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A short decade ago, all we could hope for in foodie deals was a measly discount coupon showing up in our mailbox for a local pizza joint. But now, smart eateries have hopped on the social media wagon offering perks and deals to customers who help promote the restaurants by loving the food and posting the proof. Diners conversant in Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pintrest can snag details on daily specials, special discounts and other swag.

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Knife & Tine
1417 W Fullerton Ave
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 697-8311

Facebook: www.facebook.com/knifeandtine 

The wi-fi has recently undergone a sizable boost at Knife & Tine while the social media perks and contests just keep a-comin’. According to Proprietor Carissa Shaffer, there’s a check-in special every month on Facebook and Foursquare, and the Lincoln Park restaurant uses Twitter and Instagram for offers and specials just for social media customers. A recent offer included a free stater of your choice. “We are also part of Chicago Independents and once a quarter offer 13 discounted gift certificates that usually sell within a few minutes,” Shaffer says. “We only share the sale date and time on social media, so you have to follow us to know when you can try to buy them.” Additional social media contests offer tickets to food events like the already sold out Baconfest.

Protein Bar
151 N. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 374-1459

Facebook: www.facebook.com/proteinbar
Instagram: www.instagram.com/explore/tags/proteinbarchicago

The fast-casual Chicago born and based chain was a couple years ahead of the pack when it comes to the protein trend. Get a bowl, wrap or smoothie that will amp up your energy, and enjoy wi-fi in the store locations while staff encourages guests to snap a #healthyselfie (that is, enjoying Protein Bar). Protein Bar randomly selects winners on a monthly basis and rewards them with exclusive branded “swag” and special offers. There are 11 stores in the city and two in the suburbs.

Buona Beef
6745 Roosevelt Road
Berwyn IL 60402
(708) 749-2555

Twitter: @BuonaBeef
Facebook: www.facebook.com/BuonaBerwyn

The fabulous, family-owned Italian beef outfit offers free Wi-Fi at all of its suburban and city locations to enjoy with your dry or dipped beef sandwich and other Italian delights. Take advantage of the new communal seating with charging stations. Also, Buona wants guests to share their eats on social media using #BuonaBeef for a chance to win a $100 gift card or be featured on in-store TV displays. 

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MAK: Modern Asian Kitchen
1924 W. Division Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 772-6251

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It’s a headache to find good Chinese food in Chicago— that’s why fans flock to MAK: Modern Asian Kitchen. Free wi-fi is available (just ask) while you’re waiting for your bowl, wrap, salad or soup to appear. There’s an ongoing Instagram contest for guests who post and use the hashtag #chorkit on Instagram. Hop on their wi-fi and get connected. They have a chance to win a $50 MAK gift card. 

Flagship Tavern & Grill
1622 W. Belmont
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 281-3805

Twitter & Instagram: @FlagshipChicago

The Lakeview sports bar and grill offers an ongoing Facebook contest that takes place every Friday morning. Flagship hosts a Facebook trivia/contest and one random winner receives a Happy Hour wristband for Flagship, valid that same night. The Happy Hour package is a $25 value and includes well drinks and domestic drafts plus one food item from 6-9 p.m.

Village Tavern
291 S Schmale Road
Carol Stream, IL 60185
(630) 668-1101

Facebook: www.facebook.com/Village-Tavern-Grill-of-Carol-Stream
Instagram: www.instagram.com/villagetaverncarolstream

“The Original Neighborhood Eatery” attracts legions of hungry diners who go for “fresh food, big portions and reasonable prices” according to chef/owner Mike Coughlan. Items like Mom’s homemade meatloaf, carved hot turkey sandwiches, chicken fingers loved by adults and the all-you-can-eat fish fry on Wednesdays and Fridays are just a couple popular items. Fans check Facebook to know what the tempting daily specials are in food and drink. They have quite the social media foortprint. “We offer a free gift to people when they check in or post a pic on social media,” Coughlan teases. Snap a selfie or a pic of your food and post to Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, but be sure to tag @Village Tavern & Grill of Carol Stream and Hash Tag #vtglife. Come for the food, stay for the wi-fi.

Remember, you probably have wi-fi at your place – so before heading out, be smart and check out all these deals and others near you. Plus, when you get home share your adventures from the night throughout the social media world.

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Jacky Runice has been a columnist with the Daily Herald Chicago since grunge music and flannel was the new black. Her fingers and gray matter have been busy as travel editor of Reunions Magazine; penning a column that was syndicated around the nation via Tribune Media Services. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.

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