Growing older has its perks, including retirement, time spent with grandchildren and senior discounts at restaurants.
Steve and Denise Massaro of Centereach— he’s 69, she’s 65 — say that in addition to taking advantage of senior discounts, they look on Groupon for deals.
They’ll give restaurants their email address to stay in the know about holiday specials, birthday promos, lunch specials and dinner deals. Natalie Birnbaum, 77, of Bellmore and Joseph Cirina, 86, of Freeport said they eat breakfast out every day, and dinner one night a week. “We go where the spirit moves us,” said Birnbaum. And “I save money by allowing my boyfriend to treat me,” she added with a chuckle.
Phyllis Galietta, 83, of Port Jefferson Station frequents Zan’s Kosher Deli in Lake Grove because of its Supper Club 60 program, which includes a “nutritionally sound” meal for less than $5.
“At Zan’s, they don’t treat you as if you’re getting a discount,” Galietta says. “They treat you as a person,” and that’s what brings her back, she says. “I like to go to Wendy’s, too, because it gives a free soda.”
Erich, 71, and Pam Linker, 73, of West Hempstead said they save on the tab by not ordering coffee and dessert and bringing their own wine so they pay only the corkage fee.
Here’s a sampling of Long Island restaurants that offer senior discounts.
Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar: Diners 55 and older can apply for a Golden Apple Card, which guarantees a 10 percent discount between 2 and 5 p.m. The discount applies only to the senior’s order, not the entire party’s check, the 2-for-$20 menu, alcohol, half-price appetizers or any other already-discounted menu promotions. More info: applebees.com
Bonefish Grill (340 Sunrise Hwy., Rockville Centre): With proof of an AARP membership, your check is 10 percent less at lunch, dinner or Sunday brunch. The discount, available daily, applies to promotional menus as well, but not to alcohol. By signing up for its rewards program, all customers become eligible for 50 percent off during every fourth visit. The casual seafood chain’s menu includes saucy shrimp and grits, Chilean sea bass, ahi tuna sashimi and cold-water lobster tails, as well as non-seafood dishes. More info: 516-766-1238, bonefishgrill.com
Boston Market: Patrons of the fast-casual chain age 60 and older are eligible for a discount of 5 to 10 percent on their total order, including beverages. The offer varies by location, and is valid in Nassau and Suffolk for both dine-in and takeout orders. The menu includes rotisserie chicken, meatloaf, ribs, turkey and side dishes. More info: bostonmarket.com
Denny's: This all-day breakfast spot makes it easy for seniors to save, in more ways than one: There’s a daily 55-plus menu that includes scrambled eggs and Cheddar breakfast, Belgian waffles, loaded veggie omelet, club sandwich, country-fried steak, grilled chicken and grilled tilapia — with both smaller portions and budget-friendly options. Additionally, AARP members get 15 percent off their entire bill, including the 55-plus menu items. The senior discount cannot be combined with coupons, birthday promotions or other discounts, and may be subject to restrictions. There are Denny’s in Centereach, North Babylon and Carle Place. More info: dennys.com
Eric's Italian Bistro (70 E. Old Country Rd., Mineola): Chef and owner George Echeverria, whose résumé includes Soigné in Woodmere and Panama Hatties/Amicale in Huntington Station, offers 10 percent off the check for diners 60 and older. The discount includes food and drinks from the regular lunch and dinner menus only (not valid on daily specials, prix-fixe lunch menus, happy hour or during Restaurant Week). Available daily for catering, takeout and delivery. Choose from contemporary and classic Italian dishes, such as spaghetti with meatballs, chicken Parmigiana, filet of sole Francese or wild mushroom risotto. More info: 516-280-5675, ericsbistro.com
Friendly's: The “Senior Specials” section of the Friendly’s menu is devoted to guests 60 and older and includes smaller portions of some regular menu items, plus a sweet treat. There are eight meals to choose from, such as the classic lemon pepper fish, turkey club super melt, tuna roll, all-American cheeseburger and grilled cheese and tomato basil soup. All dinner entrees come with a free small sundae, and cost $10.99 or less (excluding tax). Free breakfast beverage or small sundae with lunch or dinner when ordering off the regular menu, too, although prices are not discounted. Senior discount also applies to takeout and delivery orders. Available daily. Customers who frequent the chain can sign up for its BFF Club to receive coupons, free birthday sundaes and more. More info: friendlys.com
Ihop: The 55-plus menu features 14 entrees priced at less than $13, including two eggs, toast, hash browns and either bacon or sausage; omelets; pancakes; BLTs; grilled chicken and roast turkey dinners. Policy varies by location. The 55-plus menu is offered all day, every day at the chain’s multiple locations throughout Nassau and Suffolk. No discounts on regular menu items. More info: ihop.com
Johnny McGorey's Pub (131 Front St., Massapequa Park): Besides an extensive menu including wings, steak, burgers, sandwiches, wraps and pasta, this Irish pub offers 20 percent off items ordered by those 65 and older, Mondays through Fridays until 5 p.m., dine-in only. The discount does not apply to prix-fixe menus, specials or alcohol. The pub also offers daily specials, including 20-cent boneless wings and $6 mini pies on Mondays; $6 appetizers, $5 tap beers and $6 crocks of chili on “Taps and Apps Tuesdays”; $2 chicken or steak tacos, $3 cod tacos, $18 Corona or Corona Light buckets (five beers) and $5 margaritas on “Taco Thursdays.” More info: 516-797-8584, johnnymcgoreyspub.com
KFC: KFCs in Suffolk and Nassau offer a choice of 10 percent off the check or a free medium drink with the purchase of a meal for diners 55 and older. The discount is available all day, every day. In addition, there’s a $5 Fill Ups promo (crispy Colonel sandwich, potato wedges, chocolate chip cookie and a medium drink for $5) and $20 Fill Ups (choice of eight-piece original chicken, six-piece boneless chicken breasts, 12-piece chicken tenders or eight-piece extra-crispy chicken, plus large coleslaw, four biscuits and two large mashed potatoes and gravy). More info: kfc.com
Krisch's Restaurant & Ice Cream Parlour (11 Central Ave., Massapequa): One of Long Island’s oldest ice-cream parlors, Krisch’s offers 10 percent off items ordered by those 65 and older on Wednesdays. In addition to its sweets menu, Krisch’s menu also includes savory dishes, such as pizza burgers, pork sliders, tortilla shredded chicken chili, French toast and eggs. Discount available for dine-in and takeout. Bonus: On Mondays, the shop offers a 10 percent discount to veterans. More info: 516-797-3149
Outback Steakhouse: Steaks, seafood, salads and sides are available for 10 percent off the entire party’s check every day with proof of an AARP membership (at participating locations). Not valid for alcohol and promotional menus. By signing up for its rewards program, all customers become eligible for 50 percent off during every fourth visit. More info: outback.com
Zan's Kosher Deli (135 Alexander Ave., Lake Grove): Every week, 350 to 400 seniors visit Zan’s for its Supper Club 60 program, which the Suffolk County Office for the Aging has been running for about 20 years. The program, valid Mondays through Thursdays from 3 to 4:30 p.m., provides guests 60 and older with a “nutritionally sound” meal of their choice: half a sandwich and soup combo with fries, coleslaw, a pickle, beverage and dessert, or the meal of the day, typically a hot meal, such as meatloaf with mashed potatoes or peas and carrots (beverage and dessert included) for a $4.75 contribution. Interested diners should fill out a form at the restaurant. Dine-in only. Additionally, Zan’s offers a separate 10 percent senior discount off the entire bill, drinks included, Monday to Friday before 4 p.m.; discount cannot be combined with other offers. Available for takeout and dine-in. More info: 631-979-8770, zans-deli.com
OTHER WAYS TO SAVE
Senior or not, here are some ways to save a few dollars the next time you eat out:
Look for deals on apps: Local Flavor and Living Social, much like Groupon, offer deals at local restaurants, as well as other areas of interest.
Restaurant Week: Many Long Island restaurants participate in Restaurant Week, where patrons can dine at dozens of restaurants for a fixed price.
Be conscious of what you order: Instead of ordering soda, juice or iced tea, stick to water; don’t over-order appetizers and entrees; and split dishes when possible.
Inquire about discounted menus: Head out for lunch, when prices are cheaper, instead of dinner. Ask about happy hours, early-bird specials, late-night menus and weekly specials.