Popular Kzoo restaurant offering discount for federal workers affected by shutdown

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Craig Dotson says he has been paying close attention to the government shutdown he's upset about it.

He’s spoken with a few federal employees who told him that they’re already cutting corners with their budgets.

“People are deciding ‘well should I pay my mortgage or should I buy food for the family,’” Dotson said during an interview at his restaurant Studio Grill. “I just, I don’t agree with it.”

Tuesday morning, Dotson decided to do something about it, he said. He and his staff put up three handwritten signs on their front windows and door that read:

During this government shutdown, federal employees can receive 20 percent off.

“They walk in, they sit down, they tell the server ‘you know I’m a federal employee,’” Dotson said. “Show us your federal ID card and we’ll give you 20 percent off your whole table.”

So far, the deal has been well received, he said. Wednesday morning, he served two tables of federal employees who were thanking him for the discount.

“I care about the people in our community,” said Dotson. “I care about our community in general. This is just kind of a small way of showing that I care.”

Dotson said he’s not doing this for publicity. He’s traveled around the country when he was with the Navy but has always loved Kalamazoo.

He opened Studio Grill nine years ago and has gotten to know a lot of people and their struggles.

“I will tell you that if we took the paychecks away from Congress and the government, we’d be having this thing settled by now,” Dotson said.

However, the shutdown has been going on for over three weeks now.

Dotson said he will continue to offer the 20 percent discount at least until its over. He wants all federal employees to know that he and his staff are “here for you.”

“We care about you,” Dotson said. “We will do whatever it takes to help you get through this.”

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