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Hoda Kotb’s dream first date would be at Chili’s

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Champagne and caviar? Turns out the key to Hoda Kotb’s heart is a Bloomin’ Onion.

When Page Six asked the “Today” show co-host where she likes to be taken on a date, Eleven Madison Park wasn’t exactly at the top of the list.

“I like the Cheesecake Factory, Cracker Barrel, Olive Garden, Red Lobster and Outback Steakhouse,” Kotb told us, “Do not disrespect any of those restaurants. Chili’s. I will go there with you on a first date. I don’t care if paparazzi catches me walking inside.”

Hoda Kotb on stage giving speech.
Hoda Kotb loves the Cheesecake Factory and Red Lobster for a first date. Getty Images
Hoda Kotb posing on the red carpet.
The “Today” show co-host says lack of manners are a deal breaker for a second date. Erik Pendzich/Shutterstock

“Today With Hoda and Jenna” co-host was honored at the Hudson River Park Friends for their 8th annual playground committee luncheon held at Pier 59 Friday, and recently told “Entertainment Tonight” she is already planning a third date with the mystery man introduced to her by Jenna Bush Hager.

The “Hope Is A Rainbow” author split with fiancé Joel Schiffman in 2022.They were together for eight years and engaged for two. 

Meanwhile, aside from disrespecting strip-mall dining options, Kotb tells us she has some dating red flags.

Hoda Kotb  wearing black dress.
The mother of two latest book is titled “Hope Is A Rainbow.” Jackson Lee

“My red flag is someone who is not polite,” she said, “If they don’t hold the door. If they don’t listen. If they start eating before I eat. You have to be polite. I’m a manners person. I never saw my mom open the car door. My dad always opened it. So manners matter.”

Hoda Kotb with her daughters Hope and Haley Joy.
The NBC anchor 3-year old daughter Hope experienced a health scare. Hoda Kotb/Instagram

The 59-year-old recently had a scare with her daughter Hope, 3, who was hospitalized last year. She told Page Six how the experience has changed her outlook.

“Money and fame, and all of those things don’t matter… if you want real happiness in life,” she said, “Don’t get me wrong: you have to be able to pay your bills, no question. But happiness comes when you wake up in the morning and you look around and you are happy with your kids, your life, who you are and what you are. Being present that is what happiness is because everything else goes away.”

Hoda Kotb holding her children's book "Hope Is A Rainbow."
“Today With Hoda and Jenna” co-host was honored at the Hudson River Park Friends annual playground committee luncheon. Getty Images

She adds: “Once you buy that new car and that new car smell is gone, now you complain about something else. You got something you wanted so bad and then you’re like, ‘Wait — I don’t really like that anymore.’ You got to love other things, man, and I think once you got your kids and your Health, the rest of it is OK.”

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