Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Zula's new "Girls Gone Wild" theme

"Vegas decor, and haphazard pan-world food that's even worse than a sleazy casino"

-Fearless Critic's Houston Restaurant Guide on Zula

I have been to Zula several times -- always when someone else suggested it. But I have never written about Zula because the food is uninteresting. Now, Zula is trying to generate interest in a new way.

Cleverly's Blog reports that Zula is changing to a new theme. It will involve giving guests a "Girls Gone Wild experience." "Our girls are dressing in tight uniforms (similar to Hooters) but more upper class." Plus, Zula will host "Las Vegas shows, bikini shows, model contests, fashion shows." Friday nights, no one under 21 admitted.

It seems Fearless Critic was strangely prescient when it compared Zula to a "sleazy casino."

After shuddering, then chuckling, I had three immediate reactions:

1 - An upscale Hooters is still a Hooters.

2 - I have never been to a dinner-and-show combo where the dinner was any good.

3 - When the food doesn't bring in a crowd, try sex. When sex doesn't work, try bankruptcy.

I won't be going to the newly-themed Zula (or Hooters). It's not prudism. It's not morality. It's not about the objectification of women. It has something to do with my aesthetic philosophy about food and a sense of misplaced priorities.

But I would love to hear reports from anyone who does.


UPDATE: minutes after I posted this, I found out that she eats did a post on the same subject that is more detailed and funnier than mine. ("[T]his was a serious restaurant at one time. And what they’re suggesting for their future plans has about as much “class” as the sticky floors of your local adult theatre. ") Nice work -- great site!

She eats is one of several great new blogs about Houston food. I just updated my link list in the upper right corner. Check out some of these outstanding local blogs.

Update (July 2008): All signs of the GGW theme have now disappeared from Zula's website. Perhaps this was just a bit of temporary insanity.

18 comments:

sheeats said...

Wow, thanks! I heart Food In Houston, too!

-K. :-)

raiderdav said...

"3 - When the food doesn't bring in a crowd, try sex. When sex doesn't work, try bankruptcy."

Ha - that sums it up perfectly.

Misha said...

I'd add the Cordua Group boys to your blogroll.

http://plinkoeats.blogspot.com/
http://eatlocalordie.wordpress.com/

Food blogger meetup at the new Americas when they open? That place sounds like a ton of fun.

anonymouseater said...

Misha: Food blogger meetup? Great idea!

A few years ago, the only food bloggers in town seemed to be me and quoz. Hardly anyone ever posted comments. I nearly quit more than once. But now, we are starting to have quite a discourse and a community. It's fun.

Travis said...

Wow, this is absolutely ridiculous. I can't decide if i am strangely proud or profoundly embarrassed of my beloved hometown and former place of residence. Its like having a cousin that you love to death, but they just keep showing up on Jerry Springer with hookers, transexuals, and the KKK.

issa said...

wow.. and I actually liked Zula's when i went 5 years ago.

oh and i went to feast after reading your review!

anonymouseater said...

Hey there Cousin Travis.

I'm not sure Zula's new theme is representative of Houston. Then again, maybe it is?

Surely stuff like this happens where you live, in the Bay Area. In fact, I noticed today that Lesbian Turkish Oil Wrestling is coming to San Francisco.

Plinko said...

haha! awesome observation on both parts!

unfortunately, you know the upscale hooters will do well. i mean they are totally targeting their demographic.

where has all the food gone? it surely has moved out of downtown.

what was there that is now defunct ...

laidback manor, riviera grill, bank, 17, quattro, vin, etc

Plinko said...

misha,
we're totally down for the blogger meet up!

Misha said...

Plinko: any chance we can talk you guys into a special menu of experimental dishes you are afraid to serve Woodlands residents? I'll sign up to be a willing guinea pig.

BTW, go to Orson in San Francisco. You are really going to appreciate what Elizabeth Faulkner does with desserts there.

Anonymous said...

You are absolutely right about how far Zula has fallen. Once a respected fine dining spot, the present owners have destroyed that reputation, turning it into whorehouse dinner theatre. Why don't they just change the name? These classless, tasteless restaurant pretenders should go belly up just like their other venture, Exibit Steakhouse(dead in six months) Rest in peace, Zula.

rr said...

i would like to join in this trip out to the country to visit the americas crew. i suggest we ask the "cordua boys" when a good time will be...

Cory said...

More food bloggers in the Houston landscape is a GOOD thing. Not only does it bring increased diversity of opinion but it also spreads the "find a hidden gem" net even wider.

Alison Cook and Robb Walsh are great, but there are only two of them. I've been a reader here for a while now, and K's (She Eats) is a regular stop of mine.

It's funny because food and regional wine have long been a part of my blog but it was only recently that I decided to branch out and start up a "food specific" blog as a stand alone.

Odd how things just "grow" organically without organization isn't it?

One bit of advice on a "meet-up" keep it casual, choose a place where "adult beverages" are served and make sure it's wi-fi friendly.

Gourmet is great but it makes for cruddy meeting grounds. :)

sheeats said...

Ooh, I'm totally on board for a meetup, too. As Cory said, as long as good conversation and beer and/or wine is present, so am I! :-)

Plinko said...

misha,
i am a huge fan of elizabeth faulkner! i love her cookbook.

did you see her on iron chef? she went against cora; battle honey. she pounded coras ass!! (hahaha pun intended) everything elizabeth did was amazing. she did great, cora did not compare ...

yet, like any challenger who hands down wins, always loses.

i dont know, maybe i am just bitter after our episode.

so yes. blogger meet up sounds awesome. i'll update you on our schedules.

but you, and everyone here can contact me at psandalio@yahoo.com

Misha said...

I actually had no idea who she was when I went. I just thought the menu looked interesting.

She was doing the celeb front house thing and a bit freaked out that we were taking pictures, so we had to pretend like we were chef groopies and asked her to take a picture with one of us. She seemed to calm down after that.

Orson is fantastic though. Not all the food works, but its all interesting and some of the dishes are brilliant. It's a great way to spend a night in SF.

Lesly said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jennyharrison said...

My family and I dined at Zula the other night. There was no Girls Gone Wild like I have heard from rummors and from one of the review on this website. Actually, all of the servers were males and the staff is so wonderful. I loved the decor, the food and the service. We had a wonderful time at Zula If you have not yet tried Zula for any day of the week or for the special occasions then you are missing a lot. We've been to many restaurants in Downtown of Houston but Zula is one of my best spot. I will come back and bring more friends next time.