Setting the Table
It may be fast food, but people who love the taste of Cook-Out’s burgers, barbecue, shakes and more, and its prices that blow away the competition, are packing its dining room and double drive-through since arriving in the Conway area this summer.
Morris Reaves founded the chain in 1989 in Greensboro, N.C., and by 1997 its expansion began in earnest. Reaves’ son, Jeremy Reaves, heads today the privately owned company and it has more than 120 locations in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia and Virginia.
The building style is reminiscent of a log cabin with its version of so-called “logs” inside and out plus plenty of handsome stone in the walls. Red is the prominent accent color with a smattering of sports jerseys and hunting lodge-type horns on the walls.
Booths and tables are inside, and you order at the counter as at most fast food joints and fetch your own beverages. The drive through has two lanes to keep it moving quickly, which is a good thing because Cook-Out is usually packed with customers.
Down the Hatch
From previous visits to Cook-Outs in Rock Hill, Anderson and Orangeburg, my husband and I can attest that the burgers are tasty. They have a fresh-grilled flavor.
A small burger is $1.39, and they increase incrementally in sizes and prices to the biggest, called “huge,” which is $3. Topping choices that don’t cost extra are mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, pickles, onion, lettuce, grilled onions and Cajun seasoning. Toppings that are an extra 10-to-75 cents include tomato, bacon, cheese, chili and slaw.
Char-grilled chicken sandwiches are $3.39-$4 with flavors such as barbecue style with barbecue sauce, pickles and mayo; or Cheddar style with cheese, bacon, grilled onions and mayo. The Mr. tried a spicy chicken sandwich and loved it.
Cook-Out is one of the few fast food chains known for hamburgers that also serves decent barbecue, and my Q sandwich was heartily portioned and tasty. We each had the Cook-Out Tray, which is a combo meal for $4.69 that includes two side dishes, or you can double up on one side. We tried fries, slaw, onion rings and hushpuppies and were pleased with all of them.
More food choices include hot dogs, quesadillas, chicken strips, chicken nuggets, chicken wraps, corndog and bacon wrap.
Cook-Out serves New York-style cheesecake, but the main sweet attraction is 40 flavors of milkshakes for $2.69 each. You can scratch almost any flavor itch with these shakes, including peach cobbler, chocolate nut, chocolate malt, double chocolate, banana berry, peanut butter fudge, cappuccino, caramel fudge, banana pudding and mocha.
You can substitute a milkshake for your combo meal beverage for an additional $1. Coke floats and Cheerwine floats are $1.69 each.
Our lunch of two combo meals, each with a sandwich, two sides and a soda, came to $10.36, tax inclusive. Where else in the Myrtle Beach area can you get two meals with two sides and beverages for a $10 bill and pocket change? No place that I can think of.
The food at Cook-Out is solidly respectable, especially considering the price.
Becky Billingsley serves up fresh news daily at MyrtleBeachRestaurantNews.com.