The Town of Chapel Hill may be welcoming its first Cook Out location as early as this Friday, Sept. 9, according to restaurant officials. It will be located in an old Burger King restaurant building on 450 S Elliott Rd. in the same lot as the Elliott Square shopping center.
Cook Out is a family-owned restaurant chain that was founded in Greensboro, N.C. in 1989. It offers an extensive milkshake menu alongside fast food items like cajun fries, burgers, hot dogs and quesadillas.
Regional Manager Claudia Farr said that while her team can’t be sure exactly when the restaurant will be open to the public, she is excited that the new space will be ready soon.
“We’ve been wanting to open in Chapel Hill for a long time,” Farr said. “And this (location) became available, so we feel very grateful that we were able to obtain it.”
According to the restaurant’s building permit, the majority of work to be done to the existing structure involves remodeling the kitchen area and replacing equipment. As of Tuesday, there was still ongoing construction within the restaurant’s kitchen.
Farr said the construction and preparation phase of the project has only been going on for the last 50 days or so, and noted that she was impressed by the construction team.
“Everybody’s got to work together," Farr said. "But it’s been going really well.”
Sophie Guo, a statistics major at UNC, said she was looking forward to getting a Cook Out closer to campus. She also mentioned the affordability of Cook Out’s menu, which offers trays for under $6.
“Especially coming from out of state, I don’t have a Cook Out where I live, which is in New York,” she said. “I’m about to try it more.”
Caroline Bailey, a political science major at UNC, shared Guo's excitement about the town’s first Cook Out.
“All my friends and I were talking about how sad it was that Chapel Hill doesn’t have one,” Bailey said. “So we’re excited that one’s going to be coming to Chapel Hill.”
Bailey mentioned that she’d been to the nearest Cook Out to campus, located on Shannon Road in Durham, but said the location can be hard to access for students.
Chapel Hill’s Cook Out will stand inside the Town’s Blue Hill District, an area that encompasses the area’s older shopping centers, including Eastgate Crossing and Village Plaza.
According to the Town, zoning for the district is mixed-use and expands on the Town’s 2020 community goals. The vision for the district centers on walkability, with the inclusion of "upper story residences and offices, bike paths and sidewalk cafes."
Certificates of occupancy and compliance, which certify that a new business is following Chapel Hill’s safety and construction codes, were granted to the location by the Town last Friday, Sept. 2.
According to the building permit, the Chapel Hill location will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 a.m. daily. It will also feature both dine-in and drive-through services.
Farr said she anticipates the location to be busy, especially during the later hours — when people look for cheap, convenient food options.
“We just want to be great neighbors and a great place for everybody to come and have an inexpensive meal," Farr said.
While the restaurant currently has employees training at other stores, Farr said she would love to see more people interested in working. However, she added that she feels confident that the current amount of staff will work for the location's upcoming opening.
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