Hurricanes, Floods And Now The Shutdown: Restaurants Offer Free Meals For Federal Workers

Food & Drink

Chef Jose Andres’ Jaleo is offering free food to federal employees. (AP Photo/Beth J. Harpaz)

A recent spate of natural disasters have prompted some impressive responses from restaurant owners.

Think Hurricanes Harvey and Maria, and the floods that followed, which led to volunteer efforts by a number of chefs.

Now, the government shutdown is prompting cafes and restaurants to help out displaced federal workers.

With no end in sight to the standoff between President Trump and Democrats over his demand for a border wall, a number of places across the country are offering free meals to those who are off the job during the impasse.

In New Orleans, the Ruby Slipper Cafe began providing free breakfasts to workers and family members, according to the New Orleans Advocate. The offer covers an entree and a beverage.

“We’re all in this together,” the cafe tweeted.

Ruby Slipper, which has 10 locations in the New Orleans area and other places, has helped out in the past. It offered free breakfasts last fall for people near its Pensacola, Florida location who were affected by Hurricane Maria.

The restaurant plans to continue the breakfast offer until federal workers get paid again.

Meanwhile, chef Jose Andres, known for his philanthropy in Puerto Rico, is again offering free sandwiches at his six Washington, D.C., restaurants, to government workers affected by the shutdown. He also did so during a shutdown in 2013.

Federal workers need to show an ID in order to get the sandwiches, which range from chicken schwarma to pulled pork and a beefsteak burger, depending on the restaurant.

For a list of other Washington-area shutdown specials, look here.

This week, federal workers can get free baked spaghetti at participating locations of Fazzoli’s, the quick service Italian chain. All the employees need to do is show ID and purchase a drink.

In Indianapolis, restaurant owner Neal Brown offered free meals to government employees at his three restaurants. But, some patrons are sweetening the deal.

“I’ve had some takers,” Brown told WTHR, “but I’ve also had a lot of people reach out and offer assistance, like can we throw in gift cards or could we throw in, someone offered to throw in wine and I thought, wine makes people happy, so yeah, it’s been phenomenal.”

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