Lauren Boebert's gun-themed, diarrhea-inducing restaurant has shut down

Boebert’s landlord supposedly felt a “moral” imperative to distance themselves from Boebert.

Owner Lauren Boebert (L) poses for a portrait outside Shooters Grill in Rifle, Colorado on April 24,...
Guns and shit

Lauren Boebert had a simple dream of owning a restaurant where the wait staff carried firearms and the food caused bloody diarrhea. And while she made her dream a reality for a little while, it simply wasn’t meant to last. Shooters Grill, her pride and joy and personal debt factory, has closed its doors for good.

Boebert’s American Dream ended the same way it does for so many Americans: at the hands of a landlord. A company called Milken Enterprises took ownership of the building where Boebert and her husband opened Shooters way back in 2013 and decided not to renew their lease. According to a report from the Daily Beast earlier this year, the landlord supposedly felt a “moral” imperative to distance themselves from Boebert, a QAnon curious weirdo who has advocated for church control over the government. It’s a little rich for a landlord to feel any sense of morality whatsoever, but hey, everyone has their limits, I guess.

Over Shooters’ nine-year run in downtown Rifle, Colorado (yes, that is really the name of the town), the restaurant became known as the town’s most okayest place to eat. It racked up a middling 3.5-star rating from customers on both Yelp and Google reviews, with most of the positives raving about how the waitresses open carry and very little about the actual food.

The restaurant had its origins in a simple concept: what if Hooters but guns? It started because a man died downtown. According to the Congresswoman, he was beaten to death outside of her business and that sparked her motivation to carry a firearm with her for protection. In reality, he died from a drug overdose and was a block away from the storefront, but it seems about right that she’d turn herself into the victim of the story and offer no support to people actually in need.

Shooters made headlines a few times over the course of its nearly decade-long run, and almost never for the reasons you’d want to be in the news if you ran a restaurant. In 2017, Boebert’s business was the source of a widespread food poisoning outbreak after she set up shop at the Garfield County fair and served pork sliders out of a temporary location that was not properly permitted. At least 80 people got sick, with many experiencing nausea and bloody diarrhea.

Boebert also got the restaurant notoriety when she opened the doors in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic and offered dine-in service. She was hit with a cease and desist and got her food license suspended, but ignored both and just kept running the business until the county lifted restrictions on restaurants — though the monopoly on indoor dining in the middle of a pandemic didn’t seem to help much, since the restaurant lost $226,000 over 2020.

Closing the doors on Shooters for good is going to be tough for Boebert. She told the Glenwood Springs Post Independent that “we were like a family,” and that “Shooters, for any employee, was their life. We lived and breathed it every single day.” Employees seem to disagree. According to a report from Mother Jones, Boebert was a “monster” who regularly criticized employees and failed to pay on time — and often just paid directly from the register instead of issuing paychecks. That’s certainly one way to treat family.

Of course, Boebert isn’t going to let Shooters die quietly. She’s floating keeping the brand alive by opening a smaller version of the business, “like a Shooters coffee shop with pastries and some easy breakfast sandwiches and merchandise.” Maybe they can serve donuts shaped like targets with the middle part shot out? Or maybe she could just stop entirely and go away. Just spitballing here.