Although it now has more than 430 locations in 28 countries, Hooters wasn’t always welcomed by the public. In fact, when it opened in October 1983 in Clearwater, Florida, the founders of the restaurant were “quickly detained for impersonating restaurateurs,” according to the company's website. But the restaurant was able to prove it was more than just a pretty face—that it was serious about serving tasty American food and frosty brews—and its popularity exploded in the decades to follow.
Amid its beach-themed vibe and flat-screen TVs, Hooters still fuels appetites with original chicken wings, burgers, sandwiches, and fresh salads. Of course, nobody carries those casual eats and icy pitchers better than the Hooters girls. To complement their friendly smiles, their uniforms harken back to the ones the original waitresses wore in 1983: orange hot shorts and white tank tops with the emblematic owl on the front—though that owl has lost its Lionel Richie perm.
Inside Orlando Entertainment, groups of friends gather in 16 private karaoke rooms to wail the lyrics of popular songs. But instead of a stage and giant amplifiers, each of the lounge's rooms surround performers with stylish decor, including plush couches and recessed neon lighting. Groups can even have food and drinks delivered to their private space at the touch of a screen, so they never have to leave their room or communicate with servers telepathically. Outside the karaoke suites, neon lights and bright colors snake throughout the rest of the venue, ultimately leading to the full bar area lit with glittery chandeliers.
Ask Lourdes Limon why her raspados taste so good. She'll say, "Por que los hice con amor"—"Because they're made with love." Now that her sons have taken over the family business, they use the same secret ingredient, but they've added a few new specialties. Supplementing the shaved ice treats that give them their name are freshly squeezed juices, chili-imbued slush-drinks, and healthy fruit salads. But the raspados remain the main event. Flavors include exotic fruit such as guava, tamarind, kiwi, and jamaica, as well as more decadent flavors such as caramel, egg nog, cookies and cream, and plain water.
Xtreme XD purports that its digital-theater ride operates in six dimensions. Three of these belong to the visuals, which spring out at viewers through depth-creating glasses. The rest belong to the suite of effects that jostle and excite the riders, ranging from seats that can jolt with up to 3 g's of force to systems that create the illusion of wind and light. Riders take their pick of a number of featured rides, which can include a roller coaster that speeds through haunted mines, safaris beset by stampeding elephants, and recreations of the nearly yearlong trip to Mars in real time.
In 2004, four friends who happened to be bowling aficionados lamented the absence of a nearby bowling center. Rather than complain, petition, or stage a protest that involved a cosmic-bowl laser show on the mayor's front yard at 3 a.m., they simply opened their own. Thus Action Lanes was born out of need, but its 32 lanes transcend necessity and border on luxury. To wit, players keep track of each roll on animated scoreboards while jamming to the beat of tunes playing on the sound system. This modern bowling center features all the amenities—a pro shop for gear, a snack bar for eats, and a sports bar to celebrate a win or lament a loss with a drink and a toast. Action Lanes also houses an arcade and separate rooms that can accommodate parties and events.
Luxy 101 puts a glamorous spin on the traditional sports bar. There isn't just one TV––instead, games unfold on 15 high-definition monitors. Likewise, a patron can order one beer, or order 101 different beers thanks to the vast beer selection that lends the bar its name. Mixologist-crafted cocktails complement the brews, delighting palates with liquors ranging from dragonfruit vodka to Bacardi, and mixers spanning pineapple juice to ice cream.
The food is a similar mix of classic American and upscale fare. A burger and fries, for example, means fries made with duck fat and a fresh burger topped with extras such as avocado and blue cheese, or aged gouda and an egg. The pizza is similarly revamped, from the crust––an artisanal flatbread––to the toppings including fig, prosciutto, and arugula.