October 11th, 2013
10:30 AM ET
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Kate Krader (@kkrader on Twitter) is Food & Wine's restaurant editor. When she tells us where to find our culinary heart's desire, we listen up.

I’ve read that drinking is up around Washington, D.C., since the beginning of the government shutdown on October 1.

I understand that. Just hearing about the shutdown makes me want to reach for some alcohol. But as the shutdown stretches on, I keep thinking about furloughed workers. Some sympathetic chefs around the country are thinking about them too, and are offering free lunch to federal workers. Yay for them and their decision to support workers who have stopped getting paychecks.

What these chefs are divided on is how to feed Congress: One place has launched a Congress Chicken special; another says: “members of congress not eligible for free pizza until you get your s**t together.”

County Barbeque - Chicago
, Illinois
Until Friday, October 11, this hickory-smoking barbecue joint is offering complimentary pulled pork sandwiches with mustard barbecue sauce to furloughed government employees who show their government ID.

County Barbeque has something for Congressional members, as well. “In reference to the fearful, indecisive animal to which they have been compared this week, a special Congress Chicken will be on the house for Congressmen and women who visit the restaurant. Cluck, cluck,” says the restaurant.

Range - Washington, D.C.
Local hero chef Bryan Voltaggio offered free cheese pizza to all federal workers, furloughed or not, starting on the morning of October 1. He launched the program on Range’s twitter feed (@VOLT_RANGE): “Gov’t cheese Margarita pizza with your Federal ID #shutdown #governmentshutdown.”

By the next day, Voltaggio changed the offer to exclude members of Congress, tweeting from his own personal account (@BryanVoltaggio) “Forgot to mention... members of congress not eligible until you get your s**t together on the Govt. Cheese pizza give away @VOLT_RANGE”

Jaleo, Zaytinya and Oyamel - Washington, D.C.
Every day from 3 to 5 p.m., three outstanding José Andrés restaurants are offering free sandwiches to furloughed government workers. On September 30, Andrés tweeted (@chefjoseandres), “a free sandwich on me, people furloughed, btwn 3-5 pm, everyday until it’s over. @jaleotapasbar dc md va @ZaytinyaDC @oyameldc Gov’t ID.”

The Spanish-born chef might be especially inspired because he’s just one step away from American citizenship. All he and his wife have left to do is the swearing-in ceremony—but that might have to wait until the government is back up and running.

Sugarfire Smoke House - St. Louis, Missouri
Here’s another barbecue restaurant with a special for sidelined workers. Sugarfire has the Government Shutdown Sandwich as a daily offering, free to furloughed employees.

The sign advertising the sandwich on October 1 read: “The Government Shutdown Sandwich! White bread. Cheese. That’s it. Suck it up.” The sign followed that with: “Just kidding. Brisket, pork, turkey, lettuce, onion, pickle, mayo.”

Bayou Bakery - Alexandria, Virginia
So many places have sandwiches covered; chef David Guas is serving free beignets to government workers with the purchase of a cup of coffee.

More from Food & Wine:
Best BBQ Cities
World’s Greatest Restaurant Views
Andrew Zimmern’s Best Balls of Food
Best Biscuits in the U.S.
Insane Over-the-Top Burgers

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Filed under: Content Partner • Food and Wine • Jose Andres • Politics • Restaurant News • Shutdown • White House


soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. buongiorno

    nice to know people in the world are still cival GOD BLESS

    October 14, 2013 at 7:28 pm | Reply
  2. RC

    Someone should offer them free sh!t on a shingle. Or maybe a hot mess.....

    October 11, 2013 at 1:56 pm | Reply

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