Restaurants Across the U.S. Offering Free Food to Furloughed Employees During Shutdown

The government shutdown is approaching three weeks long.
Getty Images

The government shutdown is the second-longest in U.S. history.

Restaurants across the country are offering free food to furloughed federal employees.

The partial government shutdown began when 19 days ago President Trump demanded more than $5 billion to finance his border wall between the U.S. and Mexico and Democrats refused to agree. 

Some eateries are offering “shut down specials,” including Java Joe’s Café in Michigan are offering free breakfast and lunch to furloughed federal workers during the second-longest shutdown in history. 

“We live next to a Coast Guard station and they come in regularly. The Border Patrol [employees] are also non-essential. Every day they come in,” Joe Durm, owner of the café, told “My wife and I were sitting in our living room watching CNN and they were talking to some congressman and they were so cavalier and said they [employees] would be alright. Well bull****, they are not all right.”

Durm, 76, and his wife decided to do something about it. “We had two Border Patrol employees and six or seven Coast Guard [employees] in for breakfast,” Durm said.

Durm, who has been in business for 45 years, said he plans on offering the special as long as the partial shutdown lasts.

Around 800,000 federal employees across the United States have been working without pay since Dec. 21 and won’t be compensated until the shutdown ends. 

Durm’s isn’t the only restaurant to step up to the plate for furloughed employees.

Poor Richard’s restaurant in Colorado Springs, Colorado, is also offering free meals to the affected government employees and their families. All they need is a government ID to be served for free .

“We hope this undue hardship facing our loyal government employees ends soon!”reads the restaurant's Facebook. 

There are also at least 20 other restaurants and bars in D.C. alone offering free or discounted prices for “nonessential” employees.

Famous chef Jose Andres is helping out through his restaurant Think Food Tank in D.C.

He tweeted his offer in response to a tweet from President Trump.“The Democrats, whose votes we need in the Senate, will probably vote against Border Security and the Wall even though they know it is DESPERATELY NEEDED. If the Dems vote no, there will be a shutdown that will last for a very long time.”

Jose Andres responded: “And I will offer again Free Sandwiches to the poor men and women of the federal government, republicans and democrats, at every restaurant of mine in DC for lunch until they get paid again!”