So, during the family's recent excursion to Tampa we decided to make a brief detour to Hogan's Beach. Hogan's Beach, for those that don't know is located on the side of the Courtney Campbell Causeway as you are entering Tampa from nearby Clearwater. Pictures were taken and I have to say, that after visiting the restaurant in my honest opinion it is actually a real place.
On the day we went we had just eating at Crabby Bills in Clearwater which was as great a dining experience as we had the entire time we were there. So, the five year old version of me reminds me wife "HEYHONEYDONTFORGETWEGOTTAGOTOTHEHULKHOGANRESTAURAUNT!" Or something like that. We pull in to what is actually the parking lot of a Best Western Hotel and I drop the wife and kid off at the front. There is a little desk that three people are corralled around and I'm thinking that one of them has to be the guy that tells you where to park. After all, I'm in an unfamiliar town and the last thing I want to do is have to tell someone that I got my car towed in the parking lot of the goddamn Hulk Hogan restaurant.
Guy stares off into space while I give up and drive the car to some secluded part of the parking lot hoping the car will still be there when we are done. Now, onto the place itself.
The hallway leading up to the actual eating area is just some random hallway in the hotel. Story goes, the previous tenants of the restauraunt space left and to retain some star rating they called upon the 24 inch pythons of Hulk Hogan. Everything here is Hogan. Boots, old ring gear, toilet seats....what's that you say? You didn't own the Hulk Hogan toilet seat when you were a kid? Well, apparently it's a signed prop from Mr. Nanny. Exactly what I want to see when I go somewhere to eat, a goddamn toilet seat in a glass case.
Despite what some of you might think from the picture above, that's not Hulk Hogan personally greeting you when you enter the establishment. Despite what your eyes may be telling you, it's actually just a sculpture of some unknown origin. I'm guessing it's melted down unsold copies of NO Holds Barred.
Another thing that's fairly strange is the amazingly long dress code. If you enlarge the picture you will see an outright shocking number of things you cannot wear. This, by the way is the namesake dining establishment of the guy who practically made do-rags a thing for some guys.
The hallway is littered with Hogan merch and memorabilia. If there's something with Hogan's name or face on it that's been produced in the last thirty years, chances are you've owned it and a copy is sitting in one of the glass cases.
One of the sad things about the place is the fact that all the belts are replicas. Every last one of them. Even sadder is that some of them have a little card next to them that say they were "Held by Hulk Hogan". Which amounts to Hogan held the box full of them as the were setting up shop. I take that back. It more than likely amounts to Hogan holding his arms at his sides while Brian Knobbs and Brutus Beefcake walked the box full of toy belts inside.
Onto the food. Seeing as how we'd already eaten not an hour before, we just settled on drinks and splitting an appetizer. For the record, the Kobe beef sliders were pretty good. The rest of the menu I can't speak for, but reviews from others have indicated that the food could use a bit of improvement. They've also got plenty of waiting, so you are in luck if you like spending long amount of time in unfamiliar locales staring off into space. One thing that caught my eye is that everything is served in plastic cups. You know what, I expect to be given a seven dollar drink in a plastic cup if I'm at a concert, but not an actual proper restaurant.
The other thing is the drink Hogan's Punch, which is probably tastes like nothing at all; but in Japan tastes like potatoes.
Yep, someone's gotta pay for Linda getting everything in the divorce right?
You'd probably assume that the decor in Hogan's Beach would be littered with Hogan crap just like the hallway right? Nope. There's not a shred of Hogan stuff inside, just red and yellow everything. For those of you hoping that this was going to be the wrestling version of Uncle Moe's Family Feedbag i'm afraid I've got some bad news.
We eat and have our drinks, and my wife graciously suggests that I should buy a shirt or something. Which I tell her the merch stand is the drizzling shits. It's literally all the same pictures of Jimmy Hart and Hulk Hogan on different designs. Not even good looking designs either...state fair airbrushing booth designs.
One last thing I decided to look at before we got the hell out of there was the car parked in the employee lot. The space had this big placard with Jimmy Hart's face on it so I cannot resist giving a quick look at the Hogan's Beach-mobile. The car looks like it's thirty goddamn years old and the top on the thing looks like ten pounds of shit stretching a five pound sack.
And I don't know why this bothered me, but if you look in the second picture that's gotta be the biggest goddamn container of Rain-X I've ever seen. I mean seriously, why does one man need that much of that stuff? Is he running a car wash on the side? And from the looks of the car, he certainly isn't using it himself.
Well, that's all from Hogan's Beach. If you want to go there, don't expect anymore than what you'd get out of visiting your area's local Mystery Spot tourist trap.