Happy Valentine's Day and Galentine's Day to all. The fourth best thing about this holiday — after love, romance, and the discounted candy that will go on sale tomorrow — is all the places you can get free food this Valentine's Day (or cheap food. Deals work, too). There are plenty of places partaking in this special day of love, and they want to share the joy — whether you're single or taken. Because let's be honest with each other: Everybody loves food.
Despite having the reputation as a "greeting card holiday" (lies!), Valentine's Day has a history all its own — although admittedly, there are a few versions of how this romantic holiday came to be. One legend says that it's based off of a priest named Valentine in third century Rome. Valentine continued performing marriages even when Emperor Claudius II outlawed them because single men made better soldiers. Claudius got wind of Valentine's actions and put him to death. Another story says Valentine was killed for helping Christians escape terrifying Roman prisons. Yet another claims that when he was imprisoned, Valentine fell in love with a young girl who visited him, and sent her the very first "valentine."
Even the date of Valentine's Day has different meanings. One theory for how it came to be Feb. 14 dates back to the Middle Ages, when people in France and England believed that Feb. 14 was the beginning of birds' mating season.
These days, though, we're less concerned with it origins and more concerned with celebrating appropriately. Whether you're on a budget or you're simply looking to score some cheap eats (who isn't?!), here are some places to check out today on Valentine's Day that are wallet-friendly.
Purchase one regular entree and get one free — but you have to give a kiss at the register to prove your worthiness. Qdoba doesn't care if it's a significant other, friend, relative, or the UPS delivery man. Share a smooch with a consenting partner and the second entree is on the house.
Bonus: Through tomorrow (Feb. 15), Qdoba will donate $1 to No Kid Hungry for every kissing photo shared on social media with the hashtag #QdobaForAKiss.
2. California Pizza Kitchen
Head to CPK with a special someone and get one appetizer, two entrees, and one dessert for just $35. Do you even understand how much food that is? Get me some spinach artichoke dip pronto.
3. TGI Fridays
Grab dinner for two for $30, plus half-priced bottles of wine. This makes me so hungry.
4. White Castle
White Castle always has budget-friendly meal options; but compared to other similar places, they celebrate Valentine's Day in style. On this day every year, they offer table-side service — but seating is limited and they require a reservation. Fancy!
Hooters' Valentine's Day is a little less, uh, conventional. With their "Shred Your Ex" campaign, you can, well, shred your ex online or at a location. By doing so, you get 10 wings free when you buy 10.
6. Pizza Hut
Pizza Hut has a $13.99 Valentine Bundle that includes a heart-shaped pizza (!!!) with one topping, plus your choice of dessert. Yes and yes.
7. Caribou Coffee
BOGO sale alert! Buy one beverage, get one free. Caribou is even spreading the love tomorrow (Wednesday): Save your receipt and grab a $3.50 medium handcrafted drink.
8. Macaroni Grill
For Valentine's Day, a three-course prix fixe menu is only $24 per person. This includes your choice of antipasti, entree, and dolce.
9. Papa Murphy's
Get a heart-shaped pizza for as little as $8. Since I could probably finish this myself (no shame), you can also grab a large for just $3 more. How romantic.
10. Outback Steakhouse
Starting at $42 for two, Outback's Bloomin' With Love For Two special includes one Bloomin' Onion (OMG yes), two entrees, two salads, two sides, a piece of cheesecake, and the Love Potion Cocktail for just $5 extra. Grilled salmon? Why, don't mind if I do.
11. Honorable Mentions
While there isn't exactly a deal going on, there are a couple other places you can get delicious Valentine's Day treats. Dunkin' Donuts has the most adorable Brownie Batter Crumble and Chocolate-Covered Raspberry Heart doughnuts.
Also, ending today, Starbucks has their Molten Chocolate Trio: the Molten Hot Chocolate, the Molten Chocolate Latte, and the Molten Chocolate Frappuccino.