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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Give a Hooters

Posted By on Thu, Feb 21, 2008 at 4:14 PM

The permits are in place, construction’s almost done and hiring’s started. Yes, even though the media hasn’t been fussing about it as much lately, the east coast’s first Hooters is still quietly preparing itself for a March 10 opening at 120 Main Street, Dartmouth, the former Plaza Nightclub space. “It’s vibrant, it’s going to be loud...the food will be good, the girls will be fantastic,” says general manager Joseph Robertson, enthusiastically. He’s got some other, more surprising Hooters info, too: “We’re very, very family-friendly,” says Robertson. Hooters has a kids’ menu, plus games, plastic bowling sets and colouring pages to keep kids occupied. “Once a little kid gets here, he’ll be bugging his mom, ‘Let’s go back to Hooters. Let’s go back to Hooters!’” says Robertson. According to that logic, Robertson’s got some pretty sweet news for Maritime youngsters: Dartmouth’s just the beginning of the chain’s east coast expansion. Hooters is also scouting possible locations in St. John’s, Moncton, Fredericton and Halifax. Back in December, when the Dartmouth Hooters first put up its owl-emblazoned banner, it inspired some chatter ---and only some of that chatter was excitement about the chain’s famous wings. Main Street business owners expressed concern that the opening of a Hooters (a chain well- known for having generously chested, somewhat scantily clad waitresses) seemed a step in the wrong direction for Main Street. Robertson’s response: “We’re a very community-driven restaurant...The business owners, once I started meeting them, they realized, we’re here to help 
them---to help change Main Street around.” To be fair, Heather Johnson, a co-owner of the area’s Smitty’s Family Restaurant (107 Main Street) and one of the most-quoted critics of the Hooters opening, says many of her earlier comments were blown out of proportion. “Probably I would have rather seen something a little different , but we look forward to another business. Any new business brings foot traffic...I wish them all the best,” says Johnson. “For me to say anything else would just be bad neighbours.” In the meantime, if you want to be a Hooters girl---or if you’re just a whiz at wing-making---call 406-3132. The restaurant’s still hiring.


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