Story by Bob McClain
Having a Hoot at the Mall of America
Hooter's (952) 854-3110
Mall of America 4th Floor
Bloomington, MN 55425
Hooters, at the Mall of America, may be the most unpretentious restaurant in the Twin Cities. How can you resist a motto like ‘Delightfully Tacky Yet Unrefined?’ Their ‘in your face’ style and friendly staff have made it one of the most popular destinations in a mall that specializes in ‘destinations.’ It’s hard to be unhappy in a place like Hooters.
I shared a drink with Mike Rollins, General Manager of Hooters, and asked him why this place was hopping in the middle of the afternoon. “It’s the girls,” he answered, grinning and waving to familiar customers. Duh. “No, really. You have no idea the intense level of training we put these girls through before they are allowed to wear the Hooters T-shirt.” He leaned forward and for the first time got very earnest with me. “These girls have to work at the front door as hostesses for three to four weeks before they are allowed to train as waitresses. This gives us the opportunity to study them and see if they have the charm and personality we are looking for. They get graded by the waitresses and me.” If they manage to ‘get in the front door’ so to speak, they then go through training and have to pass a ten page test. Hooters doesn’t believe in ‘it’s my first day. Let me check.’
Mike wanted to make the point that Hooters is a restaurant the serves beer and wine, not a bar that serves food. “Just try our Buffalo Shrimp. You’ll be convinced.” However, their specialty is the Chicken Wings and seafood. The décor is surprisingly rustic, although there is plenty of ‘sports bar’ ambiance. In addition to the girls and the food, Mike emphasized that FUN was the next biggest thing on the menu at Hooters. “The girls love to play jokes on customers and on each other. This place can get pretty crazy sometimes.”
Happy hour is Sunday thru Thursday from 9pm to 11pm with $6.50 pitchers of anything and .25 cent wings. Another special is What Women Want Wednesday, when women 25% off their bill regardless of what they order. They offer beer and wine only, no liquor. They have a diverse selection of beers, both domestic and specialty. They are open 11am till midnight Monday thru Thursday, 11am to 1pm Friday & Saturday, and Sundays, 11am till 11pm. Appetizers range from $6.45 for the Buffalo Chicken Strips, to $12.95 for the Buffalo Shrimp. Sandwiches average around $7.45. Seafood varies on the market price.