Back when the 16-day shutdown was still a mere glimmer in Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz’s eye, local restaurants began offering a helping hand to civil servants displaced by the ideological tug of war consuming Capitol Hill.
Here’s some of the fallout from the feeding frenzy of the furloughed:
The José Andrés-led outfit gave away 2,783 sandwiches across its various properties.
The furloughed flocked mostly to Zaytinya, the location that served up the most complimentary meals and the most popular of the free sandwiches, the chicken shawarma.
Pork Barrel BBQ
This suburban barbecue shop, the brainchild of former congressional staffers turned cook-off competitors, dished out 2,047 gratis pulled pork sandwiches (estimated retail value: $13,000) throughout the course of the shutdown.
Pork Barrel Co-Owner Bill Blackburn said they took the biggest hits early on, preparing 351 free sandwiches on Oct. 1 and 418 free sandwiches Oct. 2.
Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken
Frustrated feds ate their feelings by way of chomping through just under 1,000 free donuts.
What flavor most comforted those burned by the budget battle? The lightly torched crème brulee, of course.
And then there’s poor Z-Burger.
The local chainlet revels in rolling out timely giveaways (Election Day, National Cheeseburger Day), but bit off more than it could chew with its promise of free burgers for badge-flashing patrons at both lunch and dinner. The company had to kill the promotion within the first 96 hours of the shutdown — a desperation move prompted by their having to eat the loss of approaching 16,000 in free sandwiches, or roughly $88,000.