Sometimes January brings our budgets into focus and we look for ways to save. Whether dining out at Dallas restaurants eats up a large or a meager portion of your spending, your ears may perk up when you hear the word “free.”
Restaurant apps and loyalty programs are a great source of freebies as well as a good way to save money at the places you love to eat and drink. Does a free order of chips and queso sound good? Dozens of Dallas restaurants have jumped on the reward program craze, and some local favorites offer this cheesy starter as a perk for joining.
National Cheese Lovers Day on Thursday, Jan. 20 is a perfect day to visit some local and Dallas-born restaurants to get some free chips and queso or other cheesy goodies. This fun (if-faux) foodie holiday is just one day, but restaurant rewards and savings last all year long.
Kyle Gordon’s fixation on quesadillas for the last decade has grown into four local restaurants with a menu centered completely around the cheesy snack. Reward program members are fittingly called Dilla Diehards, and joining now gets you a free order of chips and queso.
Quesadilla options made with Dillas’ delicious cheese blend include the Bluebonnet (creamy churri, Portobello mushrooms, zucchini, roasted peppers and onions, plus spinach), the PlainO (chicken or steak) and the Gordo (ground beef, bacon, French fries and pico de gallo).
Visit the Dillas website to applaud (quesadilla) dreams come true and become a Dilla Diehard.
2008 Midway Road (Plano), 3930 Preston Road, No.140 (Frisco), 3510 W. University Dr. #102 (McKinney) and 1715 S. Loop 288 #100 (Denton)
Since opening its first location in Dallas in 2011, Velvet Taco has brought its out-there tacos to Dallas and beyond. With popular late hours and a weekly taco feature (WTF), the chain has flourished, making green chile pork, chicken and waffles, Nashville hot tofu, Kobe bacon burger and more seem equally at home in a flour or corn tortilla.
The rewards program, called The Velvet Room, just launched in December, and it rewards members for their spending on tacos and other menu items. New members get a free order of chips and queso as well as a free slice of red velvet cake for their birthday.
Sign up on the Velvet Taco website, text “velvet room” to 43618 or download the app to join.
3012 N. Henderson Ave. (Knox-Henderson/Dallas), 4622 Greenville Ave. (Upper Greenville/Dallas), 3411 McKinney Ave. (Uptown/Dallas), 11700 Preston Road, Suite 600 (North Dallas) and six other Dallas-Fort Worth locations.
If you grew up in or near Arlington in the 80s, you almost certainly ate at the first Cheddar’s restaurant, which was a hot spot in the Copeland Road-Six Flags Over Texas area. That restaurant has long been closed, but Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen, with its headquarters in Irving, has expanded to over 170 locations in 28 states.
The menu has expanded from those early days in a big way too. Classic burgers now share the menu with steaks, seafood, ribs, chicken and the comfort food we all crave. Appetizers have ascended beyond basic, but chips and queso are still as popular as ever.
Visit the Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen website to join Cheddar’s EClub, and get free chips and queso as a thank you.
39640 LBJ Freeway (South Dallas), 700 W Lyndon B Johnson Freeway (Irving), 5445 N. President George Bush Highway (Garland), 1320 N. Peachtree Road (Mesquite), 2801 Texas Sage Trail (Fort Worth), 4830 N. Little Road (Arlington) and additional locations in Bedford, The Colony, and Grand Prairie.
This year will be the 40th anniversary for On the Border, which got its start in 1982 when a single location at Knox and Travis became wildly popular for its margaritas and fajitas. Times have changed for On the Border, which now boasts over 120 nationwide (and international) locations, but chips and queso are still an essential part of the meal.
Last spring, the restaurant chain upped the ante on its rewards program with a Queso Club, in honor of the top-selling item. The club is a tier of the Border Rewards loyalty program, which earns members points and rewards for their purchases. When reward members order a bowl of chips and queso at an On the Border restaurant, they can purchase an annual membership in the program for just one dollar. That dollar will be well-spent, since Queso Club membership earns you free chips and queso every day of that year, whether you’re dining in or getting food to-go.
The Border Rewards program also offers a points-per-dollar-spent earning system, a welcome gift and birthday treat. The rewards club is free and the $1 premium queso club membership is optional. Visit On the Border’s website to sign up online.
4855 Belt Line Road (Addison), 2400 N. Belt Line Road (Irving), 1220 Market Place Blvd. (Irving) 1505 N. Central Expressway (Plano), 5960 W. Parker Road, #210 (Plano) and 15 other Dallas-Fort Worth area locations.
Restaurant goers in Dallas have had a love affair with cheese for a long time, and the longevity of Snuffer’s Restaurant and Bar, which started in 1978 is just more proof. All these years later, many of us still think of Snuffer’s as the OG when it comes to cheese fries - their cheddar fries are legendary.
It’s fitting that the rewards club for this 9-location local restaurant chain is called Cheddar Fries Nation. Members earn points toward free food rewards (think milkshakes, appetizers, burgers and more) and the welcome gift for joining is a free small cheddar fries.
Sign up on the Snuffer’s website or download the app from the App Store or Google Play.
3526 Greenville Ave. (Lower Greenville), 4180A Beltline Road (Addison), 300 W Campbell Road, #100 (Richardson) and six more area locations.
Other National Cheese Lovers Day Deals
Not every freebie we found required a rewards membership. At sports lodge chain Twin Peaks Restaurants, guests can receive free chips and queso with any $10 purchase on Thursday, Jan. 20, National Cheese Lovers Day. The offer is valid at participating locations.
Locally-loved Fireside Pies is showing their love for cheese for four days instead of just one. From Thursday, Jan. 20 through Sunday, Jan. 23, you can order Fireside Fondue ($8) in your favorite Fireside Pies location. You can also order Burrata Pie ($10) or get a combo of both for $16.
Four locations will also have “cheesy” balloon wall installations to let you show your Instagram followers how much you love cheese.
2820 N Henderson Ave. (Knox-Henderson/Dallas), 6750 Abrams Road #105 (Lake Highlands/Dallas), 1285 S Main St. (Grapevine) And 2949 Crockett St. (Fort Worth)
Greenville Avenue Pizza Company (GAPco) has been known to come up with some pretty crazy, yet delicious pies as limited time pizza offerings. For National Cheese Lovers Day, they’ve come up with what might be their cheesiest idea yet.
If you are an overachiever when it comes to loving cheese, this 10-cheese pizza is going to help you reach your goals. Made with Grande whole milk mozzarella, GAPCo's mozzarella blend, gouda, feta, fire cheese, goat cheese, ricotta, Parmesan, cheddar and Grande flor di latte, this pie is called the Cheese X. All those cheeses are topped with a sprinkle of oregano and of course, GAPCo’s famous pizza crack.
The Cheese X pizza is available in a 12-inch ($25) or 16-inch ($28) size at any GAPCo location from Thursday, Jan. 20 through Sunday, Jan. 23.
1923 Greenville Ave. (Lowest Greenville/Dallas), 1145 Peavy Road (East Dallas), and 520 Lockwood Dr., #200 (Richardson)