So, I'm hooting out loud watching my girlfriend, surrounded by waitresses in short-shorts and tank tops, all of them belting out a birthday song in her honor. She's wearing a paper "beak" and waving a menu to simulate an owl flapping its wings.
It's 1 p.m. at Hooters of Farmingdale, where a group of us have gathered to celebrate our amiga's big day. "Now I know where most of the world goes for lunch," another friend whispers.
I have to agree. The place is jumping. And somehow, I don't think it's about the food.
Up front assets
Our waitress is charming, intelligent, interesting; we learn she's going for a degree in mortuary science and works nights as an embalmer. On the floor of the restaurant, she's a hit with anybody who has a heartbeat. She heartily recommends the boneless wings (actually breast meat) which we order two ways - medium-hot Buffalo style and Daytona Beach style (fried and then caramelized on the grill in a spicy barbecue sauce). Both versions come up big hits. Fried pickles are salty, tangy, crunchy, addictive.
Hooters puts out a truly fine juicy cheeseburger as well as a respectable Philly cheesesteak involving onions, peppers, mushrooms, Provolone and thinly shaved beef. It's greasy in the best possible sense.
And I'm pleased with the sweet-tart Key lime pie, moist chocolate mousse cake and creamy peanut butter pie.
I've rarely met a hot dog I didn't like, but the "gourmet" dog topped with chili, cheese and onions is wet, soft and altogether unappealing. Seasoned and previously frozen "curley" fries are purely pedestrian. I expect to like a friend's pulled-pork sandwich, but it has a tired, reheated flavor. Still, it's preferable to my sandwich of grilled mahi mahi, more like cardboard masquerading as fish. One bite and I'm through. A chicken Caesar salad seems to be topped with wood chips.
Serious dining, it's not. But for beer and a burger served with good cheer, it's a scene and a half.
Hooters of Farmingdale is located at 25 Smith St., Farmingdale, 631-249-5250