‘breastaurant’: meanings and origin

A blend of breast and restaurant, the American-English noun breastaurant denotes a restaurant that features scantily-clad waitresses.

Probably coined on various occasions by different persons, independently from each other, this noun is especially associated with the restaurant chain Hooters, whose first restaurant opened on Tuesday 4th October 1983 at Clearwater, Florida.

The earliest occurrences of the noun breastaurant that I have found are as follows, in chronological order:

1-: From Jack Kofoed’s gastronomy column, published in The Miami Herald (Miami, Florida) of Sunday 27th November 1966:

Tom Ferris notes that if the “topless” waitress idea takes hold in this town, eateries will have to be renamed “breastaurants.”

2-: From an advertisement from Businesses for sale, published in The Vancouver Sun (Vancouver, British Columbia) of Saturday 1st September 1990:

Breastaurant, bars—great location!

3-: From Hooters chain goes for national appeal, by Curtis Krueger, published in the St. Petersburg Times (St. Petersburg, Florida) of Sunday 30th September 1990:

Despite their efforts to attract families, not everyone wants to eat in a “breastaurant,” as Florida Trend magazine dubbed them.

4-: From Hooters draws ire in Baltimore, by Karl Vick, published in the St. Petersburg Times (St. Petersburg, Florida) of Friday 30th November 1990:

As imitators such as Knockers and Melons opened, Tampa Bay proved to be the cradle of a new industry—now known as the “breastaurant” business.

5-: From the column Around Tampa, by Mary Jo Melone, published in the St. Petersburg Times (St. Petersburg, Florida) of Wednesday 12th December 1990:

Calling foul on Hooters

If you think about it, Tampa Bay has made two big contributions to popular American culture.
The Q-Zoo shock rock radio format has been imitated by stations across the country.
The other is Hooters, that frat house masquerading as a restaurant. There are 46 Hooters nationwide, including (and more of this in a moment) Baltimore.
Baltimore has a dandy national reputation, the kind Tampa Bay yearns for. Harborplace, the collection of stores and shops on Baltimore’s revived waterfront, is apparently a big reason.
But the fact that Baltimore has politicians who take on unpopular causes—such as, say, respect for women—might have something to do with it.
This brings me back to Hooters.
The men who started their “breastaurants” in Clearwater and the rest of the bay seven years ago have opened another in Harborplace. Unfortunately for them, the city of Baltimore leases the land Harborplace sits on, which gives Mary Pat Clarke some say. She’s the president of Baltimore’s City Council.

6-: From the following letter, published in the St. Petersburg Times (St. Petersburg, Florida) of Monday 24th December 1990:

More on Hooters

I was appalled at Mary Jo Melone’s Dec. 12 column, titled Calling foul on Hooters.
As executive director of a retirement community just across the street from Hooters on Gulf to Bay in Clearwater, I would like Ms. Melone to know the good things that the Hooters organization and its young ladies do for the elderly in our community. These young ladies have come to our facility at mealtime to brighten the day for the elderly here, most of whom rarely see family or friends. These young ladies just recently gave several hours of their time to participate in our Christmas parade for the retirement community. We are also working on the possibility of an “Adopt a Grandparent” with Hooters. Our residents enjoy visiting Hooters for dining and always talk about the pretty young ladies who are so nice to them.
In all the times (which are many) that I have frequented Hooters over the last five years, I have never seen any inappropriate behavior displayed. If there is anything inappropriate, it is Ms. Melone’s reference to “breastaurants.” I take offense to this remark. The young ladies at Hooters are making a living and should be very proud of the service they render to our community.
Barbara A. Wise, President / Executive Director, Bayview Gardens Retirement Community Clearwater

The noun breastaurant also occasionally denotes a woman who breastfeeds, or the breast of a woman who breastfeeds. These are two examples:

1-: From So that’s what they’re for! Breastfeeding basics (Holbrook (Massachusetts): Adams Media Corporation, 1996), by Janet Tamoro:

Helen calls her chest the “breastaurant.” By the time Lili was three months old, Helen says, breastfeeding—oh, excuse me, eating at the breastaurant—became a piece of cake.

2-: From BST (Baby Standard Time) always means serious adjustment, by Lea Haravon Collins, published in The Gazette (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) of Sunday 12th November 2000:

After a long feed, she’s sleeping. I take this opportunity to transform from nurser to writer, and I don’t know how much time I have until I must, Supermanlike, make the quick change back into “breastaurant” again.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.