Best Breastaurant: Four Breastaurants Reviewed
I was reading a while back about the “casual restaurant” industry and how while it’s been declining overall, the breastaurant industry is booming. Even if you’ve never heard the term breastaurant, you know what they are. Think Hooters. Think average-to-slightly-above-average food plus pretty young waitresses in short shorts and halter tops and push-up bras. Get it now? Breast-aurant. See? Brilliant.
Chris and I had the idea to go in and see what these places are all about, maybe try to find out why they are so popular. I enlisted my friend Katie to accompany me.
Hooters was the first of these, founded in 1983. Now there are several large chains and they are leaving Hooters in the dust, ostensibly due to higher quality food and having somehow, magically, managed to attract families. I’m not a prude by any means, but it still strikes me as very strange that anyone would desire to take their children to a place that so obviously encourages a very specific ideal of women’s appearances.
The whole concept to me is more bizarre than anything. The marketing of these places (especially Bone Daddy’s … ew) sure makes it seem like they’re basically an inexpensive alternative to strip clubs, but what I saw was very different. Katie and I were both watching out for ogling and only saw a couple guys doing that. What we saw more of than ogling was dismissiveness, which is probably more disturbing, to be honest.
Another thing we saw was that at every place, waitresses would sit down at the table to take the orders, but only if the table was all men (or a single man). Definitely flirtatious, but not so with family tables or in our case girlfriend tables. This actually highlights my biggest frustration I guess, with the concept. It’s fun to be flirtatious and charming and talkative with strangers. I love it. It made me a little sad that person-to-person (not necessarily woman-to-man or vice versa) flirting wasn’t “on the menu” at any of the places we went. Excepting Bikinis, where our waitress was a genuine joy to be around.
If you’d rather not watch the video and just want to know which is the best breastaurant, welp, here’s the run-down. I based my opinions on the food (especially wings) cocktails (we chose drinks that were recommended by our waitresses) decor and the very subjective gut-feeling I got in each place regarding how welcome we, as two women, were made to feel.
Overall Score 5/10
We tried the Buffalo wings and the Buffalo shrimp. The wings and shrimp are battered and fried and served with your choice of about 15 sauces. We tried the original hot, Daytona Fire, and a couple others. The wings and shrimp were both good, very crispy, though the wings were scrawny compared to every other place we visited.
Cocktails we tried were the Hooterade and the Tropical Long Island Iced Tea. The Hooterade tasted like Fanta with a splash of vodka. The L.I.T. wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t delicious. Both drinks were pretty weak, alcohol-wise. The decor of Hooters is basically the same as it has been since 1983, so it’s dated, but maybe that’s in keeping with their motto: Delightfully tacky, yet unrefined.
Overall Score 7.5/10
We tried the Buffalo wings and shrimp here, too. The wings aren’t breaded unless requested (and for a small surcharge) but the shrimp are breaded with super crisp Panko crumbs. The wings here were indeed “plump and juicy” as the menu stated and had a good amount of sauce. I appreciate that celery sticks came with the order.
To drink, we tried the “Effen limeade” that tasted just like Sonic cherry limeade, but with a booze kick; not my normal order, but damn it was good. Katie ordered a Melon Tea, which was kind of like a Long Island I guess, but with lots of melon liqueur. It was real sweet. The decor of Bikinis is almost not even there. It’s very much the feel of a Port A dive bar, which might be intentional, but I kind of doubt it. I love a dive bar, though, and I love Port A so I felt very comfortable. Our waitress was a star. Literally. She seemed genuinely joyful and glad to help us.
Overall Score 6.5/10
This place was the most confounding. Sure, the food and drinks are pretty good. But the uniforms were the most cleavage-y of all the joints and this was also where we saw several kids and toddlers eating with their parents. Huh. We tried the original Buffalo wings and green-chili Parmesan wings. The hot wings were very good. The green chili Parmesan wings were not. Not only was there nary a speck of green chili or any kind of spice at all, the sauce was a little reminiscent of … ahem. Something white and creamy, but not associated with food.
The drinks were surprisingly good, though. They have several shots on the menu; I tried the Honey Badger made from rumchata and honey bourbon and served super cold. I liked it. Katie had the Tito tea, which was basically a hard lemonade and it was her favorite drink of all. They also have three custom beers brewed for their restaurants. The decor is like a Coloradan mountain cabin-slash- hunting lodge. Not my taste, but clearly a lot of effort was put into it.
Overall Score 3.5/10
I really had no idea what to expect of this place, but turns out it’s a barbecue restaurant with a very heavy New Orleans voodoo theme, although the menu makes several not-subtle references to the fact that it’s a breastaurant (the food is “the other reason you’re here”). Unfortunately, they do not serve Buffalo wings so I admit it was a slightly skewed comparison, but we ordered the closest thing which was a plate of whole, smoked and grilled wings. To level the playing field, we also ordered some pork ribs since the menu told us they were good. The wings were pretty awful. The sauce tasted burnt and gave the whole thing a bitterness and the meat was … maybe some would call it “juicy” but we both thought it just seemed undercooked. The ribs were good and tender and nicely smoked.
The cocktails were absolutely terrible. Insanely sweet but also sour, like liquified sour patch kids. After one sip, my tongue had that swollen, sore feeling you get when you eat way too many potato chips. It was called the Blowtorch (you see us trying and failing to light it on fire in the video) and it should be taken off the menu, it was so bad.
Have you tried any of these places? Are you offended by the general concept of a breastaurant? Have you ever taken your kids to a breastaurant? Let me know in the comments below.
And if you don’t want to visit but you just want to eat, see how to make your own better-than-Hooters-Style Buffalo Shrimp!