Valentine’s Day made easy – on your wallet

MCT

While Valentine’s Day might break some people’s hearts, it shouldn’t have to break their wallets. Many local venues are offering inexpensive, out of the ordinary specials for Valentine’s Day.

Acoustic Café, 505 S. Barstow St., is featuring a local couple for its entertainment. Eau Claire residents, known on stage as Kyle and Savannah, will perform original and cover music.

Blanye Powell booked them for Acoustic Café because he said their show will appeal to college students.

“Free, live music is a good draw,” he said, adding that a man and woman performing together is appropriate entertainment for Valentine’s Day.

Sandwiches at Acoustic Café range from $3 to $5. The cafe will also be serving a Valentine’s Day latte. Powell described the atmosphere at Acoustic Café as being mellow and quiet.

Another restaurant altering its menu in the spirit of the holiday is Dessert First, 210 Barstow St. Cupcakes go for $2, which are their known specialty, Sandy Meinsen said. Their holiday flavors include red-hot cinnamon, red velvet and chocolate cheesecake.

Dessert First is also offering gift packets which start at $20 with free same-day delivery. The gift packets can either include a single cupcake, four cupcakes, four cookies or two cookies. For an additional $5, a single rose can be added.

Meinsen said Dessert First is a restaurant college students can appreciate.

“It’s affordable and cutting edge and we have creative flavors,” she said.

She added the restaurant has a homey but open atmosphere, and is a good place to come in and sit down. Typically on weekdays they’re open until 5 p.m., but they are considering staying open later for the holiday, Meinsen said. Students should call ahead to check on the final closing time.

Eau Claire’s only chocolate shop, Obsession Chocolates, 310 Water St., is offering unique holiday treats. It is making heart-shaped chocolates and boxes. A heart box made entirely out of chocolate with four truffles inside costs $16.95. For a more inexpensive option, they offer heart-shaped boxes with four or more truffles starting at $8. Also, you can buy individual truffles for $1.98. Karen Mesunas of Obsession Chocolates said she thinks her store has a lot of options for students.

“They can buy as little or as much as their heart desires,” she said.

Mesunas also said a very popular item they carry are chocolate dipped potato chips for only $3, and they contain a little more than a vending machine bag of chips. The chips sell fast, but they also carry muffins, cookies, and chocolate sauces. She said she thinks chocolate can also appeal to college students because it’s a special treat.

Mesunas said customers can special order their own flavors, but that they should give a couple days notice.

Buffalo Wild Wings, 4612 Keystone Crossing, another college favorite, offers a Thursday special on its wings. It offers 50-cent boneless buffalo wings in any flavor.

Freshman Cody Norris, who has a girlfriend on campus, said money isn’t an issue for him.

“I’m not too concerned,” he said. “I don’t think ‘Oh that costs too much.’ ”

While Norris and his girlfriend don’t have cars on campus, he said they are going to Olive Garden the Saturday after Valentine’s Day, but will be exchanging gifts on the 14th, including roses, among other things.

Norris’ girlfriend, freshman Britni Welsh, said money wasn’t an issue and gifts aren’t all that important to her.

“It’s Valentine’s Day, it’s about being together,” she said. “Spending time together shows more than the gift.”

She bought her boyfriend a Build-A-Bear, which she said carries more sentimental than monetary value.

For the hopeless romantics, Avalon Floral, 430 Water St., sells a dozen roses for $79.99 and single roses for $5.50 each, including greens and a base. The store recommended ordering a week in advance, but said customers should still be able to get flowers earlier that day.

Houligan’s Steak and Seafood, 415 S. Barstow St., offers $1 off all appetizers and drinks from 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday. Entrees range from $12 to $30, with the steak and shrimp being on the more expensive end.

Owner Jon Seyvold said Houligan’s has a “casual but nice atmosphere that appeals to all ages.”

El Patio, 228 Water St., is known by students for its inexpensive prices, yet great-tasting Mexican cuisine. It is also in a convenient location, just a few blocks from campus.

Another ethnic restaurant right in Eau Claire is Shanghai Bistro, 2930 Craig Rd. Described as having a cosmopolitan atmosphere, avocado rolls at the sushi bar are only $5, among other varieties of makimono rolls.

No matter what your plans are for Valentine’s Day, you don’t have to spend a lot of money. Eau Claire has plenty of options for making it a great day for you and your wallet.