Tampa Bay restaurants offer free meals to government workers

The shutdown has reached Day 31.

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click to enlarge Until the shutdown ends, workers and their families can redeem a free entree from Pia's. - Todd Bates
Todd Bates
Until the shutdown ends, workers and their families can redeem a free entree from Pia's.


As the government shutdown continues (we’re on Day 31), restaurants throughout the region are doing their part to support unpaid federal employees.

The Blind Tiger in Tampa and St. Petersburg’s Chicago-style steakhouse, Beau & Mo’s, are a couple of spots that offered comps to government workers earlier this month. Here are some others with free meals still on the table:

Clearwater bar and grill Campanella’s gives employees impacted by the shutdown access to its lunch buffet — on the house — from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 24. They must provide a government ID and $0 pay stub.

Until the shutdown ends, workers and their families can redeem a free entree from the regular menu of Pia’s Trattoria in Gulfport. A government ID or pay stub is required.

“We hope this is soon resolved and you can go back to your normal life!” reads the Pia’s menu.

Across the bridge in Tampa, Skipper’s Smokehouse provides complimentary lunch between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. every Friday until the shutdown is over. Employees must show valid ID.

A Taco Bus food truck will serve Transportation Security Administration staff at Tampa International Airport from 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. Monday, Jan. 28 — and once a week thereafter until the conclusion of the shutdown. Chicken and butternut squash tacos, salsa roja, salsa verde and bottled water are the grub options.

A free cheese or pepperoni pie goes to workers who bring a government-issued employee badge or pay stub to Tampa Pizza Company through the end of January.

“At TPC we don’t play politics,” according to a recent photo posted to the pizzeria’s Facebook page, “but we know some of our brothers and sisters in the community are struggling not knowing when they’ll receive their next paycheck.”

As for the Wesley Chapel and Lutz area, government employees with ID and one guest will nab a complimentary 11-inch pizza or salad at MOD Pizza from open to close Sunday, Jan. 27.

This is why we love where we live.

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