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Naughty nurses, ninjas bring your food

By Sara Bonisteel, Special to CNN
Heart Attack Grill's naughty nurses deliver delicious treats.
Heart Attack Grill's naughty nurses deliver delicious treats.
  • Some restaurants dish up plenty of taste and the sight of their servers in wild costumes
  • An assassin might serve you at Ninja New York, or Captain Orion at Mars 2112
  • Wenches work in Medieval Times, while naughty nurses serve at Heart Attack Grill

(CNN) -- Diners flock to restaurants for the food, but they sometimes return for the eye candy.

Many restaurants have swapped the utilitarian server uniform of television's "Alice" for khaki pants, polo shirts and, on occasion, pin-on "flair." But some have upped the ante with '50s poodle skirts, German dirndls and hula skirts.

Chicagoans have their retro-kitschy clad Ed Debevic's servers, and Las Vegas visitors gawk at Playboy Club waitresses in Roberto Cavalli's reimagined Bunny suits at the Palms.

The following eight restaurants have used wacky wardrobes to stretch their theme. Whether they're conjuring another era, an exotic locale or just accentuating a body part, these outrageously clad waiters and waitresses have long kept diners feasting with their eyes.

Barbershop quartet singers at Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour Restaurants

Once wildly popular in the malls of the Midwest, Farrell's relived the Gay '90s with a staff dressed in vests, shirt garters and Styrofoam "straw" hats. While Farrell's all but disappeared from America in the past decade, it staged a comeback in 2009 and now has four parlors in California and Hawaii.

Aliens at Mars 2112

New York's Mars 2112 takes diners on an out-of-this-world journey to -- you guessed it -- Mars. Empress Glorianna, Captain Orion and QTP are among the Martian characters delivering space-themed hijinks along with Mars-tinis and Promethean Pork Chops in this cavernous outpost near New York's Times Square.

Stripers at Hot Dog on a Stick

Retro is all the rage at Hot Dog on a Stick, where the red, white, blue and yellow striped hats are nearly the same as when the company launched as a beach-side lemonade stand in Santa Monica, California, in 1946.

The vertical stripe look is so iconic, it served as a disguise for undercover angels Lucy Liu and Drew Barrymore in 2003's "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle."

Assassins at Ninja New York

Ninjas do the serving at the Japanese concept restaurant Ninja New York. But considering these martial artists were renowned for their silent and deadly poisoning skills, it seems a counterintuitive choice for waitstaff attire.

Sexy nurses at Heart Attack Grill

If the cholesterol-laden fare doesn't bring you to your knees at the Heart Attack Grill, the servers' uniforms just might. Ultra-skimpy nurse outfits are the costume of choice for waitresses at this restaurant. With outposts in Arizona and Florida, the obese eat free. (No joke; weigh more than 350 pounds, and you'll get a free meal.)

Wenches at Medieval Times

There are no "waitresses" at Medieval Times. Instead, spit-roasted chicken and cider are delivered by 11th-century wenches in outfits that would be right at home in an episode of "Xena: Warrior Princess."

Sunbathers at Cowgirl Espresso

At Seattle's Cowgirl Espresso, you can get your half-caff skinny latte from an even slimmer barista wearing a barely there getup. Theme days at these bikini coffee stands include School Girl Thursdays, Fantasy Fridays and Military Mondays, ensuring these coffee chicks keep things piping hot.

Asset enhancers at aka hot pants and tight T's; Hooters

Any costumed-server roundup would be remiss if it didn't acknowledge a chain that hinged an entire business model on orange hot pants. People say they patronize Hooters for the wings, but everyone knows they flock there for the servers' tight T-shirts, orange short shorts and Spandex hose.

They even expanded the model for a brief time to 30,000 feet, with the short-lived Hooters Air. Delightfully tacky, as their motto goes, yet unrefined.