Lauren Boebert’s restaurant in Rifle, Colorado has always been a subject that generates mixed reactions. Whether for the outwardly political decor, which reportedly consists of a cardboard cutout of former U.S. President Donald Trump and a mannequin adorned with a t-shirt that reads “Guns don’t kill people. Alec Baldwin does,” among other things, or the fact that all employees are actively encouraged to open carry while on the job, the restaurant has had its fair share of opinions thrown its way.
With staff uniforms that consist of a shirt that boldly reads “I AM THE SECURITY” in full capitalization, and a warning sign on the wall that supposedly says “Prayer is the best way to meet the lord; trespassing is faster,” it’s hard to imagine that everybody would find such a place appealing.
After losing her home in 2010 when she and her husband were evicted from their place of residence in Slit during the national foreclosure crisis, Boebert and her husband eventually opened Shooters Grill sometime in 2013 in the neighboring municipality of Rifle. Her employees were encouraged to open carry long before she made her way into the political scene, a decision she allowed due to a supposed homicide down the road from her establishment.
Though she claimed a man was “physically beaten to death,” which unnerved her employees enough to have them carrying guns in the case of any unfortunate events, a police investigation did eventually reveal that the man died of a drug overdose and that the death was not a result of homicide.
In 2014, just roughly a year after opening, Shooters Grill made headlines for the controversial decision to allow members of staff to open carry on the job. Some were in favor of it, while others quickly shunned the idea as a disaster waiting to happen. Whatever the case, former employees have objected to the portrayal of the restaurant across social media and TV, with many stating that the reality of it was far less enjoyable than what the media coverage might leave people thinking.
“The second the restaurant blew up, her head blew up, and it became something entirely different,” a former waitress said of her time working at Shooters Grill.
She chose to remain anonymous in order to avoid retaliation, while others chose to remain anonymous in order to avoid being publicly associated with Boebert, who is now a polarizing political figure with staunch supporters and adamant opponents.
“I got to meet a new version of her that is a monster,” the former waitress added.
Multiple employees allege that Boebert failed to pay employees of the grill on time on a number of occasions. Some claim they were paid in cash taken directly from the register or even from the wallet of Boebert’s husband with no tax deductions.
“If she would come into the restaurant, everyone just knew we were gonna have a bad day,” one ex-employee said. “She would just walk around and nitpick.”
Another former employee claims Boebert pointed a loaded gun at him after he mentioned that he personally would have voted Barack Obama in for a third term if the option were available.
“She would tell it like a joke,” he recounted. “She thought it was hilarious.”