What Do the Cyclone Roller Coaster and Strippers Have in Common? Hooters Could Be Opening on Coney Island

August 22, 2012 5:26 PM EDT | By Anthony Smith
Hooters
Joe Vitacco, the owner of a vacant lot on Surf Avenue just footsteps away from the historic Stillwell Avenue train station on Coney Island, has hinted that, starting as early as next year, he could be leasing his space to Hooters. (Photo: Creative Commons)

Joe Vitacco, the owner of a vacant lot on Surf Avenue just footsteps away from the historic Stillwell Avenue train station on Coney Island, has hinted that, starting as early as next year, he could be leasing his space to Hooters.

Though he stopped just short of explicitly confirming the possibility, Vitacco is certainly doing a bad job of playing coy. Though he refused to name the eatery that has already signed a least for the first floor of his future two-story building on his grounds, he could not stop singing the praises of the genius of opening what would be, in his words, a branch of the "delightfully tacky yet unrefined" food chain in his neighborhood.

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"Hooters is an ideal fit for Coney Island," said Vitacco, "It's a sure winner: you've got the stadium there, you've got the beach, you've got the amusement park. They would get tons of customers."

The chain, most famous for how its attractions cause patrons to wipe their hands afterwards, has set up restaurants in both Manhattan and Queens. This would mark its first venture into Brooklyn.

That is, of course, provided that they do open. A Hooters spokesman reported that his chain currently has no plans to open up in the borough, but did not rule out opening up a franchise there in the near future.

"I am sure we will have a location in Brooklyn at some point," said Jim Mallam, Director of Franchise Support for the restaurant chain.

But how happy are Brooklyn residents about the idea? A battalion of Park Slope parents (they're the people who buy all the strollers) successfully blocked a Hooter's attempt to acquire property near Barclays Center. Of course, Park Slope is a different kind of neighborhood-- one, perhaps, a little embarrassed by how frothy it is.

After all, everyone there's excited for the opening of a bar called Pork Slope. We'll let that one sit with you, if not melt in your mouth, for a while.

But Dick Zigun, the founder of the Mermaid Parade, applauds the ambition. "I'm looking to turn Surf Avenue into a late-night eating and drinking strip, and a Hooters would with that," he said.

Still, others are worried that once a chain restaurant comes, it's proof that the levies have broken. "They're going to get rid of all the small businesses and make it all corporate," warned Steve Petrelli, manager of a Pizzeria on Surf Avenue. "It's going to be the new Times Square."

No prediction could be more damning.



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