Hooters no longer coming to St. John’s

Laura Howells
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Owner says decision has nothing to do with controversy

Hooters, the restaurant known for its voluptuous waitresses, will not open in downtown St. John’s.

Hooters was set to open in late spring in the location of the now-closed Club One. Owner John Cook told The Telegram the decision to back out was a personal choice.

“It just really wasn’t something I wanted to do right now, personally,” said Cook. “I’ve got four places happening in one area and I figured it might be best to cut it.”

Cook owns the Sundance Bar and Grill, Dusk Ultralounge, the George Street Beer Market and Big Ben’s.

“It may not be the fit we’re looking for, and there’s a heck of a lot of other little things behind the scenes that I just didn’t want to get involved with,” he said.

Hooters is known for its “Hooters Girls”— a waitressing staff of attractive women in tight uniforms who are encouraged to play up their  appeal.

The announcement that Hooters was coming to St. John’s attracted much controversy, with some people concerned about the restaurant’s objectification of women, sexist hiring practices and the possibility for sexual harassment. Others mourned the loss of Club One as a performance venue.

However, Cook says those objections had absolutely no influence on his decision not to open the restaurant.

“It had nothing to do with the controversy around it whatsoever. None whatsoever,” said Cook. “It was great advertising! I could never afford to buy that advertising.”

Cook says Club One will not reopen and he’s not yet sure what he will do with the space.  

“There’s a few avenues we’re looking at, but we’ll wait until the end of the summer to see what’s happening and we’ll go from there,” he said.

“I’ll say there’ll be something else in the future. I’ve got a few other things that I’m doing right now but I can’t say right now.”

Cook says he may open a Hooters at some point in the future, but right now it is not his best option.

“I think it would have been a great fit for downtown, but it’s just some other things came up and I thought it might be better to go a different direction,” he said.

“Maybe another younger generation might do it. I’ve been in this market for over 40 years, so maybe somebody might who wants to work six nights a week like I did for 15, 20 years, which I didn’t want to do anymore.

“I think there will be some disappointed, but that’s the nature of business. I’ve been in business now for 40 years. I’ve closed some, I’ve opened some, so I really can’t worry about that part of it.”



Organizations: The Telegram

Geographic location: Big Ben

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Recent comments

  • NLclass
    July 24, 2014 - 22:57

    David is likely a former hooters cook from the Pearson airport strip who got few extra tips and thought he'd make it big on George St. Rejected for his lack of skill in a province of culture he needs to unleash his upalong jealousy to prop up his meagre stature. See you at the Big Mary counter Davy

  • carogers
    July 16, 2014 - 09:10

    Hey David and 2014. So if a restaurant called 'Hooters" is not tacky then it must be "classy" . Yes? No? The wait staff are all women. The dress code is free range boobs with tight shorts. So what descriptive word should be used? Regardless of the menu if the food is pub grub or not. The name and the requirements of female staff say it all. When you say an "island of hillbillies" then we must be the highest educated with the percentage of people with university degrees and a work force of well paid tradesmen. I am not hillbilly David nor do I know anyone fitting that description. That does not change the fact Hooters is called hooters for one reason they hire all female staff with large breast. That is the facts. No hillbilly attitude it simply is what it is. You cannot make it out to be something else by calling the people names.

    • 2014?
      July 16, 2014 - 14:41

      Sorry carogers, didn't realize you were on the hiring committee and privy to their practices. So what's your opinion on Jungle Jim's, Fog City, the Keg, Boston Pizza et al? Do they use the same guidebook? For the record, the Hooters name is one of the dumbest around. But it's also mainly the name that gets people up-in-arms, the same people that have probably never set foot in a Hooters and base their opinions on what their friends say or what they may have seen on a 20/20 report in '93.

    • david
      July 17, 2014 - 14:35

      Car dude: So you can slander Hooters, dismissing the entire corporation as sleazy, sexist, misogynist, and classless....but I'm not allowed to have the (vastly more anecdotally defensible) opinion that Newfoundlanders with self-righteous morality and ignorant God complexes are no more than a clique of nouveau riche possum hunters ..... Gotcha. Enjoy that "enormous education"...it's obviously doing you a heckuva lot of good.

  • 2014?
    July 16, 2014 - 07:18

    To david: it's too bad you can't hear me clapping right now. Bravo.

  • david
    July 15, 2014 - 16:23

    Newfoundland: Where Hooters is ridiculed as "tacky and tasteless", and the morning traffic jams start with the Tim Horton's drive thru....an island of hillbillies who think their oil money has made them gentrified. (....and no, that is not a typo of Kentucky Fried.)

  • Andy
    July 15, 2014 - 13:13

    Good news. Hooters is the epitome of tackiness with sh*t food. Restaurant version of a used car lot.

  • Arrakis61
    July 15, 2014 - 12:35

    Newfoundlanders love to whine, complain and overreact about everything. They way the girls dress at Hooters is not much different from what you see at Jungle Jim's.

  • Brad
    July 15, 2014 - 11:29

    It doesn't matter much as Hooters food is gross anyway. Just overgreasy pubfood.

  • Erin Whitney
    July 15, 2014 - 11:00

    Hopefully it will get a second chance as a performance venue - not a lot that size around here.

  • Sanford
    July 15, 2014 - 09:38

    No AHL team after the 2014-2015 season when the Icecaps go to Ontario. Less need for a sports bar across the street from Mile One is my guess.

  • david
    July 15, 2014 - 08:34

    Huge moral victory for all Newfoundlanders, banishing this sexist cancwer from our God-fearing paradise! Now, the next order of business : What about this "Mary Brown" and her legs......

    • bill
      July 15, 2014 - 16:58

      the words 'fear' and 'paradise' do not go together. You can never truly live if you are afraid.

    • david
      July 16, 2014 - 06:56

      Best loosen the hat a little, Bill.

  • Christopher Chafe
    July 15, 2014 - 08:16

    What's next demand the television stations remove all programming that objectifies women as sexy?

  • Cory
    July 15, 2014 - 07:55

    So sad there deep fried pickles are the best , and for the uniform they dress less at the new jack astors then a hooters girl

  • 2014?
    July 15, 2014 - 07:18

    Sad sad sad. I'm sure the '30s-era backlash had some sway on the decision.

  • guy incognito
    July 15, 2014 - 07:09

    Good news.