People watching can make a dining experience even better

Dec 04

Look, no matter what you think about a place such as Hooters, the reality is it makes for some great blogging.


Whether it’s fictional — such as my Life With Earl post a while back — or real life, there’s countless stories that can come out of a place such as Hooters.

Going to Hooters is all about the burgers. For real.

This past weekend, I attended two college hockey games in the Capital District area. It’s was nice to see my alma mater earn a couple of victories, including one over a top-10 ranked team Friday.

It was after that game that a trip to Hooters happened.

Look, while people may think the only reason to go to Hooters is the skimpy clothes, I can assure you the burgers and wings are actually good. And with so many televisions, it’s easy enough to catch a game before heading home.

That being said, this will be my last trip there for a long time — at least this one. The burgers weren’t great, the service was slow and some of the things I witnessed made me shake my head.

This story is about that experience.

I’m a realist when I go to a place like this. I realize what the skimpy clothes are for. They make the girls working there quite the eye candy. Whether you think this is sexist or not, remember these girls choose to do this job. They know people will stare at them, flirt with them and get all giddy when the girls pay attention to them.

And, usually, they are tipped accordingly.

Still, it’s hard not to laugh at a lot of the things that happen at these places. I truly believe if you are a writer and have writer’s block — go to a Hooters. Have a burger or some wings and a beer and just people watch.

It’s worth it’s weight in gold.

I knew this meal was going to take a life of its own when we initially walked in and the waitress sat two groups at the same time. The two of us were seated at the high-top table all the way to the back of the place. That despite there being many open seats in the front of the place.

We asked to have the table changed because, well, the table was wobbly.

Our waitress performed some repair duties, using sugar packets to “fix” a wobble on our table.

Instead of moving us, which likely meant turning us over to another waitress, our waitress opted to “fix” the wobble on the table by taking two or three packets of sugar and placing them under one of the legs to solve the problem.

You can’t make this stuff up, folks.

Not only was the table wobbly and were we at the back of a wide-open joint, but we were next to the door where the waitresses bring the dirty dishes and such. So they continually walk past carrying dirty dishes. It’s not too appetizing, I assure you of that.

That being said, it gave me a chance to peek at the whole restaurant.

It’s there where I saw the 50-something gentleman at the bar chatting it up with a 20-something waitress. She didn’t leave too often and, of course, giggled at whatever he was telling her. They spoke about whatever was on the television above them and she was coy and “shy” throughout.

My bet is she received a nice tip.

There was also the requisite group of guys jammed into one booth. It started with two and ballooned to five at some point. They were loud, had foul mouths and, of course, whenever the waitress came over they acted all tough and macho and hit on her like they stood a chance. She smiled at them, got them what they needed and did her job. When she walked away and her back was turned, you could see how she really felt.

I can’t blame her.

If she saw the way they reacted when they looked at her backside as she walked away, she would have been even more disgusted.

They fit every “frat boy” stereotype. Loud and obnoxious. When two of them walked away to hit up the restroom, you could see all the normal dress for that “type” of person. An attempt to be “in style” with the odd jeans, tight shirt (despite not being “built”) and that swagger that makes the regular joe, such as myself, shake their head.

I bet that poor gal didn’t get much of a tip from them.

One of the oddest things was the group sitting behind these “gentlemen.” It seemed to be a family. A guy, two gals and two kids. And despite the foul mouth, these people didn’t seem to worry. The kids were in high chairs. The waitresses oggled over the kids. They held them and played with them. And at one point, one of the kids got to crying. There’s something I never thought I’d hear at a Hooters.

Chalk that up to something new.

The group next to us was one of the most entertaining. There were three people — two guys and a gal. The guys had the normal food choices and the girl didn’t have anything.

Smart girl!

When all said and done, the waitress thanked them and said “See you soon!”

Who whips out a laptop after finishing his dinner and paying his bill at Hooters? This guy!

I reckon that’s a normal thing for a waitress to say.

Alas, that opened the door for the one guy, who was a rather big guy. He expressed how they lived about an hour away, but he used the town name. The waitress had no idea where it was. After somewhat explaining where it was, he went into a rant about how they come down this way once a week or so and inquired as to when said waitress worked. I imagine in his mind he figured he was the top customer now.

It made me shake my head. Again.

But, that doesn’t compare to my favorite part of the night.

I’ve traveled solo for work many times. And by doing that, you’re often eating alone at night at some chain restaurant  hoping to have a decent meal and call it a night. Being I was in the newspaper industry, if I had to file a story, I’d find something such as a McDonald’s or Panera Bread or something.

Outside of that, when I go somewhere, I go to eat. I find an Outback or something along those lines. Not a Hooters. I just would feel kind of out of place. Maybe if I sat at the bar and ate or something.

But a guy near us was by himself. A middle-aged guy, he had his dinner and such, which is all good. But when he was done, he turned on the Rico Suave. He hit on a couple of the waitresses with a coy smile. All the while, he was turning on his laptop and surfing the web like he was some sort of big-time guy.

This part of the trip was without humor… it was just a good dessert!

A laptop. At Hooters. After one is done eating.

If I ever do that, I give any of you permission to come up and slap me. Seriously, it’s one thing to play on your phone before or while you are waiting for your bill or something. But after you paid?


In the end, our meal was OK. It took a little too long to come out (I wondered if they had run out of burgers!) and the food was, well, OK I guess. I will note that I ended up having some dessert — some cheesecake with caramel. It was excellent. And they even made it look pretty. It was a bit rich, as desserts like that often are, and I couldn’t finish. But it was a nice sweet item to finish.

After we paid our bill, we left. And the gentlemen near us was still tapping away on his computer. Must have been something really important or some excellent wi-fi.

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  1. I just had dinner in Ottawa and being alone the waitress placed me in a table facing a pillar,joy. Never been to a Hooters but did try the Tilted Kilt in Watertown, great food and good service and there was a whole family with small kids eating near us. Oh, and I only use an IPod in nicer restaurants and the Laptop in McDonalds.

  2. Pat "the Bro" /

    This is all true, and again if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I would have not believed it. The family thing was kind of weird. Two small children, at least the adults were drinking (you left that part out). PJ at one point offered to go in the kitchen and butcher the cow if needed. On a side note, the hockey was awesome! I love college hockey and the Bobcats played great.

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