Friday, August 2, 2013

Cook-Out Fires Up The Grill For Georgia Expansion

North Carolina-based Cook-Out has finally entered Georgia!

Last September I published a post questioning why neither Bojangles' nor Cook-Out, both based in North Carolina, had made inroads into Atlanta.  Recently I broke news that Bojangles' will open three new locations in Duluth, Norcross and Tucker and now Cook-Out is coming too!

Cook-Out opened their first Georgia outpost last month on Fair Road near the campus of Georgia Southern University in Statesboro.  Ironically, the space they opened in was originally a Bojangles' although it had most recently been a succession of independent eateries.

Cook-Out also has locations on the books for Athens and Augusta but has refused to disclose the exact locations. The privately held burger and milkshake eatery is known to be very secretive and their entry in Georgia is par for the course.  I contacted a Cook-Out hotline seeking opening dates and was told  "they could open in two weeks or two months." Later, it was confirmed that both locations would definitely open by the end of the year.

(In bigger Augusta news, both outdoors retailer Cabela's and natural foods grocer Whole Foods Market recently announced they will open locations in Augusta next year)

No other locations were mentioned but I would not be shocked to see new Cook-Out restaurants open in Carrollton, near the University of West Georgia or in Commerce, an area long rumored and where seemingly every fast food eatery is represented.  There's also a possibility Cook-Out could be targeting areas in the Kennesaw area, likely near Kennesaw State University or the greater Acworth area, but those are more speculative.  

(My friends over at The Carrollton Menu are sure to be first to get the deets on any opening down there so check em out if a trip to Carrollton is in your future.) 

The menu at Cook-Out consists largely of burgers, "cook-out" style hotdogs, chicken, North Carolina BBQ, fries and over 35 milkshakes.  Yearlong flavors like "Orange Push Up" and "Banana Pineapple" are among the more interesting while seasonal options like "Fresh Watermelon" (July & August) and "Fresh Egg Nog" (December) are also very popular.   

Many Cook-Out locations feature a dual drive-thru with no inside seating but outside patio seating, similar to Checkers / Rally's.  Newer Cook-Out locations, like the one in Statesboro, feature both indoor and outdoor dining along with a drive thru.

The company recently began operating its own website  Before their site was launched, they seemed content with there being at least two "fansites" devoted to the fast food eatery. The two sites, and both offer menus, locations, and an "about" section.  Interestingly both also appear to offer nutrition facts but when clicked, each displays "coming soon."  The "nc" site even has a tab for careers with a PDF with the following directions "job application should be completed and turned in to your local Cook-Out location."

A Cook-Out facebook page also exists, and has over 42,000 "likes". I was confused at first seeing so many comments having gone unanswered (a  big no-no in corporate social media) on the page, but I later discovered it was fan run.  Apparently some many patrons / would-be patrons are out of the loop.

The first Cook-Out opened in Greensboro, North Carolina in 1989 and today the chain has nearly 120 locations in North and South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee and Virginia.  Morris Reaves, Cook-Out's founder, currently owns the company, with his son Jeremy Reaves serving as CEO.  The exact location of  Cook-Out's corporate headquarters is a bit of mystery, with speculation it's located somewhere in the Greensboro area but no one seems to know definitively. 

Cook-Out, like fellow southern eatery Chick-fil-A, has religious roots and in the case of Cook-Out, you'd know this on your first visit.  For example, “John 3:16″ and “God Bless America” are printed on the cups,  ”God Bless the USA” and “Galatians 6:10″ are printed on the french fry bags.  Christian music is also played throughout locations that offer indoor seating.  Interestingly though, whereas Chick-fil-A closes on Sunday to rest, Cook-Out is a 7 day a week operation.

Are you excited to have Cook-Out in Georgia?  If you've been, what is your favorite milkshake flavor?  Where would you like to see Cook-Out open next? 

 Please share your thoughts below.  


Anonymous said...

I went to school at UNC-Chapel Hill and people rave about it up there. I've only had a shake which was delicious! Seems like they're going for college campuses? Wonder if they'll open in Atlanta

Anonymous said...

I went to Wake Forest, and we loved going to Cookout late at night! Milk shakes and hush puppies were my favorite! I am from NC, and have noticed that locations that are not near universities tend to be in low-income neighborhoods.

Anonymous said...

They have an official site. Not that hard to find either:

Anonymous said...

I used to go to college in Greensboro,NC about 15 years ago. We always went after the club. The milkshakes were great.

Anonymous said...

The location in Athens is in Oconee County right of Epps Bridge Pkwy. where Hwy.316 ends...this area is where the NEW shopping mecca is forming. The construction is almost done and should open soon.

Anonymous said...

I learned about this place from a food show on cable. Can't wait to try them out.

"Your mom goes to college" -K. Dynamite

Anonymous said...

Another burger joint... yay.

Anonymous said...

Do you have any information about Brighton Collectibles opening a store at North Point or the new Avalon,

Anonymous said...

There are plenty of Bojangles restaurants in metro Atlanta.

Anonymous said...

I totally have been to Cookout in Athens on Epps Bridge Road. It is my favorite lunch place and is always packed. I get lunch there at least once every week. They are fast, courteous and the food is tasty. LOVE the hushpuppies and the hot dog lunch and the OutWest Style Burger Combo. Cannot wait till July so I can get a Watermelon Shake. They NEED to a Cookout on the Eastside..right near the new Bojangles. :-)

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