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During Shutdown, Some Restaurants Charge More for Congress Members

By Aditi Mukherji, JD on October 03, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

From free coffee to "Government Cheese" pizza, "shutdown specials" to furloughed employees are all the rage at restaurants and eateries in Washington D.C. But members of Congress shouldn't expect any freebie love from these joints.

At least four eateries have announced members of Congress are not only excluded from the discounts -- in some cases, they'll be charged double until they get it together and reopen the government.

No Soup for You

After getting the cold shoulder from D.C. establishments on the mouth-watering list of "furlough specials", members of Congress can now identify on an uncomfortably personal level with the classic "Seinfeld" episode, in which The Soup Nazi unequivocally declares: "no soup for you!"

Top Chef star Bryan Voltaggio who owns Range on Wisconsin Ave is giving away free "Government Cheese" pizza pies to government employees with a valid ID, but members of Congress are "not eligible until you get your s**t together," according to Bravo.

At Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe on Connecticut Ave, it's Happy Hour all day for everyone -- everyone but members of Congress, that is. They will need to pay double for their drinks.

Jonesing for a free cup of Joe? Head over to The Daily Dish in Silver Spring. Not so fast, Congress: you get to pay double for coffee until the shutdown ends.

At Pork Barrel BBQ in Alexandria, every furloughed employee can get in on a free pulled pork sandwich. According to Eater D.C., no dice for politicos, though.

Public Accommodation Laws

Public accommodation laws prevent private businesses from discriminating against customers based on many protected categories, including race, gender, disability, and religion. But being a member of Congress is generally not included in those protected categories.

That being said, legally enforcing a policy that denies a discount until the patron "gets his or her s**t together" would be terribly amusing but sadly, terribly impossible.

If members of Congress manage to muster up the courage (and audacity) to roll up to one of these joints, it wouldn't be surprising if they are offered a children's menu.

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