DC Businesses Offer Helping Hand to Federal Employees Amid Shutdown

D.C. businesses are showing solidarity with furloughed government employees.

ByABC News
October 2, 2013, 3:47 PM

Oct. 2, 2013— -- A government shutdown has gripped Washington, D.C., and federal agencies across the country for the first time in nearly two decades. An estimated 800,000 government employees have been furloughed.

So what's an out-of-work government employee to do to ward off the doom and gloom?

Despair not. Dozens of businesses in and around Washington are showing their solidarity by offering furloughed employees free or discounted food, drinks and activities to keep their spirits high during the shutdown.

From free cupcakes to $2 beer specials and free museum admissions to free pole-dancing classes, ABC News has compiled a list of some of the unexpected perks of being a "non-essential" government employee:


Government workers will not go hungry -- or without a sugar fix -- thanks to the largesse of several area establishments.

Jose Andres Sandwiches Internationally renowned chef Jose Andres is offering free sandwiches every afternoon during the shutdown to government employees. Bring your government ID into one of his three DC eateries -- Zaytinya, Oyamel or Jaleo -- from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. during the shutdown and receive a complimentary sandwich.

Z-BurgerThe burger chain is offering free burgers, with a valid government ID, to workers during peak lunch and dinner hours, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., at four of its DC-area locations: Arlington, Tenleytown, Southwest and Columbia Heights. This offer extends until the end of the government shutdown.

Pork Barrel BBQPork Barrel BBQ is also offering free food for the duration of the shutdown to all government employees -- well, every government employee except for members of Congress. The BBQ joint is serving up free pulled pork sandwiches all day, limit one per day, in Alexandria, Va.

Sophie's Cuban DCThe new restaurant opens this Thursday, and is showing its support for furloughed government employees by giving away empanadas. Make any purchase at the restaurant, and show your government ID, and you will receive three free empanadas.

Cupcake BlvdCupcake Blvd. is offering one free cupcake to federal employees affected by the shutdown from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., through Friday. So bring your federal ID to the Anne Arundel County cupcakery, and #KeepCalmHaveACupcake.

Taylor Gourmet This authentic market specializing in hoagies is offering furloughed federal workers "a 10 percent discount, career counseling and a cookie" with the purchase of any hoagie or salad.

Del CampoSouth American steakhouse Del Campo has another fix for federal employees with the shutdown blues. The restaurant is offering happy hour prices for the duration of the shutdown, all day long, with a government ID.

Sticky RiceAn H Street NE sushi bar, Sticky Rice began offering half-price sushi and half-price domestic beers at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday in honor of the government shutdown.

Gourmet CottageGourmet Cottage, a store specializing in unique gourmet chocolates, wines, foods and gifts, is offering a government shutdown special of 15% off for all furloughed government workers and contractors. Present your valid government ID, and the discount is good until government re-opens.

Boston MarketFrom October 6-13, Boston Market is offering all federal employees a free whole chicken with the purchase of a family meal. Show your federal ID at any of Boston Market's 460 locations across the country, to take part in this offer.


A number of D.C. bars are offering slashed happy hour prices and discounted drink specials.