Ojos Locos: The New Hooters-Esque Restaurant Created For The Latino Community

Correction 2/24/23: A previous version of this article inaccurately stated that Ojos Locos is owned by the parent company FAT brands. The article has been updated to reflect that Ojos Locos was developed by Twin Peaks restaurant founder, Randy DeWitt. 

If you've never heard of Ojos Locos — and maybe you haven't — it might be best to know that, for better or for worse, it's most frequently compared to Hooters. Regarding the latter, Hooters is something of a controversial topic in the restaurant industry. The bar food fare chain might be known for its wings as one of its key selling points, but it's really one of the other main appeals — and perhaps the most hotly debated one at that — is its waitresses.

Waitresses at Hooters, known as "Hooters Girls," are known for their uniforms. The reason? Hooters' dress code general calls for female employees to wear low-cut tank tops that focus on their chests and midriffs and low "short-shorts." (To be fair, Hooters' website says its official policy allows wait staff to choose between "traditional" uniforms or "new" uniforms.) Unsurprisingly, Hooters has come under extreme scrutiny for what many view as exploitation. In 2021,Hooters faced fire for having employees wear new shorts as part of their uniforms — shorts so low that some viewed them more as underwear than practical garments. Some have also reported racial discrimination in the workplace. Suffice it to say, Hooters certainly has gained a rather infamous reputation in the industry.

But going back to the beginning — what does this have to do with Ojos Locos? Well, everything or the very base minimum, depending on your take.

What is Ojos Locos?

At first glance, "Ojos Locos" sounds like an average Mexican restaurant or Mexican-themed restaurant. But Ojos Locos is actually very similar to Hooters. In fact, some have even called Ojos Locos the "Mexican Hooters."

Having first opened in 2010 in Dallas, Texas, Ojos Locos was developed in part by restauranter Randy DeWitt, the same owner of Twin Peaks.  As a result, many of the businesses share common traits. Ojos Locos bills itself as "not your typical Sports Cantina," but serves up everything from "made from scratch Mexican comida" and "ice cold 29º cerveza." Much like how Hooters and Twin Peaks operate, waitresses usually wear tight tank tops and low-cut shorts. Following the double-entendre theming of Hooter's name, Ojos Locos means "Crazy Eyes" in English. 

According to The Dallas Observer, Ojos Locos caters mainly to working-class men of Hispanic descent. Director of Marketing Celia Cody is even quoted as saying that Ojos Locos is a "home away from home," or meant to operate as such, for this demographic. Ojos Locos is also known for having "really low price points" around Happy Hour, which makes it even more attractive (and not to just one group). It seems that, although it's not an "authentic" Mexican restaurant, Ojos Locos is popular enough to be making a move into the Las Vegas restaurant industry.

Ojos Locos is getting its own casino

The next time you're visiting Sin City, you may have to take a pit stop at the Ojo Locos Cantina and Casino on the Strip. The casino and restaurant opened its doors on February 6 of this year, combining the sports bar atmosphere with the thrill of a Las Vegas casino. In a media preview event per the Las Vegas Review-Journal, CEO of Fifth Street Gaming Seth Schorr explained that the casino would be unique among the other Las Vegas casinos, as it would cater strongly to the Latino population through music, programming, and food. 

Casino.org tells us that this particular Ojo Locos Cantina and Casino was announced back in September 2022. The casino features up to 20,000 total feet of space for gaming, dining, and entertainment purposes, such as Mexican rodeos and food festivals. The Ojo Locos has replaced the former Lucky Club Hotel and Casino at the Hotel Jefe in North Vegas and is currently open for business.

Although Ojo Locos claims to be the only casino focused on serving the Latin community, it's not the first restaurant to open a combined restaurant and casino. Hooters also have a similar operation on Tropicana Avenue not too far from the Ojos Locos restaurant.