A quirky Scottish seafood restaurant in Ogden, Utah, is becoming know for good food, the kilts work by the staff, and their open-carried pistols.
It’s either the safest restaurant in town or the most dangerous. It all depends on how you view the Second Amendment.
Sea Bears Ogden Fish House, a downtown restaurant on Washington Boulevard, is quickly becoming known for three things: the food, the servers clad in Scottish kilts and the sidearms those servers openly carry while they work.
Tony and Monika Siebers, of North Salt Lake, are owners of Sea Bears. They’re also staunch supporters of the right to bear arms. As such, servers at the restaurant – which, thus far, have primarily been immediate family members – are invited to open-carry the firearm of their choice.
“We support the Second Amendment,” Tony said.
The 46-year-old says they’ve been open-carrying at the restaurant for almost a year now. He calls it a safety issue.
“It’s a downtown business dealing with money, we’re closing down at night, my wife has to get to her car out back,” Tony said. “So we just said, ‘Let’s get our concealed-carry permits.’”
After going through a concealed-carry class and firearms training, and while waiting to receive their conceal permits, Monika decided to start open-carrying at the restaurant.
Tony admits that, in the beginning, he feared how customers might react.
“I was nervous – well, not nervous, but I worried – when my wife first started doing open-carry,” he said. “I thought, ‘Will people be offended and not want to come in?’”
Monika, 45, acknowledges the risk.
“Obviously, you’re taking a pretty bold stance,” she said. “The last thing we want to come across as is arrogant or flippant. And we don’t want to scare people.”
When Monika first started wearing her Smith & Wesson M&P; Shield 9mm on her hip, the Siebers got a lot of feedback.
“Almost all positive,” Tony said. “Once in a while, somebody is uncomfortable with it, but not very often. I can count two people who had a negative reaction.”
Sea Bears isn’t the first restaurant to discover that a friendly attitude towards the Second Amendment is good for business. There are a handful of other restaurants who have open-carrying servers around the country, and many more are finding that giving discounts to armed citizens is both good for business and good for store security. To date, we haven’t heard of a single instance of even an attempt to rob one of these restaurants, much less a successful robbery. It’s akin to trying to rob a gun shop with multiple armed employees during business hours; very high risk with a low chance of success.
Being studiously neutral doesn’t hurt restaurants or other establishments, but being pro-gun seems to have been a very good business decision for those companies we’ve seen who have embraced the practice.
If I were a businessperson looking for more customers, I’d consider that “a clue.”