Here's Where Furloughed Employees Can Score Food Deals During the Government Shutdown

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With the partial government shutdown approaching the five-week mark, there are about 800,000 federal employees going without pay—not to mention the countless others who normally rely on the vital government services that have been cut off. In light of the situation, many restaurants—both local and national—are offering free food for furloughed workers with a valid federal employee ID. Here, an incomplete list.


Now through January 27, furloughed federal employees can get a free Pizza Baked Spaghetti with the purchase of any drink.

Now through January 27, Potbelly will offer buy-one-get-one-free sandwiches to federal employees.

Regional and Local

All José Andrés Restaurants—Washington, D.C., Texas, Maryland, Nevada, Virginia
From the chef himself: "All my beautiful hardworking people of the federal government, come to any of my places with your families at the bar between 2 and 5 p.m. for a free sandwich. Everyday until back to work!" That includes American Eats Tavern, Beefsteak, China Chilcano, Jaleo, Oyamel and Zaytinya, to name a few.

Boston’s Pizza Restaurant & Sports Bar—Washington, D.C., Texas, Maryland
Until the shutdown is over, the sports bar is offering 50 percent off in-restaurant food purchases.

Brickwall TavernNew Jersey, Pennsylvania
The restaurant’s three locations are offering a percentage off of food bills. It began January 15, day 25 of the shutdown, with a 25 percent discount and each day the discount is increasing through the end of the shutdown.

Brother Jimmy’sConnecticut, Florida, Maryland, New York
Today through January 25, the barbecue spot is offering a complimentary lunch for furloughed workers.

Condado TacosIndiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania
Through January 30, all locations will be offering a free taco to furloughed employees, no purchase necessary.

Farm BurgerAlabama, California, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee
Every Friday until the shutdown is over, federal government employees can get a free chicken burger, fries and an iced tea.

Phoenicia DinerNew York
According to its Instagram, the Catskills diner is offering to all furloughed employees, “a meal on us” until the shutdown is over.

Ruby Slipper CafeAlabama, Florida, Louisiana
Affected federal workers and their immediate families will get a free meal with a valid ID or business card.

You can find more deals by searching social media hashtags (like #ShutdownSpecials) or Googling for shutdown assistance in your city, and many nonprofits are also offering assistance. For example, Hunger Free America’s “Fed Food” hotline will connect anyone affected by the shutdown with food resources.


Senior Food Editor

Katherine Gillen is PureWow’s senior food editor. She’s a writer, recipe developer and food stylist with a degree in culinary arts and professional experience in New York City...