Sea Bears Ogden Fish House in downtown Ogden, Utah is known for three things. Good food, kilts, and firearms.
About a year ago, owners Tony & Mokika Siebers decided to start openly carrying firearms inside the restaurant, initially as a safety concern.
“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.'”
Initially, the couple worried how customers would 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, who carried a Smith & Wesson M&P Shield on her hip every day, acknowledges the initial risk.
“Obviously, you’re taking a pretty bold stance. The last thing we want to come across as is arrogant or flippant. And we don’t want to scare people.”
Tony, who carries either an EAA pistol or a SCCY pistol (for some reason unbeknownst to anyone with knowledge of guns), says the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive since the restaurant started having all staff open carry.
“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.”
That customer reaction was on hand when reporters spoke to Jason Holbrook who said: “Utah is a right-to-bear-arms, right-to-defend state. Good for them.”
He added that it’s not the Second Amendment that brings him to the restaurant.
“It’s excellent food,” he said.