Indy restaurant owner offers free food to those affected by government shutdown

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – It's day 13 of the partial government shutdown, leaving an estimated 800,000 government employees across the country without a paycheck.

Neal Brown, owner of Ukiyo sushi bar in Indianapolis, wanted to help his fellow Hoosiers who were impacted.

"As New Year’s came around, lots of people start to reflect and start to think about how they can do better that year,” said Brown, who also owns Pizzology in Carmel and Libertine in Indianapolis on Mass Ave.

After hearing about the hundreds of thousands of Americans not receiving a paycheck, Brown went to Facebook. He made a post announcing that any government employee affected by the shutdown could eat at any of his restaurants for free.

"Restaurants and chefs are in a unique position to help people who find themselves in these circumstances,” Brown said

Thanks to the offer, today one government employee was able to take her kids to eat at Pizzology for the first time.

“She came with her two kids and she seemed very happy that we were offering that kind of experience for her,” said Pizzology server Madeline Williams

While Brown has only had a few people taking him up on the offer so far, he’s also received a lot of support.

"We've actually very generously had donors come forward saying that they will help subsidize these efforts which is pretty cool,” Brown said.

Brown hopes a free meal can go a long way for families, providing more comfort than just food.

“This is more about helping people maybe get a respite from sort of what would be a downer time for them," Brown said. "Just getting away and having a meal with their family."

Brown says those that take him up on his offer will get a gift card. He just asks that you provide proof that you’re a government employee affected by the shutdown.

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