The Sideline Observer

Sports and Culture Commentary

Good Eats Episode One : Cookout

Almost a year ago as I started my journey to begin school at the University of Alabama, I was excited for many aspects of the south. The southern hospitality, slow cooked BBQ, and gorgeous southern belles screaming roll tide had me amped to make my way south of the Mason Dixon line. However, there is one thing I found in the south that is a staple of the region : Cookout.

Cookout is a famous fast food chain in the southeastern United States. It was founded in Greensboro, North Carolina, in 1989 by Morris Reaves. The restaurant is famous for their grilled hamburgers, cheap prices, and over 40 flavors of milkshakes (step up your game Baskin Robbins).

Their signature Cookout Tray consists of an entree with two sides and a drink for just five dollars. That’s right, for the price of a bottle of water at a Baseball game, you can get enough delicious and greasy fast food to give Guy Fieri indigestion. If that doesn’t sum up the South, then I don’t know what does.

Unfortunately for my friends and I, we live in an area without a Cookout. Lucky for us, the nearest one is merely an hour drive away in Fredericksburg, Virginia, also known as America’s most historic city (I don’t know about that title).

So we headed down scenic I-95 until we reached our treasured destination. As I stepped out of the car and gazed up at the Cookout sign towering over me, I almost shed a tear at the beautiful sight.

The ambiance of the restaurant was galvanizing. I got goosebumps the second I stepped in the establishment. The design of the restaurant had a hunting theme with multiple pictures of animals on the wall. It was very different from the one in Tuscaloosa, which is decorated with Alabama football memorabilia. The store was very clean and looked fairly new.

I ordered a double burger with a chicken quesadilla, chicken wrap, and a Reeses milkshake. To call this food gas would be an understatement, it was straight diesel. The burger was made on an actual grill, and you could tell from the taste.

Despite being a measly seven total dollars, the food doesn’t taste cheap. It had high quality taste, and the side of Cookout’s signature sauce added an extra punch to the meal.

With each bite I could taste the flavors exploding in my mouth like the explosion that I knew was gonna happen in my toilet later that afternoon.

As we made the journey back to Maryland, we all had full stomachs and happy smiles. This was an incredible experience that I would recommend to anyone who calls themselves a foodie.

There is nowhere in the DMV where you can get good food at this cheap of a price, while also getting to experience a southern atmosphere. So next time you and your friends are looking to switch things up, definitely consider a trip to Fredericksburg, and to those who say that driving an hour to get fast food is not worth it, then you have clearly never tried Cookout before.

-Jake

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