Twin Peaks opens near OU, campus opinions differ

Photo+courtesy+of+Detroit+Metro+Times

Photo courtesy of Detroit Metro Times

Sierra Okoniewski, Features Reporter

It’s too soon to tell if the newly opened sports bar near Oakland University will prove to be a slippery slope. Twin Peaks offers its diners top-notch food and “scenic views” but the restaurant isn’t referring to the backwoods taxidermy. 

The franchise opened its Auburn Hills, Michigan location in April of 2022, directly across the street from OU. In addition to its Twin Peaks Girls, the brand boasts a scratch-made menu and signature 29-degree draft beers.

The lodge-themed restaurant model was founded by Randy DeWitt in 2005. It has since grown from its first location in Lewisville, Texas to include 87 brick-and-mortar eateries across the country with a super-sexualized waitstaff as its main attraction.

A job posting for the restaurant reveals the ideal prototype for their front-of-house staff, which includes both physical and behavioral requirements.

“The essence of the Twin Peaks Girl is based on female sex appeal,” the posting said. “[It] encompasses her knowledge of sports, food, beverages, having [an] energetic personality and her ability to meet and maintain the Twin Peaks Image and Costume Guidelines.”

A glance inside any Twin Peaks restaurant reveals the branding image they refer to. The waitresses are required to wear deep V-neck crop tops, push-up bras and skin-tight jean shorts. A rhinestone belt completes the look in case a customer’s eyes weren’t already drawn to their server’s exposed stomach. 

Students and campus staff are divided on the new development and hold differing opinions on the ethical implications of the establishment.

“I just would have liked something else to have gone in place instead,” OU student Andrew Glaza said. “In terms of objectifying women in that way, I just don’t think that’s really classy.” 

Lexie Farrer, a young staff member at OU’s Meadow Brook Theatre, regards the situation with more leniency. 

“I love a Twin Peaks,” Farrer said. “I like themed restaurants everyone dresses like a lumberjack and that’s fun to me. Most people’s thing is the sexism in it, and waitresses being ogled is a big concern. Putting that near a college campus does feel a little bit icky, but if you’re having fun and you consent to being there and working there, I don’t see the harm.”

A study by the Journal of Economic Psychology found that physically attractive servers make approximately $1,261 more in tips per year than servers deemed less attractive. For college-aged women looking to pad their wallets, working at Twin Peaks might prove to be the ultimate chance to do so. 

“It’s understanding respect,” Meadow Brook Theatre employee Mikey Vultaggio said. “I think it’s a good opportunity.”

Sophia Peyser, an English major from Manhattan, New York, disagrees. After a similar restaurant concept made its debut near her campus, she authored an article for The Emory Wheel condemning the venture. 

“Direct your money to organizations that are owned by women instead of ones that view their bodies as money-making tools,” Peyser wrote. “Stop spending money on corporations that profit from peoples’ bodies all together. Next time you want wings, get them without the side of female exploitation.” 

The ways in which Auburn Hills’ shiniest new sports bar will affect OU’s campus culture remains to be seen. If its consistently jam-packed parking lot is any indication, the location and eye-catching waitstaff has already found overwhelming success. 

“Our Twin Peaks Girls are the essential ingredient to the perfect lodge experience,” the franchise website confirms. “They are the beautiful faces that represent the brand and the reason our customers consistently come back for more.”