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A Cook Out location in Chapel Hill could be on the horizon, per permit application


Cook Out may be coming to Chapel Hill soon. A Durham location of the fast food chain is pictured on June 10, 2022.

Chapel Hill might be welcoming its first Cook Out location at 450 S. Elliott Rd., replacing the Burger King that currently resides in the same location.

Cook Out is a Greensboro-born fast-food chain restaurant that was founded in 1989. Its signature menu items include a wide selection of milkshakes and trays, which consist of burgers, quesadillas and corn dogs.

Jacob Hunt, a current development planner for the Town of Chapel Hill, said that the application for the change of tenant from a Burger King to a Cook Out is currently under review by the Town's Building and Development Services Department.

"They'll review it against what our code requires and what North Carolina state law would require, and if they meet that, it'll be granted approval," Hunt said. "It's not really so much a decision we're making, it's just town staff enforcing town policy."

While there is no definite date for the change of tenant approval, a sign permit application for new Cook Out signs to replace the existing Burger King wall and ground signs was created on May 31 and is currently active. 

Hunt said that the new Cook Out will have a drive-through, as minimal changes will be made to the exterior of the building.

"At this point in time, there aren't any external changes to the Burger King outside of signage type," he said. "It would say Cook Out instead of Burger King. As far as the exterior goes, there are no proposed changes."

He added that the Town of Chapel Hill Building and Development Services Department will also handle any interior changes to the building.

As of now, there is no Cook Out in Chapel Hill, with the nearest location being 3199 Shannon Rd. in Durham. If the change of tenant is approved, the new location would be the first in Chapel Hill and the closest location to UNC's campus.

Rising UNC senior Alex Cáceres said he is excited about the potential new location, as he goes to the Cook Out in Durham around once a week.

Cáceres is an out-of-state student from Florida, which does not have any Cook Out locations. He said that when he is in North Carolina, he tries to "maximize the opportunity" to go to the restaurant.

"I usually get a tray with a big double burger with everything, and then the two sides I get are a cheeseburger quesadilla and a ranch chicken wrap with a Cheerwine, which is also not in Florida," Cáceres said. "So again, kind of maximizing the opportunity here."

Cáceres said that while the potential new location will be closer to him, it will not increase the number of visits he makes per week.

He added that while the new location will be more convenient, he will miss the drive to the Durham location.

"In a way, it's mixed emotions, because it's always so much fun to take the longer drive to Durham and everything because I like going on long drives," he said. "But I'm super, super happy about this Cook Out coming to Chapel Hill."

Rising UNC senior Sherry Ma said she is also excited to see a Cook Out potentially come to Chapel Hill.

"I believe that students are a major customer group whose opinions should be taken seriously,” Ma said.

Although the change of tenant from the Burger King to the Cook Out is not a decision being made by the town council, Mayor Pro Tem Karen Stegman commented positively on its potential implementation.

“I have seen a lot of excitement in the community about Cook Out coming to Chapel Hill and know it has long been a request from residents to have a Cook Out closer by,” she said.

Economic Development Officer Dwight Bassett said that though Burger King has a loyal following, it is a dated facility. 

"I think we will see much stronger sales from a new Cook Out restaurant, should they decide to build there,” he said.

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