|Cookout on High Point Road|
If you don't know what Cook-Out is then you're probably reading this from outside of North Carolina. Cook-Out is a chain of privately held restaurants that originated with a double drive-thru design back in 1989. Food at Cook-Out is served in containers, or wrappers often containing hidden patriotic (American) or religious (Judeo-Christian) messages.
- Cups: John 3:16 "God Bless America."
- French Fry Wrappers: Galatians 6:10
- Bags: "Thank you God for America." Psalms 119:16
There's even a local urban legend about how Cook-Out all began:
One dark and stormy night, at a local Wendy's restaurant in Greensboro, there was a young and perhaps arrogant young man named Jeremy Reaves who, while flipping burgers, found himself in an argument with his supervisor. During the course of the argument, the manager glibly asked the adolescent blue-collar worker in response to his disrespectful nature, "If the you think you can make a better burger why don't you go open up your own restaurant?" In anger, the Burgereur, threw off his uniform, declared "I will", and promptly walked out. In the days that followed, a small drive-thru on Randleman Road was purchased, and the phenomenon called Cook-Out was born, or so says the legend.
Burgers are better, angry.
|Steak Style Cheeseburger|
|The Cookout Plate with a side of chili.|
But there are some things about Cook-Out that have become dated, eclipsed by the newer burger shops, that Cook-Out, doesn't offer. While I will say their fries are good, and I did grow up with the "four person chili fry boat", Cook-Out's chili, while typical for the region, is less than innovative and lacking the zest our American palettes have grown to love. Cook-Out lacks a flag-ship sandwich, the fundamental, and quintessential chili burger. Yes, I know they sell a chili-burger, but compared to the competition, major chains in the U.S. that sell them, good ones in my opinion, their chili lacks the refinement of a Tommy's, a Pink's or even a Johnson's.
I also think there's a perfect opportunity for innovation. First, they need to get some vinegar packets. French fries and vinegar have become a staple in the U.S., but why not go wild, and bring Belgian fritessaus (a mayonnaise like fry dip) to the menu? It's a perfect match, similar to the many flavors of milkshakes and hamburger combinations Cook-Out provides, why not offer various sauces, or dips? It's all about the condiments these days anyway.
On the meat, consider adding a hickory smoke flavoring. Today, barbecuing is all about the designer flavors of charcoal. If you're not actually grilling the burgers, add the flavoring. Don't abandon, "Cooked Outdoors", embrace it. The menu of deliciousness is calling you Cook-Out.
And till then, I'll occasionally drop by after class, order a very inexpensive, yet wonderful Steak Style cheeseburger, and reminisce about the days when Cook-Out was the only place in town who served a good burger. Back when Greensboro seemed like the world, and gas to get there was cheaper than the food I ordered.
Morris Reaves, Owner
Jeremy Reaves, CEO
Cookout Hours are typically open around 11 a.m. and closes between 3 and 4 a.m at most locations.