In the early 80's, a group of business people got together in Florida at an old club house and turned it into a cheeky food establishment. The waitresses wore short shorts and tight shirts and they called the place Hooters.
Here in St. Louis, in the late 90's a group of people noticed the success of Hooters and tried to make their own version, calling it Show Me's.
Now, the Show Me's restaurant in South County has been there for such a long time that I remember driving past it many times always thinking it was a bar and not knowing what it really was. On their website, the Show Me girls are shown wearing heels, tight shorts with parts of their ass hanging out and very revealing shirts. I was told by me brother-in-law that the girls were hotter, the food was better, and the place was cooler. Maybe the South County store didn't get the memo.
My wife, two kids and father arrived just this past Sunday at the Show Me's on Lemay. It was a dump. We walked in and a waitress was sitting down at the bar, next to a customer. She turned and told us that we could sit wherever and turned back to talk to the guy. There was a girl behind the bar getting drinks and a single girl working the floor. We walked in to the place which was dark inside, had the beechwood look that is just so similar to another establishment, there were 2 dirty tables in front of us and one table of people. We needed a table for 5 and there were only four-tops around so we waiting for someone to clean off another one so we could push two tables together. After we got our table and sat down, we looked at the menu and it took 10 minutes, before a girl came over and asked us for our drink orders. 10 minutes later, our drinks came and the server walked off again. We were there for 20 minutes, we just got our drinks, the waitress left before we could order our food. By then, my kids were starving as this was about 1pm and my youngest was crying for food as he was so hungry. We watched two men come through the door and sit down. Within 30 seconds a chatty blonde showed up at their table and took their drink order. About 2 minutes later she came back with their beers and she took their food order. We watched this take place as we sat in misery, waiting for someone to even talk with us again instead of ignore us.
After those 20 minutes, we couldn't take it. My family got up to leave and when the girl did see this, I asked for the bill. She came back saying "I'm sorry I got caught up, I had management problems". So, badly I wanted to turn to her and say, "No you didn't, I saw you get those guy quick and get their orders in seconds. You had a problem because there were kids here and you didn't want to work." I paid the bill for the sodas and left.
The above experience was so much different that the Hooters, on Lindbergh, just about a mile away. As we walked in, we were immediately greeted and sat within 2 minutes. Right when we were sat, a server was right with us asking for drink orders. I took a second to mention to a manger about how we tried the ugly shack version of Hooters and still Hooters was better. In fact, my dad and I were joking that as soon as we walked in that Hooters was better because someone acknowledged us. Hooters is Hooters. We were greeted, had food, had drinks and had service.
Let's have a scientific comparison:
Greeted us within 2 minutes
Sat in to minutes
Kid's menu was given to the kids
Drinks within 2 minutes of ordering
Food came about 7-8 minutes after ordering
Server was smiling, nice and talked to the kids
Greeted us within 5 minutes
Sat in 5 minutes
No kid's menu available
Drinks came 10 minutes after we were sat
Didn't make it this far
Server talked to my father and my wife, no smiles
Finally, the big two things: girls and food. Since I am married, I will use my dad's opinion on the girls. He definitely thought that the girls at Hooters looked better and more attractive. The food, was great, as usual, at Hooters and since we never were served at Show Me's, that was an easy win. This isn't really a review, since every time that I have been at a Hooters restaurant, it has had great food and good service. But it is interesting to note, that like so many other things started in St. Louis, for the purpose of copying off of something more famous in other areas, that the copy sucks compared to the original. Sure we have the best of many things and the imitators suck, but a lot of time, St. Louis thinks that things outside of it's area are better so it tries to copy. Our nightclubs and dance clubs are copied from the ones in New York and Las Vegas, but our version sucks. So, St. Louis, cannot copy Hooters. We had friendly hostesses, friendly servers and friendly managers. Food was perfect and tasty and quick. Everyone was friendly. That is Hooters. So, do not go to the bad knock off: show me's.