Eating Out on a Recession Budget

If your family is anything like mine, you’ve been hit fairly hard by he recession, and have had to make sacrifices to make ends meet. Rather than giving up dining out entirely, we’ve discovered some really handy resources for stretching your dining dollars in Columbus. These work for us, and may work for your family as well. I’ll also post this as a permanent page (accessible on the sidebar), and update that periodically as I get new information.

If you are aware of a deal/coupon/site/tip that I’ve missed, please comment on this post with the details.

GIFT CERTIFICATES

  • Dine Originals
    A group of local independent restaurant owners, offers (on a quarterly basis), discounted gift certificates to member restaurants. 30-50% savings for many of Columbus’ most popular restaurants. Certificates are good for six months from date of purchase.
  • Sunny 95 Online Outlet
    Which offers discounted (50% off ) gift certificates to many central Ohio restaurants. First come first served, and they are replenished each Friday morning at 9:30AM.
  • Fox 28 Good Day Columbus Dining Out Deals
    Offers discounted ($50 gift certificates for $25 plus S&H, occasionally will have certificates on clearance for $15 + S&H for a $50 gift certificate). Each Friday at 7am, 100 certificates for the restaurant of the week are released. There are always plenty of unsold certificates for previous week’s offers.
  • Restaurant.com

    Offers discounted ($25 gift certificates for $10, $10 gift certificates for $3) gift certificates that you print out on your own computer. Be sure to check the terms of conditions of each individual certificate before purchasing. There’s a special coupon code (which ends today) that allows you go get an additional 80% off the price of a gift certificate. Enter coupon code DINE at check out.

DINING CARDS/BOOKS

  • Prestige Dining Club
    Dining book & card, allows you to get buy one get one free entrees at participating restaurants (list of restaurants can be found here). Current promotion allows you to buy a single membership for $59.95, or 2 memberships for $39.95 each.
  • Save on all the things you love to do!
    Entertainment is a book that has both coupons and a punch-card. Runs the gamut from discounts on fast food to independent restaurants, to goods and services and activities around town. Offers differ with each restaurant – some may offer a free entree with the purchase of one, where others may just offer a discounted dollar amount or percentage off your bill. Their current offer, which expires at the end of March, allows you to purchase the Entertainment book for 50% off it’s normal price.

COUPON SITES

  • State Coupons, which offers discount coupons for several local restaurants
  • 360 Columbus, has a page of coupons for Columbus restaurants
  • Valpak, offers 200+ (including restaurants) coupons for the Columbus metro area

COLUMBUS DINING DEALS

  • The Refectory offers a bistro menu, where you can get 3 courses (with 2 choices for each course) for $23.95, offered Mondays through Thursdays in their lounge. Bistro menus for the current week can be seen here. Temporarily, during the winter, they’re also extending the Bistro menu to early on Friday and Saturday evenings (Friday 5-7pm, Saturday 5-6:30pm).
  • Basi Italia is currently offering a Happy Hour Deal – from 5-6:30 Monday through Thursdays, you can get half off of Basi’s dinner menu. Call 614.294.7383 to make a reservation.
  • From March 9th through 15th of this year, Dine Originals Columbus will be hosting Restaurant Week, where all 42 member restaurants will be offering either a $15 or $30 fixed price menu. A list of participating restaurants and menus can be seen here.
  • Katzinger’s is offering Recession Relief in the month of March – Corned Beef Monday has all sandwiches with corned beef (including the Reuben) discounted to $7.50 for the big one, $8.95 for the huge one; Turkey Tuesday has the same deal for sandwiches with turkey – $7.50 for the big one, $8.95 for the huge one. And make sure to get your free deli pickle with your sandwich. 🙂 Their sandwich menu can be found here.

MISCELLANEOUS HINTS AND TIPS

  • If you tend to dine out at chain restaurants rather than at independents, purchase gift certificates beforehand at Giant Eagle. For each $50 you spend, you get .20 per gallon off a tank of gas at Giant Eagle GetGo stations.

If you are associated with a restaurant who is offering a recession special or coupon or other dining deal, and would like it listed here, please forward the details to columbusfoodieATgmailDOTcom and I’ll update this posting to include your listing.

6 thoughts on “Eating Out on a Recession Budget

  1. Thomas Smith, Chef

    I just wanted to let you know a few things that we at the Worthington Inn are doing to help our customers out during these hard times. We have added some lower cost "lighter Fare" items to our existing dinner menu, they range in price from 9-12 dollars. We also have a great happy hour with $2 beers, $2 off glass pour wines and all our pub food is half price from 5-7 daily. Examples of pub fare are: Grilled flat bread pizza, only $5 at happy hour, BBQ local pork sliders, Artichoke and spinach dip, $4.50 and 5 other choices. We make everything in house and all the same high quality ingredients on our pub menu as on our dinning room menus, so I believe people are really getting there money's worth. On another note I love your blog and am a long time reader.

    THANKS

  2. kim b

    I have bought the prestige dining club membership for the past two years. We have saved so much money and have learned about some really great restaurants we never ate before. I know it sounds like a lot of money for a membership but with places like G. Michaels Bistro, Polaris Grill, Sage and many other fairly pricey restaurants, you get your moneys worth very quickly.

  3. cosplay

    Wow! I'm blown away. I accidentally stumbled upon your blog (just today). I'm like a kid in a candy store as you seem to love my favorite subject! Cooking, recipes and sharing. I will mark this as a favorite. I live in Maine, around the Portland area. I'm a paralegal and love to cook in my spare time. (even when the time reallyisn't "spare" time). I will be back to visit. Let's get to 200 messages very soon! Enjoy and thank you for the warm welcome. Donna from Maine

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