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The federal government shutdown has dragged on for weeks, affecting many federal workers in Northwest Indiana.

Federal employees, many of whom have been asked to work without pay, are employed throughout the Region, at workplaces like the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, the FBI and IRS offices in Merrillville,  the U.S. District Court in Hammond, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Indiana in Hammond, and the Adam Benjamin Jr. VA Outpatient Clinic in Crown Point.

Doc's Smokehouse and Craft Bar has got their back.

The southern barbecue joint and craft beer bar, which started in Dyer and has since expanded to Milwaukee and Mokena, is now running a "shutdown special" that consists of a pork sandwich, chips, and a drink.

"Any federal employee who is furloughed or working without pay can show their government ID and get the special," Doc's Chief BBQ Officer Brent Brashier said. "I plan on continuing to run this until the shutdown ends."

Brashier said he was inspired to offer free meals after learning 40,000 federal workers across the Chicago area were affected, including one who's a regular guest at the Dyer restaurant.

"He said he might not see me for a while because he wasn’t getting paid," Brashier said. "That really bothered me, and I tried to think of what we could do to help. Sunday I challenged the leadership team in each store to come up with ways for Doc’s to help. Generosity is a key component of hospitality, so we thought offering a free meal would be the right thing to do. We have been very lucky to have so much support from our communities; we have an obligation to help out when we can."

For more information, visit or call 219-262-3627.


Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.