Flashback: Hooters Hoax

hooters hoax photo

Today’s post is the first in what will be an ongoing series where we flashback and take a look at awesome projects that while not new, are hopefully new to our readers. If not, enjoy a good idea for the second time or keep moving to the next post.

The Hooter’s Hoax took place in New York over President’s day weekend in 2006. The much loved Second Avenue Deli (a landmark for over 50 years,) had just closed in the East Village. John Grady and Mark Nickelsburg quietly put up a sign on the establishment’s front door in the middle of the night announcing a Hooters location would be soon opening. Clearly this was not going to sit well with the locals. The next day people stopped in their tracks to get a closer look at the sign, and a firestorm of speculation erupted on several NYC blogs. Some bloggers guessed it was a hoax, and others started protest sites to “stop Hooters.”

Grady writes:

Because I inadvertently pulled the prank over a three day holiday weekend (President’s Day) it had unintended consequences: the Hooters main office was not open to take calls from concerned East Village neighbors. Also, Hooters has a policy that it cannot confirm or deny where or when they are opening a new restaurant. Maybe because people would protest? I don’t know, but that definitely added fuel to the fire, when they started fielding calls and emails when they returned to the office that Tuesday.

Eventually the pranksters came clean on eater.com and the controversy came to an end. The Second Avenue Deli moved to 33rd Street, and Hooters still maintains its one New York location in midtown.

Do you know of a classic urban prank that we should cover? Let us know about it!

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5 Responses to “Flashback: Hooters Hoax”


  • I think of good pranks as having a point or raising consciousness, not just confusing people for fun.

  • I think of good pranks as having no point other than to befuddle the masses.

    If they cause angst at the same time, so much the better.

  • As long as it’s funny/interesting, I don’t care if it has a point. That said, I think this prank has plenty to say about gentrification, local establishments vanishing, and the proliferation of national chains. I guess you might not get the point unless you live here and know more about the neighborhood in question.

  • Hey and Hooters got some pretty good free market research if they even had an inkling about opening another one there. Sounds like a win-win to me.

  • Hmmm. I live in NYC, and it seems to me that a lot of people who care about issues around gentrification are getting their time wasted by this. Hopefully this is why the pranksters came clean.

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