LEWISTON — For years, Eric Agren had trouble drawing diners into his Fuel restaurant on Tuesdays.
It’s a slow day for most every eatery, and the high-end Lisbon Street restaurant was no exception. So Agren dubbed Tuesday “Fuelsday” and started offering specials on food and wine.
But recently it’s specialty draft beer — Maine made, unique, ever-changing and $6 a mug rather than, say, $9 — that has people filling up.
“The beer movement in Maine is a thing and it’s quite a powerful thing,” said Agren.
At Margarita’s Mexican Restaurant in Auburn, Tuesday is less about beer specials and more about special tacos. So. Many. Tacos.
Really, all the tacos you can eat. For $9.99.
“We had one woman come in and eat 23 tacos,” said Manager Rob Michaud. “She was just a little thing, so that was surprising.”
Still hungry? Only on Tuesdays can you grab 75-cent chicken wings at Mac’s Grill in Auburn, hop over to DaVinci’s Eatery in Lewiston for a special pizza buffet dinner, then take the mini-me out to Ruby Tuesday in Auburn, where kids eat free.
Forget after-work happy hours and weekend date nights. Turns out Tuesday is the time to eat, drink and be merry in the Twin Cities without going bankrupt.
So where can you get a meatball sub for lunch and then carbo-load on pizza and pasta for dinner, all for less than $5 a meal?
For the answer to that and for more deals, read on and learn. And get ready to nosh. On Tuesdays.
The deal: Fried clams or fried scallops meal for $11 all day.
The details: Each meal comes with fries and cole slaw, but don’t expect a full dinner portion. The Tuesday special is a little smaller than Chick-A-Dee’s clam or scallop lunch. Still, you probably won’t go hungry.
“For most people it’s perfect,” Manager Greg Hird said.
Know before you go: Clams are regularly $19.95 for lunch and $23.95 for dinner, while scallops are usually $14.95 for lunch and $20.95 for dinner. If you go for the $11 Tuesday deal, you won’t be the only one — the special has been drawing people into Chick-A-Dee since the 40-year-old family restaurant began offering it last Labor Day.
Buddy T’s Restaurant, Lewiston
The deal: Two dinners for $15 after 4 p.m.
The details: Choose two dishes from a handful of specials listed on a Tuesday-specific menu. (In other words, you don’t have free rein over Buddy T’s three pages’ worth of burgers, entrees, salads and sandwiches. Still . . .)
Know before you go: Tuesday meals change every week. Buddy T’s manager tries to keep the specials, well, special. Past dishes have included rib-eye steak, teriyaki chicken stir-fry, lobster roll, fish and chips, meatloaf, lasagna and macaroni and cheese.
DaVinci’s Eatery, Lewiston
The deal: Dinner pizza buffet, $12.95 for adults and $7.95 for kids
The details: Go hungry. The buffet includes a handful of pizzas (cheese, pepperoni, veggie, meat and dessert), two homemade soups (almost always including chili) and a salad bar with 30 to 35 items, like homemade potato salad, homemade pasta salad, chickpeas, greens, tomatoes and assorted other salad fixings.
“It’s actually a phenomenal salad bar, if I do say so myself,” said Office Manager Laura Wahler.
Know before you go: DaVinci’s offers its popular buffet for lunch every weekday, but Tuesdays are the only day you can get it for dinner. (From 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.) And, oh, do people know to go.
“Especially during school vacation weeks,” Wahler said. “It’s easy for the parents to go, ‘Yeah! Let’s go have buffet!'”
El Pocho’s Mexican Grill, Lewiston
The deal: Taco Tuesday! Three tacos, rice or beans, chips and salsa for $5. (Regularly $7.)
The details: Choose your tacos and side. Eat. Repeat. (The Tuesday special is available for lunch and dinner.)
Know before you go: Owner Yolanda MacWhinnie came up with the special after seeing how quiet Mondays and Tuesdays were at the restaurant. Turns out, $5 taco meals were what her customers needed.
“It’s Taco Tuesday! No more explanation (needed),” she said with a laugh.
South of the Border, Lewiston
The deal: Four tacos for $4.95.
The details: Tacos are normally $1.65 each, making this a buy-three-get-one-free deal. Mostly it’s just easier to think about it this way: More tacos, less money!
Know before you go: It’s Taco Tuesday. That’s all anyone needs to know.
Margarita’s Mexican Restaurant, Auburn
The deal: All-you-can-eat tacos, $9.99
The details: Eat all the tacos! During your first round you get three tacos of your choice, rice and beans. After that, just keep ordering tacos. You can choose chicken or beef, hard shell or soft, and switch among them — so no need to get hard shell chicken fatigue. (Which is totally a thing.)
Know before you go: The all-you-can-eat taco deal lasts all day, so you’ll have plenty of time to try to beat the woman who ate 23. If you do, you’ll get . . . well, absolutely nothing except maybe a stomach ache. And a sense of accomplishment. So there’s that.
Margarita’s tried ditching the special a while back, but customers’ taco obsession proved too great to ignore. A couple of years ago, it brought back Taco Tuesday and its all-you-can-eat glory.
“People kept asking for it,” Manager Michaud said.
Luiggi’s Pizzeria, Lewiston
The deal: Up to $1 off a meatball sub.
The details: Prices vary depending on your order. If you like your sub cheese free, you can get small for $3.50 or a large for $6.50. (Regularly $3.99 and $7.50.) If you’re all about the cheese, you can get a small for $4.25 or a large for $8.25. (Regularly $4.99 and $9.25.)
Know before you go: Up to $1 off doesn’t sound like a lot compared to all-you-can-eat deals and twofer-Tuesday specials, but Luiggi’s meatball sub day still tends to draw a crowd.
“The meatball sub, you’d be surprised how many people come in just for that,” said Manager Lisa Dorrington. “It’s savings.”
Gridiron Restaurant and Sports Pub
The deal: Crab or taco rangoons for 75 cents each. Teriyaki green pepper and onion chicken stir fry for $6.99.
The details: Rangoons are normally $7 for an order of six, but on Tuesdays you can order them individually to save a little money. The stir fry is $12.99 on the regular menu.
Know before you go: You can also get bottled beer for $2.50, a savings of a dollar or two. You don’t have to wait until Tuesday for that one, though. It’s also available on Monday.
Mac’s Grill, Auburn
The deal: Grill wings for 75 cents each.
The details: Mac’s wings are usually $10 for 9, but on Tuesdays you can order them individually to save some money. (Nine wings would be $6.75.) Your choice of spice and dressing go with them.
Know before you go: This deal is dine-in only, so don’t plan on getting a take-out order to eat at home. Or on you way home. Or the moment you get in the car.
Pedro O’Hara’s, Lewiston
The deal: Taco bar, $9.99
The details: Available for dinner only, the taco bar gives you all-you-can-eat access to all your favorite tacos and taco trimmings. It’s a Tuesday miracle.
Know before you go: Pedro O’Hara’s also runs trivia night every Tuesday starting at 7 p.m. Teams of up to eight people pay $2 a person to take part. Winner gets the pot. Each week has its own theme, so if you know a lot about ’90s Nickelodeon game shows or, say, taxes, this might be the financial windfall you’ve been looking for.
The deal: Bar menu entrees for $11, three-course dinners for $30, wine for $6 a glass, Maine draft beer for $6 a glass.
The details: Your favorite deal will depend of the kind of diner you are. Looking for something quick but good? The bar menu offers a rib-eye burger, croque monsieur and other fancy bar food for $11, a dollar or three off. Date night Tuesday? The three-course special offers soup or salad, an entree and dessert for $30, about $10 off the regular price. Need to drown your Tuesday sorrows? You can try a glass of something from Fuel’s vast wine collection or its growing draft beer selection for $6, a few dollars off.
Know before you go: Fuel recently began upping its beer game after Agren, a self-described “wine guy,” realized he’d been ignoring Maine’s beer movement for far too long. Today, the restaurant keeps an assortment of Maine craft beer on tap, changing them frequently so there’s always something new to try. And because $6 a glass is at least a few dollars cheaper than other places, the drink special has started drawing beer aficionados to Fuel’s bar on Tuesdays.
“They come specifically for the beer to see what we have,” Agren said. “They make suggestions, talk about it, post it. . . . These guys are super knowledgeable. They drive all over the place to get beer.”
Papa Gino’s, Auburn
The deal: All-you-can-eat pizza and pasta, $4.99
The details: Available from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Includes pizza and basic pasta with marinara sauce. Dine-in only.
Know before you go: Although the pizza chain has 148 locations in New England, its only Maine restaurant is in the Auburn Mall. The place is pretty popular, but never more so than during school vacations. Add a hockey game or two at the Norway Savings Bank Arena down the road, and it can be pizza pandemonium. But in a fun way. Because pizza.
The deal: Kids eat free and $5 flash sales.
The details: Every Tuesday from 5 p.m. to close, families get one free child’s entree with the purchase of an adult entree. The restaurant also recently started $5 flash sales, which change each week. Past flash sales have offered chicken bites with fries, endless garden bar or three mini cheeseburgers with fries from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Know before you go: You don’t need a coupon for either the kids-eat-free special or the flash sale. Your server will tell you about the flash special if you ask or you can sign up for Ruby Tuesday’s “So Connected” email list to get a heads up the day before.
The deal: Kids eat free.
The details: Kids under 10 eat free with the purchase of an adult entree.
Know before you go: Families can have two kids each free for every one adult purchase. So one parent can take out two kids. Or two parents can take out four kids. Or four parents can take out eight kids. The math is endless. Kind of like Denny’s coffee.
Buffalo Wild Wings, Auburn
The deal: Half-price traditional (bone-in) wings.
The details: Prices vary depending on how many wings you get, but a small order (nine wings) is regularly $11.79, according to the online menu. All orders include your choice of about 20 sauces, from the mild teriyaki to the heated mango habanero.
Know before you go: Take-out is available! Even at half price!
“It’s a quick, easy, convenient thing for people to just come in, pick up some wings and go home on a workday,” said Manager Mark Moize.
Surely these aren’t all the good Tuesday deals in the L-A area. They’re just the ones we know about. Ask your favorite eateries if they have early-in-the-week specials, keep your eyes open for ads and promotions, and, well, TGIT!
Jose Mata heats up some soft-shell tacos on the grill, foreground, as his son, Jose, and daughter, Yolanda, background, work on other tacos Tuesday morning at their restaurant, El Pocho’s Mexican Grill on Lisbon Street in Lewiston. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)
Yolanda MacWhinnie squeezes fresh lime into the guacamole made fresh every day at El Pocho’s Mexican Grill in Lewiston. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)
A sign at El Pocho’s Mexican Grill for Taco Tuesday. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)
Davinci’s chef Chris Rose checks a pizza in the brick oven that is headed to the pizza bar on a recent Tuesday at the Lewiston eatery. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)
Davinci’s chef Chris Rose tosses pizza dough into the air as he prepares one for the pizza bar on a recent Tuesday. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)
The salad bar at Davinci’s Eatery in Lewiston. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)
The soup and salad bar is included in the Tuesday special at DaVinci’s in Lewiston. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)
There is always a selection of pizza to choose from at DaVinci’s all-you-can-eat Tuesday night pizza bar special, like the BBQ buffalo pizza and pepperoni pizza in this photo. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)
Bartender Dan Vining pours a glass of So Folkin’ Hoppy IPA from Funky Bow Brewing at Fuel in Lewiston. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)