Virginia Tech students have been making a commotion about the recent opening of the fast food restaurant Cook-Out, so I decided to jump on the bandwagon and see where the extreme fascination is coming from.
When I went to check it out, the sea of satisfied customers seemed to mirror the excitement of my peers.
While the overwhelming, favorable social consensus was sure to impact my opinion of the restaurant, my less-than-positive view of fast food restaurants was sure to level the field and provide me with a more balanced perspective.
When I took a look at the menu, my immediate reaction was curiosity and utter confusion. How could a fast food joint serve premium milkshakes, hot dogs, barbecue, quesadillas and cheesecake, while still maintaining quality and integrity?
Despite the vast array of food options, there was no space on the menu for healthy alternatives such as salads or fruit. I was surprised and disappointed — but then again, this fast food restaurant is quite different from others.
Cook-Out seems to have clearly embraced its identity as a southern restaurant, which doesn’t usually involve offering healthier options.
Cook-Out’s uniqueness seems to explain its lack of conformity to the traditional fast food restaurant; after all, its locations are mainly found in North Carolina, allowing it to focus its efforts and specialties based on its target market.
As my friends and I stood dumbfounded in the line looking at the countless options, one of the employees explained the majority of the menu was made available through their trademark meal deal called the “Cook-Out Tray.”
This option allows you to choose your main item, two sides and a drink for less than $5. Now, this meal deal seemed rather ordinary to me until I saw the choices, which in a sense matched the restaurant’s eclectic identity.
While the main items included quesadillas, hot dogs, burgers and barbecue, the side items included fries, hush puppies, chicken nuggets and a quesadilla. That’s right; you can get two quesadillas as your main item, and then get another quesadilla as one of your side items. In theory, you could walk away with four tasty quesadillas and a cold drink to wash it down.