At Shooters Grill in Rifle (no seriously, RIFLE), Colorado, your waitress will deliver your menu choice with a side of OPEN CARRY.
All nine of the servers at the restaurant pack heat as they shuttle plates of food to diners, from Glock semi-automatics to Ashlee Saenz’s thigh-length Rueger Blackhawk .357 six-shooter. On the wall, posted alongside copies of the Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights, is a sign declaring that those inside are still “proudly clinging to my guns and Bible.”
The open carry idea is one that evolved. Restaurant owner Lauren Boebert said she started to carry a pistol while she worked about a month after the restaurant opened. “But through the months, her other waitresses thought it was kind of fun and they, too, started carrying in this town of 9,200 about 180 miles west of Denver.”
And listen to Boebert go: “We don’t worship guns. We worship Jesus,” said Boebert, a mother of four whose husband works in the oil industry. “We’re here to serve people.”
The guns are no gimmick — the food is good.
Robert Vedrenne ate an early dinner, drawn by that newspaper article in the Glenwood Springs (Colo.) Post Independent. A native Texan, Vedrenne wondered whether Boebert and her staff were just using guns to sell mediocre food.
They weren’t. Menu items include the M16 burrito, the Swiss and Wesson grilled cheese, and “Locked and Loaded nachos.”
“I wanted to see if this was gimmicky or if it really was good food,” said Vedrenne, who is temporarily living in the area for work. “And it was good. I’ll be back.”
Other diners like the food there, too. Last year [Shooters Grill] “won a series of readers-favorite awards from a nearby newspaper for its home-cooked food that includes all-day breakfast and prime rib.”
When asked if Vedrenne was bothered by the guns in the restaurant, he said: “I’m from Texas. This is normal.”
Here’s the “shocking” part: Rifle, Colorado, has a low crime rate; people can open carry their guns into the local Starbucks. “Boebert said the local Starbucks franchisee has no problem when she walks in wearing her Springfield XDS .45.”
“There’s no point to be made,” Boebert said as her waitresses refilled ketchup bottles and wiped down menus, readying for the dinner rush. “This is our way of life.”
A sign on the front door tells patrons to keep their safeties on and weapons holstered unless they need to draw and “in such cases, judicious marksmanship appreciated.”
Here is the restaurant’s website. Motto: “armed and delicious.”