Hooters is an anachronism, wrapped in soft core exploitation, enrobed in cliches and regional stereotypes, topped with a cherry of banality. Which is exactly why so many people love it from coast to coast.
The national restaurant chain that self-deprecatingly describes itself as “Delightfully tacky, yet unrefined,”opened its Rohnert Park outpost on Jan. 30, 2012 just weeks after the San Francisco franchise shuttered. The main selling point: Busty young women in booty shorts and tight tank tops.
I mean chicken wings.
Just kidding. It’s the ladies.
Filled to capacity with good old boys in pickups, minivan grannies, gawkers, looyloos and other assorted locals, the queue started early and lasted throughout opening day. Why? Apparently resistance to clinging orange polyester is futile to large portions of the population.
So here’s your guide to the Hoot-tastic Hootiness that is Hooters Rohnert Park. Whether you go is entirely up to you.
Yes, the Hooters Girls are very attractive. Very. Attractive. Yes, you can take a picture with them. Yes, they have uniform inspections each day (so nothing is hanging out too far) and yes, they have to wear those tan support hose and scrunchie socks. No, there is nothing X-rated here and you’ll see far more jiggling flesh at any local nightclub or public pool. Hooters hired 85 women for the RP store (a number of which go to SSU), but there is currently at least one national calendar girl on the floor. I’d venture to guess that most of them have higher IQ’s than their customers (because a lot of people asked me that) and make more money, too. Yes, they’re flirting with you, because that’s part of the gig, not because you’re so darned irresistible. And yes, they will call a manager on you if you get too fresh, Mr. Grabhands. Want the inside story?
The Food & Drinks
The food isn’t really the main attraction, unless of course it’s the wings. They’re really good, and I have at least one other chef to back me up on that. “Hot” isn’t that hot and fried is the way to go. DO NOT LOOK AT THIS nutritional information. Really. Don’t. The tater tots covered in cheese, sour cream and bacon aren’t bad either if you can stomach eating them while looking at the pert and perfect body of the girl serving them to you. Get a side of hot sauce to dip ‘em in. Don’t believe it when your Hooters Girl says, “Oh! I eat those ALL the time!” She doesn’t. They also have salads if that’s what you’re into. There are 32 beers on tap and a full cocktail menu with no prices. Flat screen TV’s are strategically located throughout the restaurant and the bar takes up a good one-third of the space. It would be a very lively place to, say, watch a major sporting event coming up.
The Significant Other
Make sure you’ve worked out rules in advance if you’re going in as a couple. Personally, I say visual hall pass. Just don’t come crying to me when you strain your neck, Sir Gawksalot. Just means you can’t see me eating all your tater tots and I have something to make you feel guilty about later. Of course, your tolerance may vary.
Hula hoops come out from time to time — we hear mostly for birthdays. It’s rumored that part of the hiring process involves being able to pour a beer while hula-hooping. We also hear that the interview process to become a Hooter’s Girl is pretty short. Training takes much longer. Because it takes some finesse to deal with that leering 45-year-old contractor with hot sauce on his face and a beer belly who just pinched your buns.
The Moral Lesson
Families are welcome. The atmosphere is more wholesome than you might imagine and offers many opportunities for teachable moments.
The Bottom Line: Go or don’t. The scene is somewhere between lowbrow train wreck and titillating entertainment, depending on how often you actually get out. The wings are pretty tasty, the beer cold and the service extremely cordial. Most folks will likely find it a one and done kind of experience, but again, your tolerance may vary.
Hooters, 6099 Redwood Dr., Rohnert Park.
(more photos here)
*Feminist credentials available upon request.