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Hooters

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    Score: 4.83. Votes: 12

    Menu Description: "Nearly world famous. Often imitated, hardly ever duplicated."

    "Hooters is to chicken wings what McDonald's is to hamburgers," claims promotional material from the company. True, the six fun-loving Midwestern businessmen who started Hooters in Clearwater, Florida, on April Fool's Day in 1983 chose a classic recipe for chicken wings as their signature item. But while some might say it's the buffalo wings that are their favorite feature of the restaurant, others say it's the restaurant chain's trademark Hooters girls—waitresses casually attired in bright orange short-shorts and skin tight T-shirts.

    Today there are over 375 Hooters across the United States serving more than 200 tons of chicken wings every week. The original dish can be ordered in 10-, 20-, or 50-piece servings; or if you want to splurge, there's the "Gourmet Chicken Wing Dinner" featuring 20 wings and a bottle of Dom Perignon champagne, for only $125. To further enhance the Hooters experience when you serve these messy wings, throw a whole roll of paper towels on the table, rather than napkins, as they do in the restaurants.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 3.20. Votes: 10

    You probably don't need me to tell you that traditional chicken wings have significant fat and calories. In most cases, the wings are deep-fried in hot oil, the skin is left on the chicken, and then they are smothered in a spicy sauce that is usually around half butter. Good stuff for sure, but sometimes you might want to take a break from the fat. So then, how can we reduce the fat in a clone recipe for what has become one of the most popular chicken wings around without compromising the flavor and everything else that makes the Hooters version so great?

    First of all, we must broil and bake them instead of using the traditional frying method. As the wings broil we keep the skin on so that the meat won't dry out. Once the wings have cooled a little, we take off the skin and replace it with a seasoned breading and a light coating of cooking spray. We bake the wings until they're golden brown, smother them with a spicy wing sauce that's made with a light butter-flavored spread rather than butter, and, voila—a Hooters Buffalo Chicken Wing clone that weighs in at around one-third the fat of the original version. 

    Nutrition Facts:
    Serving size–5 pieces
    Total servings–2
    Calories per serving–210 (Original–471)
    Fat per serving–10g (Original–30g)

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Lite by Todd Wilbur.

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    Menu Description: "It don't get no batter than this." 

    With the double-entendre name and female servers (many of whom are also models), Hooters has become a company with critics. Several years ago a group of Hooters Girls in Minneapolis sued the company on grounds of sexual harrassment, saying that the uniforms featuring shorts and tight T-shirts or tank tops were demeaning. Ultimately, the women dropped the suit. But more recently, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ordered the company to hire men on the foodservice staff. Hooters countered with a sarcastic million-dollar advertising campaign featuring a mustachioed man named "Vince" dressed in Hooters Girl getup. Once again, that suit was dropped.

    Vice President of Marketing, Mike McNeil told Nation's Restaurant News, "Hooter's Girls are actually wearing more clothing than what most women wear at the gym or the beach. It's part of the concept. I don't think the world would be a better place if we had guys be Hooters Girls." You may agree or disagree, but the fact is that Hooters is currently the country's thirteenth largest dinner house chain and one of the fastest growing, with an increasing number of diners discovering Buffalo Shrimp, a delicious spin-off of Buffalo Chicken Wings.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    The Hooters chain continues its rapid expansion across the globe into 39 states and seven countries, including Taiwan, Aruba, Singapore, and Australia. In those 200 or so restaurants, this appetizer has become very popular since it was first introduced in 1995, as a variation on the Buffalo Chicken Wings recipe. Since this shrimp is fried, as are the chicken wings, we must resort to some tricks that will help bring the fat down. We'll bake the shrimp, rather than fry it, and prepare the sauce with a fat-free spread that adds flavor.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–6 pieces
    Total servings–2
    Calories per serving–204 (Original–320)
    Fat per serving–3g (Original–10g)

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Lite by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.40. Votes: 10

    Menu Description: “Homemade, fried golden brown & dill-icious. Cut into thin slices and served with dipping sauce.”

    Fried Oreos, fried Twinkies, fried bull testicles, fried crickets—just about anything can be battered and fried, but that doesn’t always mean it’ll taste good. I’ve tasted many unexpectedly delicious foods out of a fryer and these pickles are one of the delicious surprises. The combination of sour pickles, crunchy breading and creamy dipping sauce was really good. It’s no wonder these are such a popular pick at the chain known more for its chicken wings, orange short-shorts, and belly shirts. After a little sleuthing I discovered that Hooters use Mrs. Klein’s crinkle-cut pickles, but that particular brand can be hard to find in most stores. I did a taste test of all popular brands and found that the most similar tasting pickle slices happen to be one of the most popular brands on the market: Heinz. Find the hamburger dill chips and be sure to blot the pickle slices dry before breading them. The breading recipe here should be enough to coat all the pickle slices in a 16-ounce jar (50 to 55 slices). As for the dipping sauce? That’s just a simple matter of stirring a little cayenne pepper into some Hidden Valley Ranch dressing. Done and done.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.60. Votes: 5

    Menu Description: "Rotini, cukes, tomatoes, scallions and vinaigrette dressing on the side."

    On the back of each menu at this popular dinner house chain is the "Hooters Saga"—a tongue-in-cheek tale of the restaurant's origin. The story claims that the chain's founders, referred to as "The Hooters Six," were arrested shortly after opening the first Hooters restaurant "for impersonating restauranteurs (sic). There were no indictments," the story explains. "But the stigma lingers on."

    Even though the "saga" claims the building for the first Hooters restaurant was originally going to be used as a "giant walk-in dumpster," each Hooters outlet is designed to look like a Florida beachouse. And whether it's December or July, day or night, you'll notice the trademark multicolored Christmas lights are always on.

    Since Hooters is more than just Buffalo wings and shrimp, I thought I'd include a clone for a newer item on the menu. You'll love the tasty tri-color pasta salad tossed with tomatoes, cucumbers, and green onion, and a delicious vinaigrette. Use this Top Secret version of the pink vinaigrette dressing on a variety of salads or sub sandwiches, or even as a marinade.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.