Restaurant specials help fill your belly without emptying your wallet

The light at the end of the tunnel looks a little less like an oncoming train these days, but we’re far from singing “Happy Days Are Here Again,” especially in Las Vegas.

For that reason, dining discounts are growing like morels after a spring rain as restaurant owners struggle to regain their pre-recessionary customer counts. Many high-end restaurants have introduced happy-hour-type offerings in their bars, but even family-style restaurants and dinner houses are drawing up the discounts to get customers coming back.

Hence, the following list, opening with a few caveats:

First, this is not intended as a complete list of midrange restaurant discounts in the valley, but only a smattering of what’s out there.

Second, most of the chain discounts apply to participating locations, and other exclusions and limitations may apply.

Third, many restaurants that have Web sites will e-mail you discounted offers if you’ll just disclose to them your electronic address.

And fourth, let’s not forget the casinos, especially the locals’ casinos. Most of them offer dining discounts for points earned on club cards, and some offer bonuses just for signing up.

All of that said, here is a selection of dining discounts available locally.

Applebee’s, multiple locations: Ultimate Trios, three trio-sized appetizers for $10.99; 2 for $20, one appetizer and two entrees for $20; and Pick ‘N Pair lunch combos, soup or salad and sandwich or pasta starting at $5.99.

Big Dog’s, multiple locations: $10 off food and beverage (on minimum purchase of $25) with coupon from the Las Vegas Review-Journal, through April 17.

Chapala’s Mexican Restaurant, 2101 S. Decatur Blvd. and 3331 E. Tropicana Ave.: Buy one dinner and get one free, after 4 p.m. daily except holidays, with coupon from the Review-Journal.

Chili’s, multiple locations: Fresh Pairings, pick an appetizer and an entree for $9.99; free order of chips and queso for joining Chili’s E-mail Club.

Claim Jumper, multiple locations: Sign up kids 12 and younger for the birthday club, and they get a gift just for joining, and for their birthday, a certificate for a free Little Jumper’s meal.

Denny’s, multiple locations: $2, $4, $6, $8 Value Menu available at breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert and late night; kids eat free, 4 to 10 p.m.; and a free Grand Slam on your birthday.

Domino’s Pizza, multiple locations: Two medium two-topping pizzas for $5.99 each, with a two-pizza minimum.

Gallo’s Pizza Kitchen, 3250 N. Tenaya Way: $6.99 lunch specials and $9.99 dinner specials daily.

Gordon Biersch, multiple locations: Happy hour daily from 3 to 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. to closing, with food priced at $5 to $8.

Marie Callender’s, multiple locations: Kids eat free Tuesdays and Saturdays except holidays, with one free kids’ meal for every adult entree purchased.

Mimi’s Cafe, multiple locations: Free breakfast entree with purchase of a breakfast entree for joining e-club; order online and get a coupon for a free starter when you pick it up; a fixed-price two-course lunch menu for $9.99; and a three-course dinner menu for $12.99.

Original Pancake House, multiple locations: Tuesdays through Thursdays through April 15, order four entrees and beverages and get two entrees free, cash only, with coupon from Review-Journal.

P.F. Chang’s, multiple locations: Food and drink specials from $3 to $6 from 3 to 6 p.m. daily in the bar and dining room.

Papa John’s, multiple locations: All large pizzas, your choice of toppings (including specialty pizzas), $10 each; get a free 20-ounce Coke Zero when ordering any two Coca-Cola products.

Pizza Hut, multiple locations: Any pizza, any size, any crust, any toppings, $10; Tuscani Tuesdays, $10 for two pans of pasta with five breadsticks on Tuesdays; three or more medium one-topping Pizza Mia pizzas, $5 each; get $4 off online order of $20 or more; and a special to get pasta for two with breadsticks, $7.99. (Possibly more offers, depending on individual location; check www.pizzahut.com.)

Romano’s Macaroni Grill, multiple locations: Mediterranean Lunch Menu starting at $6.99.

Ruby Tuesday, 1220 N. Town Center Drive and 865 W. Craig Road: Steak and lobster on Tuesdays for $13.99; get a $19.99 per person dinner for two all day Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Santora’s Sunset Bar & Grill, 4401 E. Sunset Road, Henderson: $5 off food or beverage on minimum purchase of $25 with coupon from the R-J through April 30.

TGI Friday’s, multiple locations: Starter, entree and dessert for $12.99 from special menu.

3 Tomatoes and a Mozzarella, 945 W. Craig Road (this location only): Two for $20, one appetizer and two entrees from special menu, available after 5 p.m. daily; $7.50 lunch specials.

Contact reporter Heidi Knapp Rinella at hrinella@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0474.

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