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Downtown restaurant offers free meals for furloughed federal workers

El Jefe offers free meals to furloughed workers. (WCIV)

Two business partners at a downtown Charleston restaurant are stepping up to keep workers impacted by the partial government shutdown fed.

Roy Neal, owner at El Jefe Texican Cantina, says he and his business partner are happy to help government workers who are not receiving paychecks due to the shutdown.

All workers have to have is proof that they’re out of work because of the shutdown, an ID, or just come in uniform.

Clayton Mozingo a regular customer at El Jefe from Charleston, said, “That’s what community is all about, give what you can and do what you can to bring everybody together. I think it’s great what he’s doing, I think everybody should be doing what he’s doing and it would help the entire community.”

Community is what Neal and his business partner said they are trying to create.

“My partner Jay Witkowski was a marine and when we discussed this government shutdown and how slow business was for a lot of businesses downtown, we wanted to see what we could do,” Neal said.

El Jefe on King Street has created a special menu including super tacos and some other popular items.

Neal said his business partner is the mastermind behind the menu.

“He came out and put it together, he’s a Dallas native, it’s a Texican cantina that we have here. It’s filled with some really good food. Our tagline is authentic, fresh, and Texican.”

Neal said January is a slower month for businesses typically, but he and his former marine business partner had to help.

“We’re kind of slow, we’ve got a little down time, so in the kitchen they can prepare some meals and take care of the people that take care of us,” Neal told ABC News 4.

Neal said, the best part is, along with authentic Tex-Mex dishes and an atmosphere that’s just as spicy, these free meals for furloughed federal workers will last the entire length of the shutdown.

Neal said that he will be collecting canned goods in his restaurant to give to a food bank.

Customers who bring in cans will receive 20 percent off of their meal.

He said Lowcountry Food Bank staff told him the bank has been experiencing shortages due to the shutdown.

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