Thursday, 9 September 2010

Dinner at Hooters

A number of years ago in Nashville a group of guys were looking for a place to have dinner. One of us suggested Hooters. I'd never heard of the place, but I was soon familiar with the concept - busty women in short shorts and tight tank tops. I refused to go in. As I said then, "if you tell me this place has the best burger or whatever, then I'll go in to eat. All you've talked about," I said, and forgive the language, "is t*ts. If I'm just going in to eat crappy food so we can ogle the women, I'll pass."

Hey, I've got a wife and a daughter and sisters, and at the time a mother. I cannot abide the objectification of women. Yup, I'm a saint.

Time passed and Hooters came to our little town, and closed down 10 years later before I got around to checking it out. I heard the wings were amazing, but I frankly didn't want to be caught in the place, particularly in the last few years as I prepared to receive Holy Orders as a Permanent Deacon in the Roman Catholic Church. Wouldn't want to scandalize the Bishop, and all that.

After some discussion our Deacon class agreed it would be OK to eat at Hooters. After all, Christ hung out with sinners, didn't he? Still, none of us ever had the guts to walk into Hooters until this week.

Jeremy Goes to Hooters
Last night I hit the Hooters on the airport strip in Toronto for some wings. I'm sure Christ would have been comfortable sitting beside me at the bar, but I'm just as sure he wouldn't have been checking out the barmaid's assets so neither did I, much.

The wings were not that good.

But I did learn something surprising that caused me to climb down off my lofty perch. Yes, the girls were busty and attractive, as they're supposed to be. They were also very friendly, and not at all flirty. I was greeted when I arrived by the very friendly and not even slightly flirty Hooters girls. They were conversational, attentive and wonderfully welcoming. I watched the girls take pictures with a table of firemen, welcome regulars, and laugh and spark conversation as they served beer and wings to the mostly male patrons.

Say what you will, but that's a damned sight better than the lacklustre ambivalence that's passed for service in the last five restaurants I've eaten in (for a lot more money).

I'd go back to Hooters, and at the risk of my own sainthood, I'll admit it wouldn't be for the wings. I'll try the burger or the ribs, and maybe just lighten up and enjoy the place for what it is.

What was good? The spotless restaurant and bar, and the many big screen TVs showing MLB all over the place.

Great? The genuine friendliness and outgoing service.

Room to Grow? The wings were scrawny and overcooked, although I will admit that I ordered them "naked" and not all pimped up and floured then deep fried. But clearly they were saving some money on the raw product by buying them small and untipped (Picture a chicken wing as being your arm and bicep. Typical wings are cut in half at the "elbow" and the "forearm" part is trimmed at the "wrist" That's called tipped and it costs more per pound to buy them that way, but the yield is better because you're not paying for the extra weight of the "tip" that no one eats anyway)

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