July 27, 2014

Students of culinary arts programs who are looking for an innovative idea for a restaurant need not seek any further than Shooters Grill in Rifle, Colorado. The restaurant features a rustic atmosphere, traditional American fare and…firearms. Owners Lauren Boebert and her husband, as well as most of the wait staff, spend the entirety of their shifts armed with open carry handguns holstered to their belts. In keeping with the theme, the menu features items that gun enthusiasts are sure to enjoy, such as the ‘Swiss & Wesson Burger’ or the ‘Guac 9.’

Lauren Boebert, who herself carries a semiautomatic nine millimeter, insists that the weapons carried by the staff are not a gimmick, but rather a result of her personal support for gun rights that preceded the idea for the restaurant.

“I wanted to start carrying just for my protection,” Boebert told ABC News. “This is my establishment, so I didn’t see anything wrong with that. So I began to open carry.”

Colorado allows for the open carry of handguns, and Boebert explained that she and her husband thought it a fitting theme when they decided to open the restaurant in their hometown of Rifle. The establishment, which has now been open for over a year, has experienced a considerable amount of success since then, with gun aficionados traveling from all over to take in the armed waitresses and enjoy a firearm-themed meal. In fact, the reach of the establishment doesn’t appear to be limited to residents of Rifle.

The restaurant seems to even be resonating with people who live too far away to make the trek and see it for themselves. Carsyn Copeland, one of the (now) armed waitresses at Shooters Grill, said that several weeks ago a United States Marine called and offered to purchase a gun for any waitress without one.

“He called in from California and asked our owner if there was a girl he could buy a gun for, and so I got it three days ago” Copeland told ABC. “It’s a Kimber .45.”

This is not the first time that firearm appreciation has had an impact on the restaurant industry. In Texas, where open carry of ‘long guns’, or rifles, is allowed but carry of handguns is prohibited, members of a group called “Open Carry Texas” decided to make their rights known by carrying assault rifles with them in public. This behavior led  several national chains (including Chipotle, Chili’s and Jack in the Box) to post signs in their restaurants asking patrons to leave their firearms outside.