Saturday, August 6, 2011

The (Short) Life & Times of the DD Ranch

A mere seven months ago, my sleepy hometown was graced with yet another culinary establishment. Its menu was nothing particularly groundbreaking (burgers, wings, beer) but it was set apart by the sexual overtones in the uniforms, décor, and menu. Like Hooters, this Louisiana-based eatery is known for the immodesty of its uniforms, a business strategy often referred to as a “breastaurant.” The girls wore cowboy boots, a tied button-up shirt, and a pair of denim shorts that undoubtedly required the approval of the American Gynecological Association.
The menu featured thinly-veiled double entendres such as “Nice Rack” Ribs, Ta-Ta Tacos, and Well-Stacked Nachos. Just in case the subtle entree innuendos were unable to drive the point home, all beers were served in bra cup sizes. In addition to the reasonable priced yet awkwardly-branded meals, the ranch hosted several “Biker Nights” and “Bikini Car-Washes.” There was not, regrettably, a discount for bringing in your church bulletin.

As you can imagine, such an establishment is rather polarizing in a southern Bible-belt community and my church even received a mysterious hand-labeled envelope shortly after Double D’s Ranch opened. Inside was a typed letter addressed to the “upstanding people” of our town. The letter’s authors expressed their surprise that the ranch was “inappropriate for a family to dine in” due to the waitresses’ “appalling and sexually explicit costumes” and called for a boycott. The letter was signed “concerned citizens” and included a photo of the waitresses and a copy of the menu.

I personally did have one occasion to dine there with a group of co-workers. The atmosphere was very much as one would expect and we were seated at a picnic table surrounded by plasma televisions. Soon, a raven-haired young woman materialized beside the table and made a commendable effort to appear grateful that the hostess had decided to seat the group of computer technicians in her section. Like her co-workers, she did an admirable job of ensuring that all entrees were served with a side of conspicuous cleavage.    

As one would expect, the patrons were predominately male, but there was a single table of women who appeared to be nurses from a local hospital. After being served our food, we noticed an elderly gentleman walking in with a young girl who appeared to be around 7 or 8 years old. Judging by the age difference, this was either a grandpa/granddaughter day out or I was witnessing an amber alert unfold in real time. The duo procured a table and the young girl began coloring as grandpa valiantly attempted to decode the tattoo on his waitress’s thigh. I silently contemplated how long it must have taken him to persuade her that the Double D’s Ranch would be more fun than Chuck-E-Cheese.

As it turns out, we were witnessing the death throes of the Double D’s Ranch as it would be out of business within a few weeks. Our local news interviewed a prospective waitress and the proprietor of a nearby tattoo shop who both agreed that the town’s “conservative” nature had driven the establishment out of business. The manager is being moved to Dallas and apparently the company has even offered to relocate several of the waitresses. Inexplicably, none of the local staff has agreed to abandon their lives and move 500 miles west to wait tables in an unproven chain restaurant for tips.   

Perhaps it was the conservative nature of our town or maybe the novelty had worn off and the food was too mediocre to warrant return visits. However, I suspect that the proprietor simply miscalculated our town’s interest in cowgirls. While such a theme is intrinsic in Texas, our rich Tennessean heritage demands a point of reference for our scantily-clad wait staff. A few ideas:

Davey Crockett’s Country Kitchen – Each of the waitresses would sport a raccoon-skin cap and strategically-placed leather fringes. Our signature dessert would be a brownie/ice cream combination called the Battle of the Alamode’

Appalachian Angeles Eatery – Each of the girls would feature missing teeth, diminished self-worth, and a questionable grasp of English grammar. Your only beverage options would be Mountain Dew or Mello Yellow and the entire staff would be related.

Tweakers Café – In honor of our state’s skyrocketing methamphetamine production, all meals would be cooked over a propane tank by someone with infected arm-sores and the waitresses would wear bikini-cut Penal Farm jumpsuits. Keep an eye on your jewelry!

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