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Unpacking "2-For" Restaurant Menus: 3 Cheaper Dinner Options

Updated on December 14, 2013
According to the average cost of eating out per month is $232.  Some families spend more.
According to the average cost of eating out per month is $232. Some families spend more. | Source

What Is A "2-For" Dinner?

A "2-For" dinner is perfect for a couple or family that enjoys eating out but does not quite have the money to do so. "2-For" specials include a combination of appetizer(s) and main entrees for a certain price - usually $10 or $20. So if you are a flexible eater who is willing to try some new plates you can make out pretty well and enjoy a full belly with a trimmer bill at the end.

Three major restaurant chains have recognized the need to offer affordable dinner deals with tasty options. So what is for cheap dinner tonight? Applebees's, T.G.I.Fridays, and Chili's are three great options.

(Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with any of these restaurants. I'm just a food lover who likes to eat out for a cheap price.)

Just out of curiosity...

How much was your last restaurant bill?

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spinach and artichoke dip
spinach and artichoke dip

2 for $20 Menu: 1 Appetizer + 2 Entrees

Here are your 2 for $20 options. You can choose 1 appetizer and 2 entrees from the following:

Appetizers (choose 1):

  • Boneless Wings
  • Mozzarella Sticks
  • Crunchy Onion Rings
  • Spinach and Artichoke Dip
  • Queso Blanco (fancy Spanish name for nacho chips and cheese dip)

Entrees (choose 2):

  • Honey Pepper Chicken and Shrimp (with potatoes and string beans)
  • Three-Cheese Chicken Penne
  • Oriental Chicken Salad (grilled or crispy)
  • Creamy Parmesan Chicken (*Weight Watchers friendly, with spinach and mushroom rice)
  • 7 oz. House Sirloin
  • Riblet Basket (ribs and Fries)
  • Chicken Tender Basket (tenders and Fries)

My thoughts: I like the Applebee's deal. It offers a Weight Watcher friendly meal and a couple meals that the kids will like too.


spinach florentine flatbread
spinach florentine flatbread

T.G.I.Friday's 2 for $10 Menu: 1 Appetizer + 1 Entree

Here are your 2 for $10 options. You can choose 1 appetizer and 2 entrees from the following:

Appetizers (choose 1):

  • Garlic & Basil Bruschetta
  • Spinach Florentine Flatbread
  • Crispy Green Bean Fries
  • Fried Mozzarella (mozzarella sticks)
  • Classic Wedge Salad

Entrees (choose 1):

  • Jack Daniel's Petite Sirloin
  • Double-Glazed Half-Rack of Ribs
  • Bruschetta Chicken Pasta (grilled with angelhair pasta)
  • Fridays Shrimp (with seasoned fries and cocktail sauce)
  • Cheeseburger (with fries)
  • Dragonfire Chicken (grilled chicken with rice and broccoli)
  • Crispy Chicken Fingers (with fries)
  • Balsamic-Glazed Chicken Caesar Salad

My thoughts: I like the Friday's Stripes Rewards program because you will get complimentary nachos and salsa every time. Plus, you can earn coupons that you can either print out or show the waiter from your mobile device. I think they need to work on their chicken though. It tastes a little processed to me. However, this seems like a better deal because you can get 2 appetizers and 2 entrees for $20 (if 2 people order this deal) instead of 1 appetizer and 2 entrees like their competitors offer.)


crispy onion & jalapeño stack
crispy onion & jalapeño stack

Chili's 2 for $20 Menu: 1 Appetizer + 2 Entrees

Here are your 2 for $20 options. You can choose 1 appetizer and 2 entrees from the following:

Appetizers (choose 1):

  • Half Flatbread - Choose Margherita or Chipotle Chicken
  • Fried Cheese (mozzarella sticks)
  • Crispy Onion & JalapeƱo Stack (onion rings)
  • Tostada Chips & Salsa
  • Tostada Chips & Fresh Guacamole with Grilled Corn
  • Half Order of Texas Cheese Fries

Entrees (choose 2):

  • Bacon Jack Grilled Chicken
  • Chipotle-Garlic Butter Steak* - 6 oz. (add $2)
  • Half Rack of Baby Back Ribs w/ Homestyle Fries (choose original or Memphis Dry Rub)
  • 9-inch Pepperoni or Taco Pizza
  • Mango-Chile Tilapia (*lighter choice)
  • Mango-Chile Chicken (*lighter choice)
  • Grilled Chicken Salad (*lighter choice)
  • Classic Bacon Burger (with fries)
  • Cajun Chicken Pasta (with fries)
  • Margarita Grilled Chicken (*lighter choice)
  • 6 oz. Classic Sirloin* (*also available in lighter choice)
  • Bacon Ranch Chicken Quesadillas
  • Original Chicken Crispers (fancy chicken tenders)
  • Crispy Chicken Crispers (fancy chicken tenders)
  • Crispy Honey-Chipotle Chicken Crispers (fancy chicken tenders)
  • Chicken Fajitas

My thoughts: Chili's offers a lot of options for this deal. I like the lighter side options and their burgers are pretty good for a Mexican themed restaurant.

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