Here’s a restaurant all gun enthusiasts need to check out: Grits-N-Gravy located in Elberta, Alabama. They’re known for their coffee, grits, omelets and his cook’s specialty — pecan french toast. But what’s so special about it? The owner keeps a 9mm handgun is in a holster at his waist while he is working.
The small breakfast bar style restaurant is owned by Doug Stewart, a former Army sergeant. He says that he openly carries the gun to protect himself, his employees, and his customers. He started carrying after a man pointed a gun at his cook on Dec. 31, 2012, and robbed the place. He also keeps a 12-gauge shotgun right behind the bar near the cash register and drive-through window.
After the restaurant was robbed in 2012, Stewart began keeping the gun at the restaurant just for peace of mind. But he heard about Shooters Grill in Colorado, where the waitresses and co-owner carry guns on their hips while they are serving. Because Alabama and Colorado are both open-carry states, they are permitted to openly carry at the restaurants. Stewart answers the question perfectly:
“I have had a few people go, ‘Why do you carry that gun? I said, ‘Because a police officer is too heavy. And when seconds count, the police are only minutes away.’”
There are other business owners in the county who also openly carry guns. Sheriff Huey “Hoss” Mack said that the local jewelry stores and 24-hour gas station owners are also very likely to openly carry while working.
Despite some customers asking Stewart why he carries his firearm in the restaurant, other customers are very accepting of his actions. Doug Munger, 41, and his mother, Diane Munger 69 enjoy breakfast at Grits-N-Gravy every week. They don’t mind that Stewart carries the handgun. “It’s just crazy the way so much is getting right now. You might as well defend yourself.” Only one customer has given Stewart negative feedback about the gun since he started wearing it at the restaurant.
“I jokingly told a couple of my customers, I said, ‘You know what?’ I said, ‘If somebody walks in to rob this place and see the gun on me … who do you think they are going to shoot first? That’s going to give you time to get out the door. Just look at it as I’m wearing it for you.’”