Helping Hand

Where Government Workers Can Eat Free During the Shutdown

While hundreds of thousands go unpaid, some restaurants are offering free meals.

By Timothy Malcolm January 17, 2019

The federal government shutdown is now in its 27th day. We're now at the stage where Cardi B has taken to Instagram to deliver an expletive-laden explanation and tirade about the shutdown, which has caused several hundreds of thousands government workers to go without pay.

Suffice it to say things aren't looking good for government workers. 

A few Houston restaurants are trying to help in their own way. Here's a rundown of places that are offering free or discounted meals to furloughed government employees (must have a federally issued government ID):

  • At Killen's Barbecue, government employees get a free family pack of brisket, sausage, potato salad, and beans. Killen's will give these out until there's no more, and eligible guests should go to the west to-go window at the restaurant. 
  • D'Amicos is offering free spaghetti and meatballs for lunch and dinner Monday-Thursday until the shutdown ends. The offer includes one non-alcoholic beverage.
  • Bistro Provence is giving away a free lunch (one of two daily blackboard specials) Monday-Friday during the shutdown. The offer includes a non-alcoholic beverage.
  • At Ouisie's Table, get a main course for free during lunch, and a main course of up to $30 for free during dinner. This offer is good for any day until the shutdown ends, but limit one visit per week per person.
  • Rainbow Lodge is offering its smoked duck gumbo from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday-Friday during the shutdown. Only good one time, and the guest is requested to pay for a beverage and leave a tip. No more than four per group.
  • Poitín is offering a complementary bar snack to all government employees affected by the shutdown.
  • Meanwhile, Bosscat Kitchen & Libations is offering 20 percent off the bill of anyone affected. The deal is also valid at BCK: Kitchen & Cocktail Adventures.
  • Bread Man Baking Company is offering a free loaf to any government employee not getting paid during the shutdown. Pick up yours at the bakery from 8 a.n, to 3 p.m. Friday, or at the Urban Harvest Farmers Market from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday.
  • Chilosos Taco House in the Heights and Chilosos Fresh-Mex Kitchen & Cantina in Cypress are offering a free taco and drink to any furloughed employee from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Fridays until the shutdown ends.
  • NobiliTea in Clear Lake is offering a free tea bar drink and cookie to government workers not being paid during the shutdown. 
  • Kids' Meals is offering free meals to preschool-aged children of furloughed government workers. Child must be younger than six. Fill out an application (available here) and take it to 330 Garden Oaks Blvd with your ID.

We'l update this story with any additions to the list. If you have any, please email [email protected]

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