Seniors and early bird dining specials have become a punchline.


Joke all you want, the folks taking advantage of these deals, many of whom are not seniors, are laughing all the way to the bank. Restaurants offers special deals during slow periods to lure diners. Often those deals are for off-season specials or for dining on traditionally slow nights and/or times. If taking advantage of an early bird special makes you feel uncomfortable, consider that many of these specials also double as “Happy Hour” deals. Taking advantage of the early bird dining specials also allows you plenty of time to make it to the theater or concert venue for that 8 p.m. show.

At Zuckarello’s, the popular Italian spot at 3017 E. Commercial Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, “Sunset Dinners” are available from 4-6 p.m. seven days a week. The dinners, priced between $17.95 and $22.95 offer a starter of soup or salad, entrees such as pasta dishes, lamb shank, chicken Marsala, shrimp scampi or snapper, served with coffee or tea and dessert. Happy hour features drink specials and light bites at the bar, such as fried calamari, eggplant rollatini, Caprese salad, sausage and peppers or meatballs with ricotta cream and pomodoro sauce.

Wilton Manors’ The Grille on the Drive, 2000 N. Wilton Dr., has quickly developed a devoted crowd for its “Sunset Specials,” served Monday through Thursday from 4-6 p.m. The draw is as much for the ample portions as it is for the reasonable price, $9.95 (with an additional $3.95 for the soup and salad bar). Stand out options include the meat loaf and lasagna. Happy hour prices are also in effect, with $3 well drinks and half-off call and premium liquors!

Sea Watch on the Ocean, 6002 N. Ocean Blvd., in Fort Lauderdale offers a “Dinner at Dusk” special from 5-6 p.m., but only through Dec. 24. The $21.95 meal includes a choice of clam or conch chowder or salad and one of the following entrees; crab tostada, filet mignon, blackened mahi, a 1¼ lb. whole lobster (broiled or steamed), the broiled combination plate (shrimp, scallops and mahi) or the daily catch, as well as a choice of ice cream or Key lime pie for dessert.

Catfish Dewey’s, 4003 N. Andrews Ave., Oakland Park, is known for its all-you-can-eat specials, but the early bird special is also a terrific deal. Served from 4-6 p.m. Monday through Friday, the deal includes a choice of potato, choice of hushpuppies or bread, coleslaw, soft drink and dessert (a half slice key lime pie or chocolate brownie). All entrees are priced between $12 and $15 and include such favorites as; shrimp or catfish (a half-pound serving, your choice of fried, broiled, grilled or blackened), Maryland crab cakes, baby back ribs, fried oysters, chicken or clam strips.

At the popular German-American Ambry, 3016 E Commercial Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, early bird specials include soup and salad bar, choice of potato, dessert and coffee or tea as well as specialties such as; sauerbraten, bratwurst, knockwurst, beef rouladen, wiener schnitzel and zuricher geschnetzeltes as well as standards such as prime rib roast pork, trout, steak, shrimp lamb chops, all priced less than $25.

Community favorite Peter Pan, 1216 E Oakland Park Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, is open late and offers late night specials in addition to its early bird options, served from 3-6 p.m. The meals, priced from $10-$12 includes a cup of soup or tossed salad, coffee or tea, and a selection from the dessert tray. Entrée selections include; liver and onions, broiled chicken, spaghetti with meatballs, meatloaf, eggplant Parmigiana, lasagna, Greek combination platter, pork kabob, and broiled flounder, rainbow trout or cod, among others.

At Kabibi, 3828 N. University Dr., in Sunrise you can enjoy a 15 percent discount on its Persian cuisine Monday through Friday from 4-7 p.m. I will repeat the notice on its web site, “Please not to combine with other offers.”

Christina Wan’s, 664 N. Federal, Fort Lauderdale offers a “Sunset Special” from 3-6:30 p.m. which includes a choice of soup (egg drop, hot and sour or won ton) brown, white or fried rice, and a spring roll or egg roll. The entrees include your choice of chicken, beef, shrimp, pork or tofu (depending upon entrée selection) in a variety of sauces and preparations and are priced between $13-$16.

Louie Bossi’s, 1032 E Las Olas, Fort Lauderdale, doesn’t offer an early bird special, but it does have a “Happy Hour” special. From 4-7 p.m. pizzas served in the bar are half-priced and it’s $2 off all drink prices every day and on Monday, martinis are also half-priced and there are meatball sliders for $2 each!

Alibi/Monkey Bar, 2266 Wilton Dr., doesn’t offer an early bird menu either, but its “Taco and Wings Happy Hour” more than makes up for it.  In addition to the titular treats, there are beef sliders, onion rings, edamame, chicken tenders and southwestern egg rolls on the menu. Combine that with two-for-one drinks, and a good time is guaranteed.

At El Vez, 401 N Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, the happy hour specials, served from 4-7 p.m., include half-off all frozen blood orange and classic margaritas, draft beer and house wines by the glass. Dining specials include two carnitas or chicken tacos for $6 or chicken quesadillas, burgers, nachos or smoked red snapper tostadas, all priced at less than $10 (some snacks are as low as $4). Oh, did we mention, every seat overlooks the beach and, it’s in the W Hotel?  Given the prime location, those prices are crazy!