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Taco Bell offering free tacos on Tuesday

Taco Bell announced today it would offer one free Doritos Locos taco to customers on Tuesday afternoon, June 21, as part of the restaurant chain’s “Steal a Game, Steal a Taco” NBA promotion.

The special offer will run from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday only. Taco Bell had announced prior to the NBA Finals that it would give away Doritos Locos tacos if a team won on its opponent’s home court in the NBA Finals — and that ended up happening not once, but three times, with the Golden State Warriors winning Game 4 in Cleveland, then the Cavaliers winning Games 5 and 7 on Golden State’s home court.

No purchase is necessary, according to the promotion’s terms and conditions, and as always, the offer will be good at participating Taco Bell locations. There is, of course, a limit of one free taco per customer.

12 things you didn't know about Waffle House

The soft glow from Waffle House’s black and yellow sign has been beckoning hungry travelers to stop, rest and dine for over 60 years.

>> Read more trending stories  

For many people, including Anthony Bourdain, eating at the restaurant is a unique experience. But if you think you know everything about the restaurant chain, think again.

Even the most devoted WaHo patrons may be surprised with these unusual facts about the company.

1. In a year, Waffle House serves 25,000 miles of bacon. If you laid out all the Smithfield Bacon that Waffle House serves in one year end-to-end, it would wrap around the earth’s equator. That’s a lot of miles of greasy goodness.

2. Waffle House has its own music label. The yellow-roofed restaurant has been concocting its recipes since 1955, but it began creating its own music 30 years ago. If you scroll through any Waffle House jukebox, there’s 40 original Waffle House songs. Hard to believe? Well, listen to one of Waffle House’s hits entitled “There are Raisins in My Toast.” WaHo’s musical playlist doesn’t stop there. The franchise has also dipped its toes into the syrupy waters of Gospel music.

3. School buses inspired the restaurant’s color scheme. Co-founderJoeRogers Senior picked the colors yellow and black because it reminded him of a school bus. He thought it would increase the restaurant’s visibility to drivers. It’s a common misconception that the founders chose the colors because Joe was a graduate from Georgia Institute of Technology, whose official colors are yellow and black.

4. FEMA has a Waffle House Index. Waffle House takes its commitment to being open 24/7 seriously. If disaster strikes, the chain has its own disaster management plan, which includes buying portable food generators, ice and food in advance. One of the first places the Federal Emergency Management Agency turns to gauge a natural disaster’s severity is Waffle House --it’s called the Waffle House Index

5. Waffle House has its own merchandise! You can purchase anything ranging from a WaHo hoodie to a vintage neon Waffle House clock on the restaurant’s website.

6. Valentine’s Day at Waffle House is a big deal. For the past eight years or so, designated Waffle Houses have organized romantic candle-lit dinners for couples on Valentine’s Day. The idea began in Johns Creek, Georgia, but now over 150 restaurant locations participate.

7. Waffle House has a unique call-in system. Have you ever noticed that colored tile on a Waffle House’s restaurant floor? Well, sale associates are instructed to stand on the colored tile when calling in an order. That way, the person working on the grill can easily hear the order.

8. The support team spends one day a year working in the restaurant. Although Waffle House’s support team isn’t involved in the day-to-day operations of the restaurant, team members -- who work in Waffle House's corporate offices -- spend one day of the year working inside the restaurant. 

9. Waffle House is named after its most expensive menu item. Waffle House’s original menu had 16 items on it, and its most expensive menu item was the waffle. The founders named the restaurant after the waffle because they thought it would generate a big profit.

10. The restaurant’s founders still stop by to visit. The company’s founders, Tom Forkner and Joe Rogers Sr., are both in their late 90’s and are still involved with their brand. Tom visits the company’s headquarters three times a week. Joe, who is unable to drive, calls to check in on the company two or three times a month.

11. The menu items are named after real people. Bert’s Chili was named after an employee who served at the company for over 30 years. Alice’s iced tea was also named after an employee who helped perfect the restaurant’s signature iced tea. 

12. The restaurant had a cash-only policy until 2006. Waffle House resisted using credit cards because management feared that it would interfere with its promised 20-minute turnaround time. Also, the chain had to update it system to take credit cards. 

Have you always wondered what Waffle House order you would be? Take this quiz to find out!  

Local Chick-fil-A to give away $1,000 a day in free food

The Chick-fil-A restaurant at 1482 Miamisburg-Centerville Road in Washington Twp. will shut down in late July for reconstruction, but franchise owner Marla Davis has decided to keep her nearly 100 employees on the payroll during the month-long hiatus while they focus on community service and outreach.

“Our goal is to give back to the community that has graciously supported us and made it necessary for our restaurant to expand,” Davis said this morning. “As a team, we will creatively give away $1,000 a day in free food, $30,000 total.”

When news of the $1 million renovation and expansion project and month-long shutdown broke last year, employees were apprehensive about being out of work, Davis said.

“I did not want them to have to go on unemployment,” she said. “I want them to know they’re my team, my family.”

Davis also is the franchise owner of the Chick-fil-A that opened in December at the Cornerstone of Centerville, and the Washington Twp. restaurant’s catering operations will transfer there during the renovations. The Washington Twp. store has the smallest kitchen of any of the Chick-fil-As in Dayton or Cincinnati, but ranks in the top 25 among the chain’s 1,600 restaurants in catering sales, Davis said.

Lauren Weaver, operations director of the Washington Twp. restaurant and Davis’ daughter, said employees are relieved at the decision and have already begun brainstorming outreach ideas.

“There’s a lot of excitement,” Weaver said. “They’re really getting behind the project.”

Those with ideas for outreach projects can email the store at 01535@chick-fil-a.com.

Deals and freebies for National Doughnut Day

Best Ohio burger isn't a burger

Want to go?

WHAT: The Maid-Rite Sandwich Shoppe

WHERE: 125 N. Broadway St., Greenville OH

HOURS: 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday

INFO: http://maidrite-greenville.com/ or 937-548-9340

What makes a burger a burger?

Mental_Floss came out with a list of “The Best Burger in All 50 States,” and Ohio’s winner? The loose-meat sandwich at The Maid-Rite Sandwich Shoppe in Greenville.

>> RELATED: 15 amazing burgers in Dayton

Here’s what Mental_ Floss writes about the sandwich:

"Many Ohioans know and love Swensons in Cleveland (including Akron native LeBron James), but few have heard of hidden gem Maid-Rite in Greenville. Established in 1934, Maid-Rite’s loose-meat burgers have a cult following among those in on the tasty secret, with many driving hours out of the way to get their fill of delicious Maid-Rite and Cheese-Rite sandwiches."

Some folks may have a beef with this selection because by definition, a hamburger consists of at least one ground meat patty. But don't try that argument with the locals.

"Beef is beef," said Matt Staugler, the executive director of the Darke County Visitors Bureau. "It's such a well-known novelty here in Darke County, and I would be surprised if it didn't get that recognition."

The Maid-Rite sandwich has NO patty. It’s more like a sloppy joe. Well, sort of, but not really, because a sloppy joe consists of loose meat with tomato-based sauce. Staugler even admits: "It's a sloppy joe without the sloppy."

Unlike a sloppy joe, the meat for the Maid-Rite sandwich isn't fried in its own grease. "It's steamed ground beef with a seasoning put over it," said Mark Koontz, one of the members of the family that's owned and operated restaurant since it opened more than 80 years ago.

The loose hamburger meat has hint of sweetness. We asked, what is its secret ingredient? "A lot of love and family dedication," said Koontz, who added that he's been around that restaurant "ever since I was little."

The sandwich comes with your choice of mustard, pickle and onion, on a bun, for $2.05. Add a slice of cheese and the price is $2.30.

Just as intriguing as its loose meat sandwich is the outside of the Maid-Rite building. It's rather nondescript except for the fact that diners stick their chewing gum on the wall. Over the years, I’ve contributed to the thousands upon thousands of colorful hardened globs affixed to the bricks.

If you’ve been looking for an excuse to take a day trip, here it is. Or you can wait until July 26-31 when Darke County hosts the annual Annie Oakley Festival. While the festival will be held north of Greenville, the city will hold its annual Annie Oakley Sidewalk Sales, with many local businesses participating.

On July 30-31, Greenville will also be holding The Gathering at Garst, which was named the Best Summer Festival for 2016 by Ohio Magazine based on a reader poll.

The Maid-Rite Sandwich Shoppe may be jam-packed that week while Greenville celebrates its heritage, which includes the world’s most popular female sharpshooter, but the reward of a famous loose-meat sandwich is worth a shot. Koontz assures us that the diner will be ready to handle the crowds during the festivals. If you go, here's an insider's tip: Buy gum ahead of time so you can leave your mark on the outside wall. "We don't sell gum," Koontz said.

Do you think the loose-meat Maid-Rite Sandwich deserves to be called the best burger in Ohio? Tell us what your favorite burger is.

British restaurant owner gets 6 years for killing man with curry

An owner of an Indian restaurant in North Yorkshire, England, was sentenced to six years in prison after he served a curry dish containing peanuts to a customer with an allergy, resulting in his death.

>> Read more trending stories  

Mohammaed Zaman was sentenced Monday after being found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence among other food-safety offenses, The New York Times reported. The incident happened in January 2014 when Paul Wilson, 38, ordered chicken tikka masala from Zaman’s restaurant, Indian Garden, and specified he couldn’t have any nuts in his order.

Wilson had visited the restaurant previously and was given a container with "no nuts" written on top of it, the Times added.

He was found by a roommate dead after going into anaphylactic shock, prosecutors said.

According to authorities, Zaman cut corners by replacing almond powder in his recipes with a cheaper mix of groundnuts and hired undocumented workers to put together his curry dishes. There was an incident with another customer with a nut allergy three weeks before Wilson’s death.

"Time and again he ignored the danger and did not protect his customers," Richard Wright, told a jury at Teesside Crown Court, according to the Times.

Zaman had about $434,000 in debt, which led to his cutting corners, the Times reported. He also had a tendency to not be at the restaurant, allowing his employees to run the operations, and was not there when the curry was served to Wilson.

"Paul Wilson was in the prime of his life," Judge Simon Bourne-Arton told Zaman, according to the Yorkshire Post. "He, like you, worked in the catering trade. He, unlike you, was a careful man."

Read more at The New York Times.

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