Justin Halpern
Why You Should Never Eat At Hooters: A Horror Story

I wrote this a couple years ago.  I worked in restaurants for about ten years before becoming a full time writer, and this is definitely one of the top three grossest moments I witnessed.

When I was 19, a Hooters opened up two blocks from where I lived.  My roommate and I needed a job, and also had penises, so we decided to apply as cooks there.  It was basically us, and 8 hispanic guys that didn’t speak a word of english, or have any clue what Hooters was.  I know this because during our orientation, which was the ten guys and 75 girls, one of them leaned over to me and asked, “Why there is much pussy?”  When I explained best I could that that was sort of the theme of the restaurant, he turned to the other seven dudes, translated it into Spanish, and then collectively they all went, “Aaaah.”  Then there was silence for a second and then one of them went “estabien guey!” and they started high-fiving each other.

Anyway, about a few months into it, I realized that it wasn’t that awesome of a job.  Hooters is a lot like a Michael Bay movie. It’s loud, everybody in it is stupid and you spend most of your time expecting someone to take their top off…but you never do. 

My job was to work the fryer.  Basically I’d go get wings from the walk-in fridge,  take them out front, batter them, flour them, then dump them in the fryer.  You may say this job was so easy a mentally challenged person could do it.  You have no idea how right you are, because the other “fryer” guy that worked alongside me had been hit by a car a few years before and was dropped off at our work by a special bus each day. 



So one day I pull the wings out, and they’re green and nasty, and smelled like a homeless dude that had (for some reason) rolled around in paprika.  Sort of spicy and sour.  So I go to throw them away and all of a sudden I hear, “WHOAAAA Buuuuuddddy.  Watcha doin’ J?”  I turn around and it was my manager, who was actually a really good guy, but a stickler about food costs.  So I go, “The wings are rotten,” then I make the homeless comparison I just made to you, to him, and he goes, “Let me show you a little something I learned in trenches.”  He grabs a white bucket, like this one:

And he fills it with water, about half way.  Then he dumps the rotten wings into the water.  Then he looks at me and he goes, “Here’s the magic.”  He grabs a bottle of bleach from the supply closet, and he pours a cap full of it, and dumps that cap into the water, with the wings.  Then he grabs a wooden spoon and he stirs the wings, like a witch stirring a secret spell.  Then he looks at me and goes “The bleach kills the smell, and then the fryer kills everything else.”  Then he went to the front, battered, fried, and served those wings.