First Hooters Restaurant Opened in Clearwater, Florida

The First Hooters Restaurant

The first Hooters restaurant opened in Clearwater, Florida, on October 4, 1983, marking the beginning of a popular casual dining chain known for its sports bar atmosphere, chicken wings, and its iconic Hooters Girls.

Hooters was founded by six businessmen—Lynn D. Stewart, Gil DiGiannantonio, Ed Droste, Billy Ranieri, Ken Wimmer, and Dennis Johnson—who had no previous experience in the restaurant industry. They wanted to create a laid-back, casual dining establishment with a beach theme and a unique approach to customer service. Inspired by the “Hooters Six” – the original six Hooters Girls – the founders sought to create a fun, friendly atmosphere where customers could enjoy good food and be entertained by the playful interaction with the Hooters Girls.

Opening its doors on October 4, 1983, the first Hooters restaurant was located in Clearwater, Florida. The menu featured a variety of casual dining options, including their famous chicken wings, which became a staple of the brand. The Hooters Girls, dressed in their iconic uniforms consisting of tight white tank tops with the Hooters owl logo, orange shorts, and white sneakers, were a distinctive restaurant feature and contributed to its playful, beach-themed atmosphere.

The success of the first Hooters restaurant led to rapid expansion, with new locations opening across the United States and eventually around the world. Today, Hooters operates over 400 restaurants in more than 25 countries, making it a recognizable global brand. Despite facing criticism over the years for its portrayal of women, Hooters has maintained its popularity as a casual dining and sports bar destination.

The opening of the first Hooters restaurant in 1983 marked the beginning of a successful and sometimes controversial brand, which has become a recognizable part of the American dining landscape and has significantly impacted the casual dining and sports bar industry.