You really wanna know why Portland's never gonna be a big city? Why New York, Los Angeles, even Maui will always rule, forcing Stumptown forever to remain a younger, dorkier sibling?
The answer is Planet Hollywood.
Let me explain. Cheesy and lame as they may be, restaurants like Planet Hollywood and Hard Rock Cafe pop up in cities where people want to go. Big-city kind of places. People, tourists usually, flock to these chains not for the culinary explorations or the movie-lot memorabilia, but to say they've been there, man.
In this town, we've got no Bruce Willis memorabilia. No Jimi Hendrix guitars. No Michael Jackson anything.
But, as of March 15, we do have something on par with those shlocky imports.
Well, sort of.
Hooters is now open for business in Beaverton.
Hundreds of little leaguers, NASCAR dads and slightly giddy young men and women stood outside on opening night, waiting to be the first in Oregon to experience the Hooters girls, the big-screen televisions and--almost as popular as the women in the tiny, tight orange shorts--the buffalo wings.
It's obvious from the hourlong wait time and the enthusiasm of the patrons that there is something about the Hooters experience that is bigger than the push-up bras of its waitresses. One man I talked to has been to various Hooterses in five states and three countries. Including Taiwan. There was also a group for a boy's 12th birthday.
Hooters sells a lot of wings. On this opening night, Hooters' buffalo wings--which can be ordered in groups of 10, 20 and 50--practically flew themselves to the dining tables. These little beasts are golden-brown and sinful. Trouble is, they're not very good. They reek of the deep fryer (for a leaner experience, order them "naked") and the secret sauce isn't as salty-sweet, or as messy, as I'd imagined.
The Hooters girls, to their credit, are lovely enough. The outfits--tank tops, nylon shorts, scrunchie socks--make them look more like Jazzercise instructors than servers, especially if you consider that the outfits haven't been updated since the first Hooters opened in the '80s. In between serving what may be the coldest beer on the planet, these ladies stop to sign autographs. Cocktail waitresses as instant celebrities.
Reason enough to visit the suburbs?
Hooters of Beaverton, 11995 SW Beaverton Hillsdale Highway, 646-9464. All ages.