Hooters

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I'm crazy for Hot NAKED Hooters ... wings that is!

Mar 5, 2003 (Updated Mar 6, 2003)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Addictive Wings, Juicy Meaty Burgers

Cons:Cold fries, somewhat over priced menu

The Bottom Line: Good sandwiches, well trained and usually friendly service, and wings that make you moan with pleasure as you burn your tongue off!


Phone call …

Voice 1 – ”Hi Honey … I know you don’t really like to go there … but I’d kill for some wings … can we go to Hooters for supper? We can just get carry out if you don’t want to have to eat there.”

Voice 2 – “Which ever you want is fine … I don’t mind eating there every now and then … but I’ll probably have a burger or the grouper sandwich instead of wings.”

Voice 1 – “WIMP! Can’t take the hot stuff, huh? But seriously … dine in or carry out … either one is fine with me …”

If you’ve ever been to Hooters … or seen their ads … or are remotely familiar with the restaurant chain, you can probably easily imagine this conversation between a husband and wife … right? Okay, but now … rewind … reverse your assumptions of which voice belonged to whom ... and reread! That’s right … I love Hooters … hubby doesn’t really care for it! How odd is that?

(Actually it’s more sad than odd … because hubby feels that due to his large stature he doesn’t receive the same Hooters girl treatment that other dinners enjoy. I say it has nothing to do with his girth, but more to do with the fact that he is dinning with his wife so the girls are probably less likely to be as flirty … but either way, it makes him feel shunned so we rarely dine there and usually order carry out when I really get a hankering for some Hooters … hot wings that is!)

The Concept:

The Hooters concept emphasizes great food, great service, a relaxed atmosphere and the famous (infamous?) Hooters Girls. Hooters characterizes itself as a neighborhood place, NOT a family restaurant. (Those who make this assumption might want to consider why they’ve assumed as much.) Most of their customers are male, and the tables are often filled with groups of guys with only a few non-Hooters women to be found. According to most of their corporate produced P.R. information, Hooters does not market itself to families, but since families do occasionally patronize the restaurants and Hooters is in the hospitality business, they provide the best possible service to all customers and offer a children's menu. However, the actual family friendliness of each Hooters location will vary from site to site. The ones closest to us actually tend to be fairly welcoming (beyond stiff, well trained, politeness) to families and sometimes even have special games or treats for the kids when a lot are present.

Of course whether or not one feels that Hooters is appropriate for their family is a very individual decision, I’ve seen some very heated debates over the issue. While I don’t really want to get into the whole issue here on Epinions, I will just say that my son has seen girls in short shorts and tank tops before ever going into a Hooters … heck, believe it or not, he’s seen them in bikinis, and if my guess is correct he’s probably seen them in less on MTV or HBO … and let’s not forget J-Lo’s perfume ad … he’s definitely ogled that one a time or two! *lol * The women are clothed, they are required to wear a bra (and most want to anyway to hike those puppies up as high as humanly possible) … and they aren’t gyrating on top of our table and clinching dollar bills with their butt cheeks! Actually we don't tend to take the kids to Hooters very often out of respect for the other customers who perhaps want to have a kid-free meal ... and because we usually either get carry out or occasionally go during lunch while the kids are in school. But, as far as I’m concerned if a well groomed, attractive, friendly young waitress can get my hot wings to the table twice as quickly and efficiently as the sloppily dressed, grouchy, slow skater boi at the wing joint down the road … then she can wear ugly orange roller rink shorts and a tacky t-shirt all she wants! Go if you like the place … don’t go if you don’t … simple as that!

The Food:

I almost could not believe my eyes when I read reviews that called Hooters wings “ok, but nothing special” or “If this is the best they can do, they’re in big trouble” or “Chicken Wings Aren't That Special” … are we talking about the same wings?!?!?!? Is it possible that I just happen to have visited the 2 or 3 BEST Hooters in the whole wide world? Because I sure found the wings to be FANTASTIC … DELICIOUS … SCRUMPTIOUS … YUMMY … MOUTH-WATERING good!!!!

I think the secret is to order NAKED Hooters … that’s right! Ask for the wings ‘naked’ and they’ll arrive without the heavy soggy icky breading … and you’ll get much more of the delicious spicy sauce in every bite. Other wise your wings will arrive with a coating which was probably crisp when fried but has since become soggy and gloppy as it soaked up the buffalo sauce. Your hotness selection is Mild, Medium, Hot, 3 Mile Island, 911, and Spicy Jack. If you like you Hooters spicy at all, you’ll probably want to order ‘Hot’ sauce. The Medium is barely warm in my opinion, so I can only imagine that the mild might be almost tasteless. The ‘Hot’ is about what I would normally consider medium at other places. You can always ask for an extra cup of the next heat up if you order your wings and find that they are not hot enough (however, you will be charged an addition 49 ¢ for the extra sauce)

The wings come in orders of 10 ($5.99), 20 ($10.99), or 50 ($21.99) as a meal or appetizer. I usually order wings as my meal! I would consider Hooters wings to be about average in size. They aren’t huge, but they also aren’t the tiny itty bitty ones that bars often serve on 10 ¢ or 25 ¢ wing nights. I do find it annoying that the wings are not served with a side of celery and dressing … you must purchase this for 99 ¢ and will have a choice of Blue Cheese or Ranch.

Hooters also offers a variety of appetizers (or Hooterstizers) ranging from quesadillas to buffalo shrimp to chicken strips to steamed oysters and range in price from around $5-$10. Soup selections ($2.99) usually include New England clam chowder, gumbo, baked potato soup, vegetable soup and Hooters Chili ($3.29).

Hooters salads are almost always cool, fresh, crisp and colorful and range in price from $2.49 for a seemingly small side salad to a more generous entrée sized Hooters salad, Caesar Salad, or Grilled Chicken Garden Salad ($4.99-$6.99)

I’ve never tried the seafood at Hooters (I’m pretty much hung up on the wings! And I’m a fairly firm believer that if you want seafood you go to a seafood restaurant.) But they do offer oysters (raw or roasted), snow crab legs, steamed shrimp, and steamed clams. The prices range from $7.49 for a dozen raw oysters to 9.99 for a lb of crab legs. Similarly, I’ve yet to try the BBQ Rib dinner ($10.99 full order, $7.99 half order) though it is prepared with Jackaroo brand BBQ sauce which I often buy and use at home to BBQ chicken and ribs.

The Hooters (More than a mouthful) Burger is a generously sized (1/3 lb maybe?) home style burger served with lettuce tomato, onion and a pickle spear for $5.99. You can order it with bacon, mushrooms, chili, and/or the cheese of your choice for a bit extra. Fries do not come with the burger but a small cup of ‘baked’ beans which taste pretty much like lukewarm canned pork ‘n beans to me will accompany your burger. If you ask, they will substitute cole slaw, macaroni salad, or potato salad for the beans. I would suggest the slaw, which tends to be a bit heavy and sweet but is much better than the beans in my opinion. Curly fries are $2.29 for an average sized order and have been less than hot and fresh on several of our visits. Honestly, I’d skip the fries unless you just absolutely have to have fries with your meal … or ask the waitress to have you some cooked fresh if you’re a bit bold.

Other sandwich choices include several grilled chicken selections, a chicken strip sandwich, a couple of different fish sandwiches, a philly cheese steak sandwich, sirlon steak sandwich, BBQ pork sandwich, and a gourmet hot dog or grilled cheese. The ‘grouper’s cousin sandwich that my hubby ordered, and I tried, was a very large portion of fish and was cooked properly (flakey, done, but not over cooked) and seemed fresh. Sandwich prices range from $5.99 to $7.49 with the hot dog and grilled cheese being $3.99 ouch! I won’t say they are a good value, but the sandwiches that I’ve tried have all been good to very good. The burgers are good quality beef, well seasoned and cooked to order … and the fish and chicken have been tasty and generous in portion. They definitely outrank fast food sandwiches and rival many other casual chain restaurant offerings.

Hooters offers a few desserts, but I’m always too full to try one! Key Lime Pie ($2.99), Caramel Fudge Cheesecake ($#.49) and Chocolate Mousse Cake ($3.99) sound like they are probably pretty standard restaurant food service faire. Soft drinks, tea or milk will run you $1.69 or $2.19. Beer is available by the bottle, mug or pitcher. Some Hooters locations may also offer mixed drinks but the one nearest us does not. Large quantity pricing for carry out is available if you want to feed your office, super bowl party or football team. I know they have a limited kids menu, but I’m not sure what all is on it or the exact prices.

Service:

On our visits to Hooters the service has almost always been quick and friendly (though as mentioned, the Hooters girls don’t always give my hubby as much attention as he seems to feel they should … poor baby!) The girls are trained to smile, be friendly, and provide the guests with service above the usual. They will often open the condiment cups when they deliver food or pour ketchup or other sauces for you. If you order crab legs or steamed shrimp they will help you crack/peel them as time allows. I’ve seen them just quickly demonstrate how to do it during busy times … and I’ve seen them pull up a chair and crack an entire platter full of crab legs during slower times.

Service during extremely busy hectic times is understandably a bit less attentive and less speedy than during slower times. We’ve never had to hunt down a waitress to ask for a refill or our check or anything, but we have had noticeable waits during busy lunch hours. And of course the personality of the individual Hooters Girl can affect the friendliness of the service. I’ve never felt unwelcome or treated badly by a Hooters server, and they all seem to be extremely well trained … but some have definitely been more sincerely friendly and personable than others.

Hooters utilizes a dedicated to-go person who takes phone in orders and packages them and handles the cashing out and pick up process. They are usually very efficient and make sure that absolutely anything and everything you could need is included in your package and that you’ve verified that all ordered items are included before they bag the order. On our last carry out visit, we were not given plastic utensils (though we were given a dozen or more wet-wipes!) … this wasn’t a big deal since we took the food home … but it surprised me that they were left out.

The Hard Sell & Promotional Appearances:

Most Hooters have a gift shop or merchandise area near their entrance. You can purchase everything from t-shirts and tanks, hats, boxers, golf shirts to cups calendars, key rings, and frisbees and more. Actually, I've never received a 'hard sell' at Hooters though at the downtown Atlanta location I saw the hostess carrying a stack of shirts from table to table asking if anyone wants to make a purchase. Some of the items would actually make decent gift ideas for those hard to buy for teen guys on your holiday shopping list.

You may see the Hooters Girls and Hooters merchandise at various events such as races, spring break parties and charity tournaments. These girls have usually won a spot on the promotional team either through a pageant like contest, or possibly even through other employee incentive programs ... as far as Hooters go, they're probably top of the line. One note for those wary of dining at a Hooters ... the cut off t-shirts and breast baring tanks that the girls sometimes wear for promotional appearances are not the same as the waitress uniform ... the girls are not even supposed to be allowed to show their bra straps, too much cleavage, or their mid-drifts in the restaurants. If you think you see too much skin at a local Hooters, and if you are they type who is inclined to do so, drop the corporate office a line and they'll be quick to remedy the situation.


Final thoughts:

Above all else … order your wings NAKED and hot! You’ll be glad you did …

Don’t dine at Hooters if the sight of shapely, young, attractive waitresses in skimpy shorts and tank tops is going to offend you … or if you are a terribly jealous female.

Expect to pay a bit more than you feel the meal was truly worth because even when the food is great its still a bit overpriced.

Keep your fingers crossed that you get one of the FANTASTIC Hooters like the ones I’ve been to … and not the sub-par ones that others here seem to have reviewed!

ENJOY!

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Recommend this product? Yes

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