogurt has calcium and protein in it, I don’t get too concerned if they get a bit messy. After all, isn’t that what wet wipes were invented for?

Chick-fil-A | $ | Eat-In / Carry-Out / Drive Thru / Catering

9939 Sowder Village Square, Manassas, Va. 20109, Tel: (703) 365-9292

Tuesdays from 5-7 p.m. Chick-fil-A is on Route 28 in Sowder Village Square Shopping Center (near Super Target), which is technically in Manassas, but we have fondly considered it a part of Bristow.

Chick-fil-A offers a free kid’s meal with purchase of any adult combo meal (one per adult entree). Offer for kid’s menu items only. Children must be 12 or under. No coupons needed.

BONUS: Friday nights in the summer are FREE movie nights. Check their website for a complete listing.

We don’t use the drive-thru very much, but if I am going to stop for a quick bite to eat, my choice is always Chick-fil-A. They have menu items that please the entire family. My mother absolutely loves their diet lemonade. As a mom, I love that the kids’ meals come with applesauce, milk and a book. Yum, my mouth is watering just thinking about their fresh and hot waffle fries!

Baja Bistro | $$ | Eat-In / Carry-Out / Delivery

Bristow Center Shopping Center, 11707 Nokesville Road, Bristow, Va. 20136, Tel: (703) 335-1828

Tuesdays from 5-9 p.m. Baja Bistro is at the intersection of Nokesville and Linton Hall roads in Bristow Center Shopping Center. Kids are special at Baja Bistro. They eat free with the purchase of an adult entree and drink when dining on Tuesdays (one per adult entree). Children must be 12 or under.


Ledo Pizza| $$ | Eat-In / Carry-Out / Catering / Alcohol

7547 Somerset Crossing Drive, Gainesville, Va. 20155, Tel: (571) 261-5522

Wednesdays all day. Ledo Pizza is located in the Somerset Crossing Shopping Center in Gainesville. Kids eat for free all day (one child per adult). At Ledo’s Pizza, families can enjoy pizza or traditional NY-style Italian dishes, such as pasta in a family-friendly casual atmosphere.

Buffalo Wild Wings | $$ | Dine-In / Carry-Out / Alcohol

Virginia Gateway, 5143 Wellington Road, Gainesville, Va. 20155-4053, Tel: (703) 754-7017

Wednesdays all day. Buffalo Wild Wings is in Virginia Gateway Shopping Center in Gainesville off Wellington and Linton Hall roads. There, kids’ meals are just $1.99 all day Wednesday. Offer applies to kids’ meals only. Children must be 12 or under.

Buffalo Wild Wings is a sports bar with a fun, lively atmosphere. The inside is dark with bright gold and there are several TVs on the wall tuned in to popular local and popular national sports teams. Servers dress in football jerseys, and customers can order from a variety of chicken wings and boneless wings in sweet and savory sauces.

I would bring the kids early, before more of the “sports bar” vibe takes over from the “family” vibe, but if you go during regular dinner hours, you should be fine, especially in Gainesville where everything is so family-friendly anyway.


Andrea Ragonese is a wife, mother, engineer-turned-chef and independent business owner, running a household of six in Bristow. She is a self-described “foodie” and “geek” in a variety of subjects. While Andrea tries to manage her family on a tight-budget, she tries to maximize the fun they can have in Northern Virginia without breaking the bank. She hopes some of the strategies she has found to do so prove useful to others.


Establishments featured in this article are chosen independently of whether or not they advertise with Bristow Beat media.

© 2013, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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Category: Thought for Food

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  1. wentworth green says:

    Qdoba also has free kids meals on Sundays and Tuesdays with purchase of adult meal.

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