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All the Free & Cheap Food You Can Get Today for the First Day of Summer

The first day of summer always causes double takes. There are a lot of ways we unofficially mark the start of summer. If you're a student or parent, the end of the school year is probably considered the start of summer...

first day of summer food deals 2019
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The first day of summer always causes double takes. There are a lot of ways we unofficially mark the start of summer. If you're a student or parent, the end of the school year is probably considered the start of summer. If you just live for excuses to be outside, Memorial Day might be your unofficial start of summer. But the true first day of summer doesn't come until June 21.

But it's here. No matter how you mark the season, summer is here. To celebrate the occasion, restaurants across the country are offering free and cheap food. A lot of it is seasonally appropriate -- ice cream and smoothies -- and some of it is just good food, which doesn't necessarily need to wait for the season to be right. Take a look below to find our running list of the best deals for the first day of summer from Dairy Queen, Potbelly Sandwich Shop, Pizza, and many others. 

Free Food for the First Day of Summer

Dairy Queen
The deal: 
Download the DQ mobile app for a nice way to welcome the summer season. You can get a free regular or dipped cone with any purchase. 
When: June 21

Jamba Juice
The deal: Swing into Jamba for a free small smoothie anytime from 2-5pm.
When: June 21, 2-5pm

Wayback Burgers
The deal: Wayback is trotting out its annual Free Shake Day. When you stop by, you'll get a free Black & White Milkshake at participating locations. No purchase is necessary.
When: June 21

Wendy's
The deal: Use the Wendy's app to get a free Berry Burst Chicken Salad with any purchase. 
When: June 21 - July 14

Potbelly Sandwich Shop
The deal:
 Buy a sandwich, salad or Pick-Your-Pair item and you'll get one for free. 
When: June 20-21

Boston Market
The deal: Boston Market is feeling cocky about its new lunch sandwich options. In fact, they'll let you give one of their sandwiches for free today so that you can take it and compare it to one of your favorites. 
When: June 21, 11am-2pm

Smoothie King
The deal: Buy a smoothie on the first day of summer (which is also National Smoothie Day) and use your Healthy Rewards app to get a free smoothie loaded onto your account. The freebie can be redeemed anytime from June 22 to June 27. 
When: June 21

B.GOOD
The deal:
 B.Good Rewards members will get set up with a free smoothie when they purchase any breakfast entrée.
When: June 18-23

first day of summer food deals
Courtesy of Boston Market

Food Deals for the First Day of Summer

Néktar Juice Bar
The deal: Grab a superfood smoothie for just $5 anytime on National Smoothie Day. 
When: June 21

Instacart
The deal: 
Instacart has a couple of deals on sweets. Order through Instacart, and you can get $1.50 off three pints of Ben & Jerry's ice cream. Or you can get the same off two pints of select Talenti ice cream. 
When: Valid until June 30

Pizza Hut
The deal: Get a large pizza for $5.99 in a new flash sale from Pizza Hut. 
When: June 17-23

Blaze Pizza
The deal:
 Place an order of $10 or more through Postmates and you'll get it delivered for free. Also, every order will come with two free Dough Knots. You don't have to hit the order minimum to get some free knots. 
When: June 19-23

Local Food Deals for the First Day of Summer

City Mouse at the Ace Hotel - Chicago, Illinois
The deal: The restaurant's usual happy hour will run from open to close to help you maximize what is (hopefully) the day with the most sunlight this year. Drop in for a $4 Kolsch, $7 daiquiri, or $2 cheeseburger quesadillas. 
When: June 21

Other Deals Available on the First Day of Summer

Olive Garden
The deal:
 The restaurant has brought back its buy-one-take-one offer. Buy an entrée that starts at $12.99 and you'll get an entrée to take home for free. The take-home options include Fettuccine Alfredo, Spaghetti with Meat Sauce, Five Cheese Ziti al Forno, and Cheese Ravioli.
When: Through July 29

McDonald's
The deal:
 Order McDelivery through Uber Eats and you'll get free delivery by using the code "MCDS0DF."
When: June 17-23

Bojangles
The deal: 
Swing by to grab a 32-ounce cup of Legendary Ice Tea for a buck. They'll be celebrating National Iced Tea for quite a while at Bojangles. 
When: June 10 - late July

Burger King
The deal:
 The King is offering a few Whopper meal options. Get a $4 Whopper Jr. meal, a $5 Whopper meal, or a $6 Double Whopper meal. The meal comes with a drink and your choice of fries or onion rings. 
When: Ongoing

Stop and Shop
The deal:
 A five-pack of mini eclairs is just $1.99 at all locations today. 
When: June 22

Arby's
The deal:
 Sign up for the chain's email list and you'll get a coupon that earns you a free signature sandwich (Arby's Reuben, Loaded Italian, Smokehouse Brisket, or any of its Gyros) with the purchase of a drink. The coupon lasts for just a week, though.
When: Ongoing

Popeyes
The deal: Grab a three-piece of chicken tenders or bone-in chicken with a biscuit for just $3.99.
When: Ongoing

Hungry Howie's
The deal:
 Take home a $1 medium one-topping pizza with the purchase of a large one-topping pizza at regular price. Use the code "MEDIUM1" to take advantage. 
When: Ongoing

Chili's
The deal: The chain's Margarita of the Month is the Stay-Cay 'Rita. It includes 1800 Reposado Tequila, sour, Monin coconut puree, pineapple juice, and Grenadine. It'll be just $5 all month. 
When: Through June 30

Dave & Busters
The deal: Not a food deal, but food adjacent. From open to close on Wednesdays, you can get half-priced games. 
When: Ongoing

UNO Pizzeria
The deal:
 Get a pizza to go, and the second pizza is $6. (Prices may vary a bit by location.) The pizza shop has also extended its promotion for $2 Sauza margaritas. Those are available every day for a while. 
When: Ongoing

Hwy 55
The deal: Get a four-inch cheesesteak with fries or tots and a drink for $6.99.
When: Through June 30

Ono Hawaiian BBQ
The deal: Buy $30 or more in gift cards to get a bonus card worth $10 for free. The bonus card will be valid June 18 through August 21. 
When: Through June 17

Yalla Mediterranean
The deal: Kids eat free every Friday. You'll have to mention the deal to the cashier or use the code "KIDS" when ordering online. You'll get one free kids meal per adult entrée.
When: Ongoing on Fridays, 4pm-close

Slice
The deal: To celebrate National Pizza Party Day, the pizza delivery app that encourages you to shop locally is offering $5 off your first order through the app with a minimum order of at least $5.50. Use the code "PARTYPIZZA."
When: Through December 1, 2019

Want more free food and food deals? Here's our running list of all the free food you can get right now, as well as the best reward program and gift card deals you’ll find. You're welcome.

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Dustin Nelson is a Senior Staff Writer at Thrillist. Follow him @dlukenelson.