Hooters Boca Raton: Can a Place Known for Short Shorts Hold Up to a Critical Review?

A 20-something waitress clad in orange shorts and a bosom-hugging white tank sashays up to a table of four smiling guys and one ambivalent girl. The waitress is seemingly happy to parade her assets for the chance of extra tips and reels in the guys' attention like a fisherman drawing back a prized sailfish. My male dining companions don't think to ask her name; they simply desire to gaze upon her beauty and mumble any thoughts that dash through their primitive brains.

"Do you go to school around here?" asks one of the two Mikes straining to appear polite. All eyes turn to face the attractive server as we await her response. This is her chance to squash any preconceived notions that she is just a dumb waitress using her beauty to fund her Neiman Marcus card. With a gleaming smile she answers, "Yeah, I'm studying forensic psychology, but I think I want to be a veterinarian for small children if that doesn't work out."

Yeah, yeah. Sure, our server played straight into a stereotype of Hooters servers. And I can sense your snippy judgments about this week's restaurant review. But probably just like you, I eat at Hooters occasionally — once a year for my father's birthday or whenever I have an itch for chicken wings. There is something oddly addicting about the chain restaurant, which hit a pause button in time after the initial opening in Clearwater in 1983. The waitresses still flaunt the same silly orange and white uniform, and chirpy signs continue to hang on the wood-paneled walls. The chicken wings taste the same today here in Florida as they did when I was in college some 800 miles away. Despite a restaurant scene stuck in the '80s, I happen to like Hooters. So when the general manager of the Boca Raton location challenged us to review the restaurant, we gladly accepted.

Hooters' crab legs.
Candace West
Hooters' crab legs.

Location Info

Map

Hooters

2240 NW 19th St.
Boca Raton, FL 33431

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Boca Raton

Details

Hooters, 2240 NW 19th St., Boca Raton. Call 561-391-8903, or click here.

In an attempt to see behind the curtain into the weird world of men, I took a group of guys with me to Hooters. Bypassing a crowded outdoor patio, the guys and I are seated indoors as pleasant scents of sawdust and fried food fill the air. Numerous svelte waitresses scurry across the wooden floor serving a dining area crowded with groups of men watching sports on TVs and families laughing at their high-top tables. "What happened to the hooters on these girls?" quips Mike #1 in reaction to a few with smaller chest sizes. "I thought Boca was known for plastic surgery!"

When our perky server brings our starters, it doesn't feel like I'm eating just fried pickles and tater tots smothered in cheese sauce, sour cream, and bacon bits. I rapidly consume the tasty appetizers (each $4.99), which successfully dulls the pain of being the only woman among a group of rowdy guys. I ask the men about their general opinion of the food at Hooters. Justin takes a heavy swig from his $5 Captain Morgan and Coke and replies, "You don't come to Hooters for a fine dining experience. You know what to expect. I come for the wings."

To appease the hungry clan, I order a platter of wings ($15.29 for 20), which is the freshest dish Hooters serves. A manager explains that the restaurants receive chicken within a week after the kill date, and since it's so popular, the wings turn over daily. A debate over which style is best quickly ensues.

"We have to get them breaded. It holds the sauce better," Mike #2 asserts with confidence.

"No way — the breading is too greasy!" rebuts Justin. I agree that the traditional preparation of the wings with breading can result in an oily glob, so we request them "naked." One downside to ordering them without breading is that they sometimes lack enough wing sauce. But this travesty can be avoided by requesting them "extra wet." The wings arrive just like we expected — crispy, saucy skin; juicy meat nicely balanced; and a side of blue cheese dressing (69 cents extra).

Trying to persuade four guys to order something other than chicken wings for dinner at Hooters is as tedious as convincing our waitress that veterinarians treat animals, not children. Soon into the meal, it becomes apparent why the guys were so resistant — they know the apps are best. Justin's crab legs ($12.99) arrive flaccid, making the shells extremely difficult to crack — likely a consequence of overcooking. He sits with quiet determination while attempting to free crab meat. Meanwhile, the other men continue to ogle the women.

"These bitches are too skinny," says Mike #2 as I choke on my mahi-mahi fish sandwich ($8.79) in horror. I try to ignore the comment and concentrate on eating my sandwich. The fish is fresh and lightly seasoned, but combined with too soft of a bun, it flakes apart easily, like a poorly constructed Jenga tower.

I can't say I'm surprised by how many remarks the guys make about the Hooters staff. The nearly 30-year-old business is successful, at least partially, because of the branding of beautiful, large-breasted women. The organization has an annual swimsuit calendar, a magazine, an international swimsuit competition, yacht charters, and a casino in Vegas filled with Hooters girls. There are eight locations in Broward and Palm Beach counties alone.

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11 comments
Guest
Guest

John L, Hooters buys ads in New Times, so New Times goes and reviews them. See the case of joint back scratchers to see how that works. There are a lot of very interesting things a thoughtful writer could say about Hooter's, but this writer said none of them. There are at least 10 places in South Florida alone that have way better wings. But they don't have the corporate advertising money, so they don't get big reviews. Can Hooter's hold up to a critical review? Call me when someone writes one.

Will737
Will737

Heck, the Mahi Mahi sandwich is one of the few non-poisionous things. As for the Girls...Well the Girls may not be filled with silicone yet but you just wait. These girls often come to Hooters to get the Hooter Girl discount with the preferred local boob provider. They announce to the "regulars" right before they are going to have it done, and some cry when I suggest that it won't make them more attractive. Sweater Missles--You Could Put An Eye Out With Those Things--it's like being stabbed when some insist on hugging you. And no, they are not tax deductible as a business expense, no matter what the ignorant other people in the Hooters have told you. I ought to know. I taught Taxation at two universities when I was younger. Nothing has changed. You might get away with the fraud, but it is fraud.

Frank
Frank

Honestly - I cannot believe this 'newspaper' is reviewing Hooters. There must by hundreds of local, non-chain restaurants that not only people would be interested to read about, but could do with the exposure of being reviewed.

Hooters - who doesn't know enough about it to decide if they want to eat there or not.

Pathetic. It is actually hard to take this publication seriously after this.

freakerdude
freakerdude

2 pages on Hooters? This place is as outdated as the stockings they still make the waitresses wear.

Fat Hand
Fat Hand

Dennis, do you read and comment on other food blogs or just this one? Do you perhaps have a food blog of your own? I would be interested in reading more of your material.

John L.
John L.

The most offensive thing about Hooters isn't the fact that they exploit women. Every sports bar in South Florida does that; Hooters is just the most recognizable. (The argument that they employ women, not exploit them, could also be levied by the porn industry.)

No, the most offensive thing about Hooters is the prepackaged, processed foods it slings out at barely above cost. Sour cream and bacon drenched potato skins; deep-fried pickles with bottled "mayo" -- what's to review here? Are we supposed to be impressed we get to eat chicken within a week of its slaughter? To be frank, this aspect of the restaurant also isn't much different than hundreds of other chain restaurants around the country. But I wouldn't necessarily eat at those either. I guess if you're looking to gobble down "salads" bathed in high fructose corn syrup-laden barbecue sauce, then have at 'er, kids. But I can think of a million other better things to do with my money and time than eat at -- or pay attention to -- Hooters.

You did a nice job with the review, Jamie. But it's a shame to me to see New Times devoting page space to a subject like this.

stacigarcia
stacigarcia

Great review. I love Hooters for many reasons and none of them is the wings. My kids can be as loud as they want and no one will care. I LOVE the chicken pasta salad with double chicken and BBQ sauce rather than ranch dressing. I crave it ever since I worked at Hooters Boca (the original) in 1993. I met many of my closest best friends there while we were slinging in orders (which they no longer do) and putting ourselves through college. We still reunite there, now with our kids, and it never fails to amaze us how ridiculous men can be when a woman in great shape wearing orange shorts asks what they would like...

Dennis
Dennis

Ok so Jamie's a girl. Who knew (or cared)?

Why do you send a professional photographer to Hooters, but you don't send a professional critic? It just seems backwards.

SMDrPepper
SMDrPepper

Hooter is okay once in a while, but for good food I prefer The Brickhouse. Just saying. An the waitresses are a lot friendlier.

Lcbnt
Lcbnt

It's like saying you buy Playboy for the articles. Right, they go for the chicken wings! HA!

Garet
Garet

"Small chested Bitches" really? This is where journalism is going now a days? Why don't you sneak in a hidden camera and complain about them being to liberal while you're at it. Seriously, at least respect the girls a little when it's the manager who called you in...

 
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