With food prices rising, some restaurants are making it easier to eat cheaper by offering specials earlier in the evening.
Z'Tejas, in Orange County, is just one of the many restaurants offering cheaper meals through happy hour specials.
"All of our appetizers are about ten dollars, you cut that in half during happy hour so honestly it's a steal," says Daniel Stevens, chef at Z'Tejas.
Happy hour specials have been around for years, trying to lure customers in early, hoping they'll spend time at the bar. However, some establishments are putting a new spin on the concept by offering some of their more popular items at a discount price, without relying on the bar tab.
For example, at Z'Tejas, a diner could purchase seared ahi tuna, catfish beignets, smoked chicken quesadillas, and shrimp guacamole tostada bites for just five dollars.
"Patio area, bar area, restaurant, you can eat wherever you want and get the 50 percent," says Stevens.
Another restaurant, the Daily Grill, offers more than chips and dip. The chain has restaurants all over Southern California, and they offer ample portions and plenty of variety.
At the Daily Grill, restaurant-goers can buy Santa Fe chicken, ahi tuna wraps or chicken pot pie for just three to four dollars.
"I think people have limited dining dollars but they're still looking for good quality," says Daily Grill Vice President of Marketing Terri Henry.
Happy hour at the Daily Grill is from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Las Campanas, in Rancho Cucamonga, offers the option of upscale Mexican cuisine. At Las Campanas, $5 buys a couple of ceviche tostadas or a trio of filet tacos, and more.
At the Lazy Dog Café, in Torrance and Westminster, the bargains begin from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., and again from 9 p.m. until they close.
"I think everything is under seven dollars and full portions too," says Chris Simms of the Lazy Dog Café.
The Lazy Dog Café offers Margarita pizza, chicken lettuce wraps, and hummus trio, to name a few. Diners can even bring their dog to enjoy food on the patio.
"We've seen quite a growth in traffic during happy hour lately. People are really looking for a good value," says Simms.
In Ventura, early diners can find great values at the Paradise Grill. From 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., tri-tip, chicken sliders, and tacos are $1 to $4.
Keep in mind, some restaurants offer specials in the lounge only. Either way, enjoying healthy food at proper portions at the right price means everybody wins.
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