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Another Portland Blog

Monday, April 25, 2005


What, no owls?

Why do people go to Hooters when they live in a place with more strip clubs per capita than any other city in America?

Good question and one we were determined to find the answer to when we headed to the franchise in Beaverton. When this location in the popular restaurant chain opened back in March of 2004, several billboards around town proclaimed its arrival. One near the Burnside Bridge tempted patrons with a photo of two story tall Hooters gal next to the words: "Beaverton. Hooters. A match made in heaven."

False advertising? Yup.

If the Beaverton location is any indication, it's amazing that Hooters made it much further than its humble beginnings as a good ol boy's social club in Florida. The chain sells itself as a crash pad of decadence for the whole family; a Fuddruckers with plenty of T & A. What's mind boggling is that Hooters, beyond its staff, only makes a half-hearted attempt to cater to its key demo's desire for hot chicks, good eats and comfortable digs. Sure, the beer is cold and the Hooter girls all look like they belong in a Playboy college spread, but half the tables in Beaverton sit high off the ground and force diners to plop their 42-inch buttcracks on rock hard wooden stools.

Worse yet, the food is terrible. We're talking sitting-under-a-Circle-K-gas-station heat-lamp for weeks quality eats. No exaggeration. The supposedly world famous chicken wings are bland, extremely greasy and flavorless- a far cry from Popeye's, let alone KFC. The fries are overly crisp and taste like shavings freshly cut from the restaurant's cedar walls. The beer menu, even as far as domestics, is limited and what's there is only available in pints and glasses. Where's the comically-oversized beer mugs? The souvenir Hooters beer helmets? Sheesh, can we at least get a 20 oz. Bud? Nope.

The rest of the menu makes a stab at memorable entrees though. There's a special $150 Dom Perignon chicken dinner for two and the Hooters dog, which, as the menu puts it: "finally, a wiener you can relish."

The happy crowd didn't seem interested so much in the food, tepid jokes and lame beer menu as the staff. Just like in the South Park "Raisins" parody, the Hooters girls flirted and dropped cheap jokes lifted straight from The Man Show. Unfortunately, while we were there they didn't break out the hoola hoops.

So why does Hooters clientele flock to it instead of Stars Cabaret, which is only a few blocks away? Who knows. The atmosphere and food can't be the reason but these aren't problems that can't be fixed. If the owners toss in a few comfortable booths and work on the food, Hooters could be exactly what it claims to be: the happiest place on earth for Beaverton's little league teams and suburban dads. On the other hand, they're probably limited by franchise contracts and foodstuffs trucked in from some Hooters processing plant in the Midwest.

Until Hooters in Beaverton gets it right, there's the Acropolis Steakhouse. It's over on Mcloughlin, the food is cheap and great, the service isn't half bad and it doesn't apologize for what it is with self-conscious humor and feeble attempts at respectability. The Acropolis is a down and dirty strip club, no ifs, ands or buts about it.

OK, hold on. To clarity: "but"s? No. "Butts." Plenty.

I can't say I'll be returning to Hooters anytime soon but this pickup, which was parked out front, definitely made the trip worthwhile. I wonder what song it plays when the driver honks the horn. I'm thinking "Sweet Home Alabama" or "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue."

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