BREWER, Maine — Some military veterans went into the Muddy Rudder restaurant on Veterans Day carrying pictures of themselves in uniform or with stories of their experiences, and left with full bellies but no bills for the meal.
To honor their service to this country, the Brewer restaurant, its sister location in Yarmouth and a cafe in Freeport, served free meals to any United States veteran and active military personnel.
“In the neighborhood of 700” meals were given away at the Brewer restaurant alone, Tom Workman, Muddy Rudder general manager, said Wednesday. “We knew we were going to be very busy.”
What was slightly unexpected was the emotion and gratitude from the veterans.
“The veterans really appreciated it,” Workman said. “A lot of the veterans, from the Vietnam era especially, were very thankful. They’re kind of like the forgotten veterans.”
Many of the veterans brought pictures from “their time in service and shared stories with staff,” he said.
Restaurant owner Peter Anastos was the father of the idea, Workman said.
The Muddy Rudder restaurants were given a congressional honor Tuesday for their efforts, Brewer City Council member Gail Kelly announced at the board’s meeting that evening.
Kelly is the state director for U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe.
“It’s an honor for Sen. Snowe, as the ranking member of the [U.S. Senate] Small Business Committee, to be able to recognize small businesses in Maine for the good work they do,” Kelly said Wednesday. “It just went into the congressional record yesterday. It’s a very special honor and they will forever be in the record of Congress for their good deeds.”
Kelly was so excited about the congressional honor that she printed off a copy on her home computer and hand-delivered that copy Tuesday.
“I just wanted them to know,” she said.
An official copy will be presented to the restaurants once they are printed.
After slinging food all day, his staff is tired but feel rewarded for a job well done, Workman said.
“It’s been a great day,” he said.