Cheap Eats: Eating out on a budget

By Ashley Swann - bio | email

Richmond, VA (NBC 12) - If you love to eat out, but are trying to save money in these tough times, we're here to help.  We have the secrets to allow you and your family to enjoy your favorite restaurants at a fraction of the cost.

From fast-food chains, to your neighborhood bar and grill, there are plenty of deals out there to help you and your family eat out without breaking the bank.

"Restaurants know that it's a tough time, and it's kind of make or break for them.  That's
why they're out there offering specials and trying really hard to keep their food costs low," says food writer Kari Peifer.  Her first tip for eating out on a budget:  don't
limit yourself to friday and saturday nights.

"Pop in for dinner on a wednesday night or sunday night," Kari says.

Sunday thru Thursday is generally slower, so that's when you can find some great deals.
And with so many restaurant options in Richmond, we found plenty of unbelievable offers.

Cha Cha's Cantina (1419 E. Cary Street) takes two-dollars off selected entrees Monday thru Wednesdays, plus an extra 30% off for college students on Wednesday.

Strawberry Street Cafe (421 N. Strawberry Street) also offers a student discount, and a burger and quiche special that packs locals in on Monday nights.

Capital Ale House (623 E. Main Street & 4024-A Cox Road) always attracts a crowd for - get
this - dollar burgers on Mondays.  We're talking full sized, from 5 pm to closing.

And Kari says, if you're looking for a romantic, but affordable night out for two, many local restaurants - like Avenue 805 (805 N. Davis Avenue) - offer cheap date nights during the week.

"There are like 10 or 12 now that do these two for one specials or couples come in
and can eat for a flat price or do fixed meals," says Kari.
Another great place to find a deal - the Internet.  Websites like and www.halfoffdealscom allow you to purchase gift certificates to many of your favorite spots at half cost.  Simply pay and print, and a 25 dollar meal, will only cost you 10.

Kari says, "Restaurants honor those entirely and it's a great way to save money."

Another great website, if you have little ones,  From Captain D's, to Lone Star Steak House, simply log on for a great dining option for the whole family.

When it comes to ordering, Kari also has some tips to save you cash.  Watch the alcohol, skip dessert, and for your meal, she says, "Ordering appetizers is a good way to eat out on a budget or even splitting one entree doing one entree and an appetizer to share."

Bottom line, with a little planning there are plenty of options out there to help you and your family stay on budget, while supporting the restaurants you love.

"Five years from now, people are still gonna want to have their corner bar, so if you want it, go to it now," says Kari.