Recent Posts

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Greenville Eats: Cook Out

Sometimes I just want something blindingly stupid to eat, and really, what better blindingly stupid thing is there in our great country than good ol' fashioned fast food. I grew up with it and spent the better part of my last five years painfully gouging on it between equally as painful academic studies, so I certainly was looking forward to trying out Cook Out during my latest eating adventure.

I haven't had much fast food since moving to Greenville, NC (thankfully), but I finally found a craving for it the other day and decided to check out Cook Out, North Carolina's very own independent food chain. Regional fast food chains has always been a fascination of mine. Growing up in Iowa, I swam in an ocean of midwest chains, from the butter burger at Culver's to the ground beef and tenderloin monstrosities at Maid-Rites. In Columbia, South Carolina, I indulged in Zesto's fried chicken for a completely unreasonable amount of times, chowed down dozens of chicken sandwiches at Drakes Duck-In, and, well, stared at people walking into Maurice's BBQ (Cola natives will know what I'm talking about). Regional fast food chains are always a pretty neat way to learn about the locals I think, and NC's Cook Out is no exception.

I remember actually being somewhat dumbfounded at Cook Out's menu the very first time I went. Packed with everything but the kitchen sink, the menu looked like McDonalds, Burger King, Sonics, Chick Fil A, and a portion of Long John Silver's collided at an intersection and became a drive-thru restaurant. Serving everything from half pound burgers to hush puppies (!?), Cook Out certainly had one of the thickest menu's I've seen since Culver's back in the midwest.

Pining for something that would solve my fast food craving for at least a month, I went ahead and decided to shove my face in a half pound "Cook Out style" burger, which was piled with chili, coleslaw, and some mustardy onions, alongisde an obligatory order of onion rings and sweet tea. Okay, admittedly this was an absurd order by any means. Just look at the picture to the left, it's ridiculous! The burger itself was a bit on the disappointing side. It was a lot of meat, for sure, but the slaw and chili really didn't bring home any real flavor to make the burger memorable. I tried the onion ring test (take a bite, if onion runs out with the bite then you got a failure) and came away with mixed results. Some were spot on while others just ran right out. The breading was too salty as well, a frustration as memories of delicious beer-battered rings started flooding my mind. The tea of all things turned out to be the best part. Overly sweet, for sure, but unusually satisfying thanks to the crushed ice, it turned out to be a nice way to wash out all that onion ring and mile-high hamburger out of my mouth.

No Reservations, The Shakedown on Cook Out
Atmosphere: It's a drive-thru, what can I say?
Cost: Fast food glory land. $4-6 for a meal.
Try: Their milkshake brings all the boys to the club.
Don't: Go for the breaded stuff. It's generic-ville! Burgers are fine.
Better than McDonalds: Yes, but that's not hard now is it.

The Final Verdict
If you are really that darn desperate for fast food, I guess you can go to Cook Out. They've got a huge menu and a really good meal deal for $4.25 where you can get everything from corndogs to chicken quesadillas as your sides and for a small extra fee choose from over forty (I kid you not) kinds of milkshakes, including some rotating holiday specials. Personally though, in my few experiences at Cook Out I haven't been too thrilled. Their breading is a bit too salty and repetitive (good luck trying to find the difference between a chicken sandwich and onion ring), and their burger just doesn't have that "it" factor that makes me want to go back for seconds. I'll admit that Cook Out is a huge step up from the generic stuff, but as life for me goes on in Greenville, NC, I'll be forging on in search of a bigger, better bite to eat in Pirate territory.


Jenn said...

Oh snap, don't hate on CookOut!!!! ;)

I can't believe you didn't get a milkshake. That is honestly the best thing that they offer! Best food thing for me so far has been a Regular burger Cheddar Style and the corndogs.

Post a Comment