This one had my attention for a long time. I have some pretty deep ties into Hooters in the area. I used to enjoy eating at the Crossgates Mall location with my friends. We actually made it a weekly affair, and even participated in the Tuesday night trivia they did there (our team was “Lynch’s Dad.”). In the mid 00’s, when Hooters suddenly closed, I was disappointed; one of the better places to get pure junk food was gone, as were the delicious breaded wings with hot sauce (not Buffalo wings).
It has been about four years since this location closed. Earlier this year, rumors were rumbling that a new Hooters was opening at 72 Wolf Road in Albany, NY (maybe it’s Colonie, I don’t know…). The rumors were confirmed, and they were set for a mid-June opening. They opened their doors to the public on June 16, 2011, and I managed to hold myself off for exactly one week before visiting.
Now, the elephant in the room.
Hooters is a restaurant chain well known for the unique dress code of the wait staff. The majority of people in uniform are young women dressed in tight leggings and wearing tops designed to maximize cleavage. These are the girls who take your order and deliver your food, so, naturally, playing to the sexuality and perversion of modern society is in their benefit, as you will be tipping based on their service. I urge you to forget about this lest you overtip. I graduated high school 14 years ago last week, so lets stop being childish. It’s a place to eat; lets move on. If you want to focus on that immature stuff, have fun handing over your life savings.
When I arrived (4:45pm on a Thursday), getting a table was no problem. The menus were even waiting for me.
I always used to joke with my buddy, Rory that I’ll be ordering the Gourmet Wing dinner. One day, I will!
So, once I decided I was having 20 wings (breaded, not naked) and onion rings, I had to decide on heat levels. I enjoy spicy food, but, lately, when I eat wings, I like a range of heat. Eating an entire plate of extremely hot wings isn’t exactly a fun experience. So I like getting some wings mild and some hot. The flavors confused me. They have, in this order:
- 911 – Hot
- 3 Mile Island
It’s clearly not right. So I had a discussion with the server regarding which of the latter two was hotter. She explained that 3 Mile Island was the hottest and that mild was basically just a butter sauce. I tried convincing her that 911 – Hot was named after an international tragedy, and I think I had her going for a couple of minutes. Anyway, I got 10 medium and 10 911-Hot.
My onion rings came out first.
What do you say? They’re onion rings. Since I know they use trans fat-free oil, I could definitely tell; these seemed to retain a good amount of oil, resulting in a soggier onion ring. They were ok.
My wings came out together. (and of course the sun decided to make it difficult to get a good picture)
The wings, much like the onion rings, were fairly oily, but, since the breading was thick, they remained crisp, even after being tossed in the hot sauce. They seem to use some really small wings; after eating the flats, the bones were not much bigger than standard toothpicks. On a meat to breading ratio, it’s probably about 0.5, twice as much breading as meat. The heat levels of the sauces were spot on. I wouldn’t order any higher than 911 in the future.
I can’t say the wings were great, and I can’t say they were exactly as I remembered them, because peanut oil was used at the Hooters of the past, but I enjoyed these. I had no problem eating through the 20 wings, even after devouring a plate of onion rings.
The service was amiable and accommodating. The ambiance was loud, from the random music playing over the PA to the speech level of the patrons and staff to overpower the PA. If you’re a fan of libraries, you’d hate this place; I’m not.
On my way out, I decided I wanted a t-shirt to commemorate the triumphant return of Hooters in Albany, NY. A young lady at the counter was kind enough to hand me a shirt and take my credit card. At that point, there was a line out the door, which I do not understand why since there were at least 4 tables open inside of the restaurant in addition to the table I had just vacated. A tough guy, muscle-head, douche bag, who seemed to work there came up to me with a clipboard in his hand and told me I was all set, with an attitude. I hadn’t even gotten my credit card back yet.
I told this guy to calm down with the derryX glare, and he left me alone. I got my credit card back from the lady, took my shirt and a free special sticker and rode off into the sunset.