The partial government shutdown is more than just a political squabble in faraway Washington, D.C. Federal employees here in Denver could face tough times after missing one or more paycheck, as this becomes one of the longest shutdowns in history. A few Front Range restaurants are trying to ease the blow with discounts and, in some cases, free meals. Here's a list of places — updated on Friday, January 25 — you can go if you're a federal employee in need of a cheap or free meal:
5530 Spine Road, Boulder
Here's what Aperitivo posted on its Facebook page on January 7:
Aperitivo - Gunbarrel is proud to announce that our ownership group will provide a complimentary meal for any furloughed government employee/contractor and family, each up to a family of 4, we will provide a family meal per week per as long as the political shutdown continues.
Please make a reservation 303-530-1326 for seating, order from our all day menu, excluding alcohol and voluntary gratuities.
We appreciate all of the hard work our communities government employees and family provide to our country... we thank you for your service.
2227 West 32nd Avenue
Government employees with a valid ID can enjoy one free margherita pizza with a house tap wine or beer and a free soft drink for kids dining with adults. The offer is good Monday through Thursday from 3 to 9 p,m. until the shutdown ends.
Big Red F Restaurants
All locations of Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar, The Post Brewing Co., Centro Mexican Kitchen, Lola Coastal Mexican, West End Tavern and Zolo Grill are sharing lunch with federal employees. "If you are one of the over 800,000 workers not getting paid, join us for a weekday lunch on us — starting Monday, January 14th, and lasting until it's over," the restaurant group says. You'll have to bring your ID or other proof of employment and cover your own tax and tip, but otherwise just ask for the Furlough Lunch for a free meal.
Black Shirt Brewing
3719 Walnut Street
Black Shirt is a pizza place as well as a brewery, so food and beer are part of the experience. "If you're a federal employee on furlough, stop by our tap room for some knots on us," the brewery says on its Facebook page. "This is in addition to our regular 15 percent off drinks for all civil personnel, every day. Simply show us your government-issued ID and we'll take care of the rest."
8800 South Colorado Boulevard, Highlands Ranch
This Highlands Ranch Tex-Mex spot is offering free meals to federal employees and their families with a valid government ID through the duration of the shutdown.
Curry N Kebob
3050 28th Street, Boulder
"To all our federal employees, if you are having a tough time during this government shutdown, come and eat in my restaurant free until the shutdown is over. Just show your federal ID. We will be honored to serve you a free meal. If you have spouse and children bring them too." That's the message Curry N Kebob owner Zuned Khan posted on his restaurant's Facebook page this week to give workers a bite of hope during a difficult time.
1512 Curtis Street
Hit Dazzle every weekend as long as the shutdown lasts for a free breakfast or brunch from 1 to 1:30 p.m. on Saturday or 2 to 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. That's a tight window, but you could do some pretty good damage to the buffet in half an hour; just be sure to bring your official ID.
The Denver Central Market
2669 Larimer Street
Larimer Street's multi-vendor market hall has a number of offers for federal employees, Show your government ID at the following counters to take advantage of discounts and specials. "These offers will remain valid until we get everyone back to work," say the organizers. Get a free drip coffee or 50 percent off a specialty coffee drink at Crema; get a free Juan's Burrito at Izzio Bakery; get one free chocolate bar of your choice from Temper Chocolate; enjoy a free breakfast sandwich from Culture Meat & Cheese; take home a two-pound package of ground beef or chicken breast from The Local Butcher; and take 20 percent off menu items at the Tammen's Fish Market counter, Green Seed Market, SK Provisions, Vero Pizza and Curio Bar.
Fazoli's is offering a free Pizza Baked Spaghetti (that's a single dish!) with the purchase of a small drink to all federal government workers affected by the shutdown. You'll need to present your valid ID first, and check ahead, as some Fazoli's locations may not be participating.
Hopdoddy Burger Bar
1747 Wynkoop Street
Texas-based burger bar Hopdoddy is offering 25 percent off the tab for government workers until the end of the shutdown.
9800 East IKEA Way, Englewood
Government workers with a valid ID can visit IKEA Centennial for a complimentary breakfast, lunch or dinner, including: a small breakfast combo (scrambled eggs, chicken sausage and potatoes); the Swedish-American breakfast combo (scrambled eggs, chicken sausage, potatoes and two Swedish pancakes); a breakfast sandwich combo; Swedish pancakes or waffles; or a lunch or dinner entree or combo up to an $8.99 value, plus up to two kids' meals per government ID. Coffee, tea or a fountain drink are included with each item. The offer will be available Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. until the government shutdown is over.
Le French Cafe
2525 Arapahoe Avenue, C-1, Boulder
This Boulder cafe is offering a free order of sweet or savory crepes to government workers with a valid ID. Stop in from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
1533 Champa Street, 303-629-5777
425 South Teller Street, Lakewood, 303-937-9777
"If you are one of the over 800,000 federal workers not getting paid, make plans to visit us for a free lunch buffet,"Little India says on its Facebook page. "Just show your government ID and your meal is on us. Any day Monday through Sunday between 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m." The offer is good at the downtown and Belmar locations only.
8026 West Bowles Avenue, Littleton
"The dysfunction in Washington over this shutdown is placing an unfair burden on our government workers," says Lucha Cantina co-owner Chuck Holcomb. "We want these respected public servants to know that we will band together and stand with them." To do that, Lucha's Littleton and Georgetown (at 606 Sixth Street) locations will serve any adult with a government ID — and their children — complimentary meals from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day until the shutdown ends.
2129 Larimer Street
Federal employees can dine in for free at Marco's Coal Fired every day from 2 to 6 p.m. The offer includes a one-topping margherita pizza and soft drink for federal workers, their spouses and their children 17 and under for the duration of the shutdown. Just show a federal government work ID and pick up the tax and tip.
6115 East 22nd Ave
Not only is this Park Hill pizzeria offering free dine-in or takeout meals to furloughed workers who show a valid government ID, but the restaurant is "adopting" five families and has already held fundraisers on Monday, January 14, and Wednesday January, 16, to raise additional funds to get them through the shutdown. On those two nights, 20 percent of sales were donated to the selected families. Contact the restaurant at firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-918-1204 for information about donations. In a recent New York Times interview, owner Morgan McKay says at least a dozen people every day have taken advantage of the offer, while paying customers have pitched in extra money.
Poor Richard's Downtown
324 1/2 North Tejon Street, Colorado Springs
Poor Richard's has made the news nationally and even in Canada for its offer to feed furloughed workers and their families a free meal. "We at Poor Richard's are committed to keeping the offer going as long as the shut-down continues," reads a message on the restaurant's Facebook page. The restaurant has also received donations from regular customers to help offset the cost of giving away food.
Punch Bowl Social
3120 Uinta Street, 720-500-3788
65 Broadway, 303-765-2695
Both the Broadway and Stapleton locations of Punch Bowl Social are offering a 25 percent discount on all food, beverages and games to federal government employees until the shutdown is over. Just show your government identification card before ordering and apply the discount to all food, beverages and activities, including happy hour, brunch and daily specials (but not private parties or merchandise).
3301 Tejon Street
LoHi's Latin American eatery is offering a free bowl of pozole until the end of the government shutdown. Furloughed government employees with a valid ID can land a bowl loaded with pork, hominy and red chile broth, along with a beer, from 5 p.m. to close Monday through Thursday.
Three metro locations
Sushi's on the house for federal government employees. Sushi-Rama (in RiNo, DTC and Lone Tree) is inviting furloughed employees affected by the shutdown to enjoy a free lunch (gratuity not included) from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. Just show your valid federal government ID.
1659 Wazee Street
Urban Farmer is supporting federal furloughed employees from Monday, January 28, through Friday, February 1. Government employees with a valid ID can enjoy a complimentary brunch entree from the weekday brunch menu (inclusive of tax and tip) from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
3073 Walnut Street, Boulder
The Walnut Cafe and its spinoffs, Southside Walnut Cafe (675 South Broadway, Boulder) and Super Mini Walnut Cafe (2770 Arapahoe Road, Lafayette), are offering free breakfast to furloughed workers. Just bring your government ID, even if it's already "cut into little pieces or is burnt on the edges," says the cafe. "Come in for some love, hugs and food for your soul!"
Wave the Grain
8172 South Holly Street, Centennial
"Are you as frustrated as we are about the situation?" asks Wave the Grain on its Facebook page. "We feel your pain and we love you! Come in and show us your gov`t ID card to enjoy a free small coffee plus any item up to $5.00 at no charge, from now until the shutdown is over! Hopefully that will help take the edge off during this difficult time."
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Even a free cup of coffee will help those on a tight budget right now. Moxie Bread Co. (at 641 Main Street in Louisville) and Mint & Serif Coffeehouse (11500 West Colfax Avenue) are serving free drip coffee for furloughed federal employees.
If you're looking for something a little stiffer, a shot of Impeach Vodka could do the trick. State 38 Distilling, at 400 Corporate Circle Suite B in Golden, is offering a free shot with proof of age and federal government employment. Show up between 4 and 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday to stick it to the man. DC Pie Co. is also offering a free specialty cocktail to any showing proof of federal employment. Great Divide Brewing, 2201 Arapahoe Street, is offering two-for-one beers for federal employees. You may not save a lot of money, but at least you can raise a glass with fellow furloughed workers. Other breweries offering free or discounted beers include Cerveceria Colorado, 4 Noses, Left Hand and Epic.
In addition to bars, restaurants and cafes, relief is coming from other organizations. U.S. Representative Ed Perlmutter’s office at 12600 West Colfax Avenue in Lakewood is offering free breakfast and lunch items from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday until the shutdown ends. Food Bank of the Rockies is increasing food distribution to help out federal workers in need. See the organization's website for dates and locations.
Update: On Friday, January 25, the White House announced that a deal to end the partial government shutdown has been made, so these restaurant deals will soon be gone, too. Call ahead to bars and restaurants before you go.