Comfort Found at Cook-Out

One summer when I was home from college I went through serious Cook-Out withdrawals.  I mentioned it to my Mom and she immediately fired up the grill to cook some hot dogs and hamburgers.  She didn’t understand that I was not talking about having a cook out in the backyard.  I was talking about one of the best kept fast food secrets in North Carolina.

This is what a "high-end" Cook Out looks like

Cook-Out is a drive-through restaurant that began in the same town as my Alma Mater, Greensboro.  They specialize in Carolina barbecue made with Texas Pete hot sauce.  Cook-Out has all of the fast food you can imagine from chili cheese burgers to corn dogs.  This comfort food tastes even more delightful for the simple fact that a combo meal is the best value of any fast food restaurant.  An entree with two sides and a drink rounds out to about four dollars.  I’m talking about a chili cheeseburger with a side of corn dog, a side of chicken nuggets, and a drink.  Personally, I went for the barbecue sandwich with a double side of hush puppies and a Coca-Cola.  Cook-Out’s hushpuppies are to die for, and the fact that I could get a Fancy Milkshake with my combo for only a dollar more made Cook-Out my number one guilty pleasure.

The Fancy Milkshake is Cook-Out’s most famous menu item.  There are more than forty milkshake options, from Vanilla to Blueberry Cheesecake to Reeses Peanut Butter Cup, they have a milkshake for any tastebud. Their milkshakes are thick and creamy like soft serve ice cream, and run just a little over two dollars a pop.  Some locations offer a ninety-nine cent milkshake deal.  Hey, who could drive past that? No one!

While Cook Out started, and still offers the most locations in North Carolina, they have expanded to South Carolina, and most recently Richmond, Virginia.  I once again am going through withdrawals since moving to Georgia, but hopefully they will expand South in the future.  If not, it looks like I’ll have a tasty excuse to make a road trip!

Have you ever been to Cook-Out?  Drop a line with us in the comments below and tell us what you think!

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About the Author Andrea


  1. OH MY HEART PINES FOR COOK OUT. Being a Virginia native myself, it was always a treat to visit my brother during his college years at Elon. Not only to see him but we would usually make (at least) two trips to Cook Out while we were there. Now every time I go to visit the rents, a Cook Out stop is a MUST. I usually stick with the burgers, hush puppies and chocolate malt or banana fudge milkshakes. It’s become such a huge family favorite that my parents now have a list they keep in every car (yes, every car) that lists which exits off of 85 have Cook Outs, which way OFF the exit you turn and which side of the street the Cook Out is on. And now I’m hungry.

  2. Last year sometime, we got a CookOut in Johnson City, Tn.

    My life was missing a piece, and I didn’t even realize it.

    Double burger CookOut tray. Cheddar Style (bacon, cheddar, grilled onions) double order of o-rings. Cheerwine. 5.48 after tax.


    • Glad to hear that they’re expanding! If only they would make it across the GA border. Gotta get those hush puppies and peanut butter milkshake.

      Thanks for droppin’ a line Ryan

  3. big double burger tray cookout style with cheese, tray pup, tray fry, and a huge sweet tea. Someone’s smiling on North Carolina.
    try the peanut butter banana milkshake (best of 40+ choices)

  4. I was a resident in North Carolina a little over a year ago. I have recently relocated to Atlanta, Ga. where im working toward my masters. I have been doing extensive research and in the process of talking with corporate in trying to get them to expand to the Atlanta area. I love cook-out and every time I go through a fast food drive thru..i just crave cook-out even more..

  5. Cookout came to Knoxville last year, too. My college years have been and will continue to be forever changed by this glorious fast food gem.

  6. Just discovered Cook-Out last night on the way back from Charlotte to Winder, Georgia. Being originally from Kingsport, Tennessee, I’m glad they’re already in Johnson City. However, in Kingsport, we already have Pal’s and The Purple Cow representing restaurant awesomeness, so I hope Cook-Out does come to the rapidly growing 316 corridor in Georgia, as we are starved for really good fast food.

  7. Yes, I am looking for the cookout near on the north side of Atlanta like around the duluth, suwanee, cumming, apheretta areas. I traveled through NC and SC and was very upset that I could not get it in the GA area. Come on and bring it here. DELICIOUS, especially the shakes.

  8. we got a cookout here in farmville, va. it is a very amazing place with so many options to choose from you can go there for a week and eat something different every time and spend less than you would if you ate fast food anywhere else. the milkshakes are awesome too and seem to be very kind to the lactose intolerant. their sweet tea is one of my favorites and get it every time I’m there and the cajun fries are second only to five guys.

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