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Now, this one caused some controversy amongst friends, family and acquaintances, but way up at the top of our ‘Must Do’s when visiting Florida is a trip to Hooters.
We can, and will, explain our reasons why we love it so much, but first a little background...
Daddy Ticket Ranger and I have been fortunate enough to spend a small amount of time living in the USA and in Canada, and before we moved over there, my taste buds were, for want of a better word, bland!
I suffer from a condition called Achalasia, which in basic terms means that my throat muscles are broken, as is my oesophugus. It is a condition I have unknowingly had my whole life, but unfortunately wasn’t diagnosed until I was an adult and as a result I am quite a fussy eater as a lot of food I struggle to swallow. Because of this, I had became used to eating quite bland, soft, easily digestible food that wouldn’t cause my throat any problems.
I am yet to meet anyone else with the condition, so if you have any questions or perhaps suffer too, please feel free to get in touch if you would like to :)
I had an operation and it made eating a little easier, and just weeks after surgery, I moved over to Toronto & Boston with Phil for his job at the time.
It was while here that I discovered the absolute delights of chicken wings. Not your ordinary chicken wings, but your hot and spicy, zingy to the point of leaving your mouth tingling type of chicken wings! And where did I find these wonders of amazing perfectness I hear you ask… Well let me tell you, it was Hooters!!
There is an assumption that Hooters is full of old men drinking lots and leering at the girls, or young lads in a group being rowdy and disrespectful. In our experience, it really is not. Of course there will be these types of people who DO go in, the same as there will be in any bar, in any town or city in any country.
In our experience, you can take the image of the seedy dive that you conjure up when you think of Hooters and wipe it from your mind, it is nothing like that! It really is a family restaurant.
We have been as a young couple - pre kids, at all times of the day and night, and sure, the later into the night you get, the rowdier and more ‘bar’ like it becomes, especially on weekends, however, as mentioned - no more so than any other bar really. But during the day and early evening, it has a more ‘Millers’ type feel to it, with the majority of Hooters we have visited having a specific bar area away from the seated ‘dining’ tables where families are usually seated.
So when visiting Orlando with our family, we had no hesitation taking them there for a meal. And when I say no hesitation, I mean it was the main place we knew we wanted to head to!
If, like me you are a fan of wings, then honestly, I have yet to find anywhere that do them better! The sauces are tremendous and the meat is always cooked to perfection. I like my wings on the bone, so have not tried the boneless, but the kids have always thoroughly enjoyed them!
(Please though, if you have any wings recommendations that you think beat Hooters, then you gotta tell us in the comments and I will give them all a try! Thanks in advance!)
Now, the main reason for people’s disapproving looks and very English tut noises when we tell them of our family's love for Hooters, is the whole ‘Breastaurant’ conotations. So lets get that out of the way… The uniform is a tight white vest or t-shirt with the Hooters logo on it and the orange hot pants are just that - short pants and the girls are looking hot. Niall adorably said to our waitress ‘You look beautiful today’ (Oh he’s going to be a real charmer, he was being 100% genuine too.) Then when she walked away after thanking him and telling him he was a very handsome young man and a total sweetie he turned and said to us ‘I really like that lady.’ He really liked her in the same way he really liked our regular server at the Denny’s next to the hotel and the way he liked the gentleman who told him he looked cool in his Harry Potter t-shirt, and who Niall told back that he looked great in his sunglasses :D They were nice to him and looked friendly. And THAT is what he saw.
To an adult, we look at the uniforms the girls are wearing and we know the reasons they are wearing it. To a child, like Niall and Martha, they saw a friendly lady who they thought looked pretty. End of.
Yes, the uniform is purposefully sexy, but here is another honesty - we see the same kind of gettup on people in Universal or Busch Gardens who are there for a theme park days, and they look great, they obviously feel great, and it is their choice to wear it. The same as the girls who work in Hooters. Nobody forced them into that uniform and threatened them to work, they choose to take this job and they agree to the uniform. They will make good tips because of it, I am sure of that.
And hey girl, if you’ve got it, and you want to flaunt it, then that’s A – OK with me as a sister who wishes she had it to flaunt! And I KNOW it is good with my husband haha!
We have always had attentive, kind and really lovely girls, who have always gone out of their way to be great with the kids and have been great at their job to boot.
Many people will say that Hooters is not a family restaurant, but we have found it better than a stack of other so called family chains around, and we have always been very well looked after. We got chatting to our last server, Sabrina, about the job etc, and she told us that about 80% of the girls who worked there were studying and worked part time for the great tips and great atmosphere. She was educated and very well spoken, and she was a GREAT waitress. The chef has also popped out a couple of times and asked if everything is OK with the food and if we are being well looked after etc, which I can honestly say has NEVER happened in any other restaurant outside of Disney for us.
There are lots of sports on TV around the place, so it has a great Sports Bar vibe to it. It has a great selection of alcoholic drinks – beers and cocktails etc, and all the usual soft drinks. The kids were given crayons and a menu with pictures and puzzles etc, and their meals were adult sized, so that tells you how big the adult portions were!!
The puddings, however, were Martha’s favourite part… Sometimes cutlery just gets in the way of chocolatey enjoyment, don’t you agree?
And did I mention the wings… *Drooooool
The main reason we wanted to blog our recommendation for Hooters is because we think it really gets an unfair name and we wanted to be a family voice that gives our point of view. That and the fact that we are honestly asked A LOT “Is Hooters suitable for children?”, “Is Hooters family friendly?” and once we were even asked “Are you allowed to even take children in to Hooters?” and our answer is always the same, yes it is most definitely suitable and yes of course you can take kids into a family restaurant!! And at least now the next time someone asks we can send them here to read this! :D
So basically our advice is… if you like good food, good drinks, a fab atmosphere and great service, and lets be fair - who doesn’t, then get yourself over to Hooters where you will find all of this and more.
And the souvenir vest tops are a must ;)