Ate days a week

If it’s Thursday, it must be Russell’s

Some of us choose our restaurants by the food. Some by the ambiance. Tuck, when he’s in a certain mood (call it thrift? Puritanism? Anal retention?), is driven by The Deal. Which restaurant is offering the discount today? As my people like to say, “Who pays retail?” If you share my lust for “something off,” here’s a handy cheat sheet of where some of the local deals are throughout the week. Clip, laminate and post on your refrigerator. Remember, we aren’t talking food quality here, we’re talking value—I stand behind none of these menu items.

First off, some deals are in effect every day, or nearly so. Subway has a daily special, a different foot-long each day at a lowered price, which means, given Subway’s already absurdly low prices, they just basically give you the thing. Togo’s has a similar sandwich deal. Then there are the happy hours. Dozens of Chico restaurants have them, but most are more about drinks than food and the food focus is often on “special” dishes rather than discounts. The best for those looking for a semi-meal on the cheap are Panama Bar and Café (Tuesday-Sunday—nachos, wings, tacos), The Rawbar (Monday-Saturday—sushi, tempura, tacos), and Crush (every day pizzas and apps). Cold Stone Creamery has a happy hour—about a buck off shakes—Monday-Friday before 5 p.m.

Monday: We’ve got many good options here. The Old Reliable is the Oasis, which has been offering its 2-for-1 burger special on Mondays since Reconstruction. You have to buck the atmosphere—the Oasis advertises “Billiards, Sports Bar, and Grill,” so you know where its priorities lie (though they advertise the burgers are hand-pressed daily) and Monday is 9-ball league night.

On the lighter side, Franky’s has one of the better happy hours for those of us looking for solids. Spaghetti, prawns and pizza are all available in smaller portions at considerable savings.

If you want to go corporate, Outback Steakhouse is expanding its “Walkabout Wednesday” steak or chicken dinner (plus beer or soda) steal deal (close to half off) to Monday-Friday, despite the lack of alliteration on those other nights. “Walkabout Monday” just doesn’t ring.

Now we must discuss the juggernaut that is Cozy Diner/Kalico Kitchen. They’re owned by the same people, and they want you in one place or the other pretty much every weeknight, so they coordinate their remarkable specials. Cozy Diner has 2-for-1 chicken on Monday, 2-for-1 fish on Tuesday, and all you can eat fish on Friday. KalKit has the chicken deal on Wednesday and the fish deal on Thursday. You have to buy two drinks.

Tuesday: Taco Tuesdays abound—I won’t try to list them. Papa Murphy’s sells any large pizza for $10, nearly half off. For dessert, Baskin-Robbins has Family Night from 5-10 p.m., when the ice cream is nearly half off.

Wednesday: Bella’s Sports Bar has Wing Wednesday all day “until they run out”: three wings for $2 (with drink purchase), which I think pencils out as the cheapest wing in town. For dessert, Cold Stone has small cones at nearly half off.

Thursday: Today belongs to Russell’s Family Restaurant, which has a 2-for-1 (plus two drinks) chicken special. They actually have frequent ephemeral specials on other nights “depending on what they can get.” Buffalo Wild Wings has Boneless Thursday, a name that’s disturbing on several levels, wherein wings are about 25 percent off all day long.

Friday: Only the die-hards come to play today: Outback’s usual and all-you-can-eat fish at Cozy.

Saturday: Check out a happy hour, or buy a Murphy’s on sale on Tuesday, freeze it, and thaw it today.

Sunday: One new option today, but it’s a good one: Franky’s Family Special—pasta, salad and drinks for at least four at a cut rate. Here’s the motivation you’ve been waiting for to build close-knit relationships, or at least swipe right a few times.