If you ever find yourself in Tampa, and find yourself craving dining options dreamt up by one of the most iconic pro wrestlers of our age, and you want to top off that experience by riding a mechanical shark, this is now a possibility for you.
New Year’s Eve allowed us to not only collectively say good-bye to an eventful year, but to say hello to Hogan’s Beach, an eating, drinking, and mechanical-shark-riding emporium building on the Hulk Hogan brand. (A brand resting on the not-at-all-shaky foundation of a pro wrestling career followed by a look-at-my-family reality show.)
Hulk boasted to the Tampa Bay Times, “It’s going to be Jimmy Buffett’s [Margaritaville] times 10; Hooters times 10.” While this brings up the potential horror of a TV commercial featuring Hulk bellowing, “Whatcha gonna do when overly-fried appetizers and servers with 36-Double-Ds run wild on you,” the vision for the restaurant’s food is not entirely awful. (Though this TV commercial does feature an in-form Hulk talking “party” and forwarding “30 years of bodyslamming opponents in the ring” as a prelude to being a successful restauranteur.)
The article notes that Culinary Institute of America-pedigreed chef Robert Uzzillia, hired as food and beverage director for the hotel and restaurant, created a trio of menus for Hogan’s Beach: “a 30-item sushi bar, a second indoor menu of upscale steaks and seafood, and a third, more casual menu for the patio of Frenchy’s-style Florida favorites.”
Still, though, there are volleyball courts, tiki huts, fire pits, and the aforementioned mechanical shark, leading to chuckling speculation about the Hogan’s Beach dining experience.
The Huffington Post, in its coverage of the announcement, sought to expand the wider circulation of the pejorative term “breastaurant,” which I am all for (and hence am dutifully doing my part).
Other local sources in the know, including the Broward Palm Beach New Times and Eater, couldn’t quite surpress their giggles in detailing the restaurant’s offerings; Eater noted that the Twittersphere contributed wrestling-and-food puns of the “Leg Drop Soup” and “Whatcha Gonna Stew” variety. The Internets have not yet revealed a menu or even a Yelp review, but please God, make “Whatcha Gonna Stew” happen in my lifetime.