Back in May, our Melanie Asmar told you about Chipotle's request that customers not bring guns to restaurants in the chain after members of the group Open Carry Texas posed for pics with semi-automatic rifles at one eatery.
We have a feeling these dudes would be welcome at Shooters Grill in Rifle, where open carry is actively encouraged and even the waitresses pack heat -- a move that's turned into a PR bonanza for the modest joint.
The evolution of Shooters' new identity can be traced on its Facebook page. Given the place's name and decor (not to mention its presence in a town called Rifle, on Colorado's Western Slope), there was little doubt the owners were Second Amendment fans. But for most of the year-plus the place has been in business, Facebook posts featured food, not salutes to firearms -- and certainly nothing like this aforementioned Open Carry Texas pic: But on June 21, shots of triple fudge almond brownie sundaes topped with fresh raspberry sauce were joined by this text:
Do you OPEN CARRY at Shooters??? Do you PRAY over your food at restaurants??
We want to hear from you!
Let us know what you like about us honoring YOUR amendment RIGHTS in the comment section below!
Customers responded enthusiastically. Here's a sampling of replies:
Thank you for welcoming open carry and open prayer. Its a shame we have to seek out places that allow these rights to be exercised openly. Thank you for all that you do!
I open carry everywhere. If a business doesn't like it, they don't get my business.
We ALWAYS PRAY before eating, and carry when we are out. Love what you stand for, hope to eat there sometime soon. THANK YOU.
Then, on June 26, came this photo, accompanied by the caption, "Our customer Katie open carrying tonight! Welcome to Shooters!!! #opencarrycolorado."
No surprise that news outlets began flocking to Shooters after that, including the Summit Daily, whose coverage was seen by at least one diner, as this Facebook pic indicates: Before long, larger outlets were sending reporters to Shooters, too, including 9News and its national affiliate, USA Today. Shooters Grill is looking to capitalize on its newfound notoriety by starting to sell tie-in T-shirts that should be available for order tomorrow. One particularly memorable comment on the T-shirt post reads: "Lauren save me one Granny."
We imagine other restaurants will soon emulate the marketing at Shooters Grill (if they aren't doing so already) -- although the success of the strategy shouldn't come as a surprise. After all, plenty of guys think women with guns are hot.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.