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Federal workers aren't alone, metro restaurants are hurting from shutdown as well

Posted at 6:23 PM, Jan 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-09 20:23:23-05

LAKEWOOD, Colo. — As the partial government shutdown continues, the adverse ripple effect of not having some of the 6,000 federal workers at the Denver Federal Center also continues for restaurants and businesses in the area.

“About a month ago when the furlough came around we slowed way down,” Nick Andurlakis of Nick’s Cafe said.

He’s been running an Elvis-themed cafe on 8th and Simms near the Federal Center for 32 years, serving breakfast and lunch to a crowd made up of a lot of federal workers. But since the partial government shutdown has gone into effect, that crowd has all but disappeared.

“I’m doing maybe a tenth of what I was doing before,” Andurlakis said.

The U.S. General Services Administration says that more than 6,000 workers are employed at the Denver Federal Center in Lakewood. According to a recent statement, the center will remain open “for the hundreds of federal employees that have not been furloughed during this partial government shutdown."

The owner says he feels for the federal workers, who are the ones primarily impacted. But he’s also feeling the financial impact.

“There’s a lot of eateries around here, and they’re all taking a toll,” he said. “Between me and everybody else, we’re way down.”

“It’s for sure a problem and a concern,” Chad Hotchkiss of Jose O’Shea’s Mexican restaurant added.

The same pinch is happening just down the street at O’Shea’s, which also serves a lot of federal center workers.

“We definitely see it. When they’re closed we have really slow lunches and happy hours,” Hotchkiss said.

Now they’re even considering a cut in staffing.

“We haven’t yet, but it is in the works for sure if it keeps going,” the restaurant’s vice president said.

The additional problem is that the restaurants won’t be able to make up that lost revenue. Even when federal workers get back to work, they won’t

“We’re gonna take it and have to eat it. That’s all we can do. There’s no way our money is gonna be recouped because there’s no way to do that,” Andurlakis said.

On Wednesday, President Trump dug his heels in on the government shut down and border security, saying he would do “whatever it takes” to accomplish his agenda.

On Wednesday, President Trump dug his heels in on the government shut down and border security, saying he would do “whatever it takes” to accomplish his agenda.

That leaves businesses like Nick’s and O’Shea’s hoping for action to get the furloughed workers back to work, and hopefully for them, back at their tables.

There are also many resources, including restaurants, offering assistance to furloughed federal workers:

Offering free baked spaghetti with the purchase of a drink during the week of 1/7-1/13

Offering complimentary dinner for government employees impacted from 1/8 until the government is back open

Has extra food on our mobile pantries and planning to extend distribution on Saturday. For more information, head to

Waiving normal income requirements for government employees as long as the shutdown is happening

Offering a variety of resources for federal workers through 2-1-1 call center to connect people to health care services, food pantries, mental health resources, childcare, and utility and eviction prevention assistance, etc.