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Once controversial, Hooters closes quietly in south Arlington and at 40 U.S. locations

Closed Sign (Mark Harper/The Daytona Beach News-Journal/TNS)

An Atlanta-based chain sports grill known for wings and double entendres has closed southwest Arlington and Fort Worth locations that originally faced legal protests when they opened years ago

Hooters shut down restaurants at 5821 Interstate 20 West, Arlington, and 150 Throckmorton St., Fort Worth, along with more than 40 locations nationwide.

Five other Tarrant County locations of the 40-year-old chain remain open in southwest Fort Worth, north Arlington, North Richland Hills, Grand Prairie and Grapevine.

In a statement to Nation’s Restaurant News, the company cited “current market conditions” in closing “underperforming” stores.

The closures come at a time of increased pressure on aging national restaurant chains, partly due to fresher competition and partly due to patrons’ price concerns that have even affected fast-food drive-thrus.

Hooters’ first area restaurant opened in 1989 in downtown Dallas. It offered what the company described as a “beach” theme with women servers dressed “cheerleader-style” and called “Hooters Girls.”

The restaurants quickly drew attention for the then-shocking skimpy outfits and also for risque and misogynistic themes, jokes and signage.

Before the southwest Arlington location opened in 2002, a community group, Decency for Arlington, gathered 1,300 signatures in opposition.

Tarrant County Judge Tom Vandergriff eventually rejected the liquor license application, saying the restaurant was too close to nearby schools and churches.

The restaurant gave away free liquor until a state administrative judge reversed the decision in 2007. The company also agreed to remove some merchandise and signs.

The downtown Fort Worth location also faced legal opposition when it opened in 2016. Sundance Square officials and downtown residents said it was too close to the Sundance West apartments.

Hooters’ success quickly spurred a series of copycat restaurants with scantily clad servers and sophomoric names or themes.

The chain receives mediocre reviews from users of the social media site The highest-rated location in Tarrant County is the north Arlington restaurant, scoring 3.0 out of a possible 5.

Based on figures quoted by Nation’s Restaurant News, the closing of 40 restaurants wold leave the company with about 250 locations, down from 333 in 2018.

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