Well, I think that there are many types of Maid Cafes around. Personally, when I was in Japan, my mother warned me about not getting into them as me being a 'gaijin' and by that easily trickable by yakuza/other conmen (I think she had heard many things about them that were not true at the place she worked, though there are places where you can lose your money - as in any place in life).
Well, since I was out there in Akiba with a friend, I decided to go and look at a Maid Cafe. Many new Cafes were being opened at the time (countless 'maids' handing out discount coupons flocking around Akiba), but I decided to go safe and bought an "Akiba Walker". After looking for 10 minutes I decided to go to Cure Maid Cafe (clicky). First I'd say that as a whole 'cosplay/goshujinsama'- experience it was maybe a bit disappointing, as there was no fanservice at all (the girls were cute, though). But what made it all good was the food, it was well served and it was good. Also I liked the decorations around and felt like a usually normal person, even though the people next to me talked loudly about the newest Gundams and how their storylines have changed into worse through the years (^_^;). And it didn't cost me as much as in a place where they have 'fanservice'. It's almost like going into a famires with cute girls in maid uniform and a two-hour queue (yes we did stand and wait for that much to get in), you can even get a customer point card (which I now keep always in my wallet).
Therefore we have many types of Maid Cafe, the ones that cost as much as 5000 yen per an hour and give you all those 'features' like cosplay and purikura etc etc with fake emotions and that 'Irasshaimase, Goshujin-sama' (My non-intelligent comment: 萌え～～). I wouldn't go calling them like 'Hooters', since it's "a bit" more than 'Hooters' in America as being something not only to turn men on. Then there are the ones that serve food well and give you only the maid 'feeling'. I can't say which one is better, but as I don't have much money to use, I'd go for the second one.
As for some being near where I live now: Two words - no chance, the concept has so many factors tied into Japan that I can't see it being the same all around the world.