A few empty tables and chairs sit outside of the Shooters Grill in Rifle. (Gretel Daugherty, Special to The Colorado Sun)

By Ray K. Erku, The Post Independent

For years, downtown Rifle’s restaurant scene was anchored by one of the only places in the U.S. you could order a cheeseburger from a server packing a 9mm pistol on her hip. The establishment — Shooters Grill — was the brainchild of U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert.

On Sunday, the Silt Republican officially closed the doors to her restaurant.

“We were like a family,” she said. “I would say Shooters, for any employee, was their life. We lived and breathed it every single day. They were a part of this culture and brand that we created in Rifle, and there was a lot of pride with that.”

In June, Boebert was told by new landlord Milken Enterprises that her lease wasn’t going to be renewed. Boebert said the letter came as a shock. She soon called the landlord but “there wasn’t really much wiggle room or anywhere to compromise unless we bought the building ourselves.”

“Within the next two hours, I had reporters reaching out to me asking me if this was true and if we were being evicted,” she said. “I said, ‘Well, we’re not being evicted. The lease is not being renewed — that’s a big difference.’”

U.S. Lauren Boebert holds an end-of-year news conference on Friday, Dec. 31, 2021. Boebert parlayed the popularity of Shooters Grill into a successful congressional bid. (McKenzie Lange, Grand Junction Daily Sentinel)

Boebert said she doesn’t want to make any promises, but she and her husband, Jayson, are praying and planning to continue the Shooters brand, culture, name and presence on Third Street in Rifle.

Read more at postindependent.com.