Mike’s BBQ in South Philadelphia has launched a pay-it-forward system by which customers can buy gift certificates that can be redeemed by furloughed government workers who present ID.

And the reaction has surprised owner Mike Strauss.

He has fewer takers than he has anticipated, to the tune of about $500 in gift certificates festooning a wall at the restaurant. Even more puzzling, government workers are coming in and actually buying gift certificates for their brethren.

The move is reminiscent of the business model of Rosa’s Fresh Pizza, which allows customers to foot the food bills of those in need.

Gift certificates on a wall at Mike's BBQ. Government workers can redeem them.
COURTESY MIKE'S BBQ
Gift certificates on a wall at Mike's BBQ. Government workers can redeem them.

At Mike’s (1703 S. 11th St.), Strauss also offers free smoked-chicken salad sandwiches for federal workers from 3 p.m. till closing.

Mike’s is one of dozens of local restaurants offering freebies and discounts to out-of-work federal employees. The ever-growing list is here.

Know of additional deals? Email me at mklein@philly.com.

Smoked chicken salad sandwich at Mike's BBQ.
COURTESY MIKE'S BBQ
Smoked chicken salad sandwich at Mike's BBQ.