Cook Out – Haynes Bridge

Haynes Bridge Road between GA-400 and downtown has been a graveyard for restaurants over the years. The only real success has been Village Tavern. The Varsity has been there but for the life of me I can’t figure out why it’s still open. No one is ever there and the food is terrible. It’s cheap eats, plain burgers, chili dogs and onion rings. Maybe it’s there because there’s really no other option.

CookOutRestaurantWell, the fat lady may be warming up for the Varsity since Cook Out opened nearly next door a few months ago. We have a new king for cheap eats in Alpharetta, and you know what? The food’s actually pretty good.

We went to Cook Out about a week after it opened, and it was a madhouse. All the tables were full, the line was out the door and the staff was scrambling to keep up with demand. People were going crazy!

Burgers, chicken breasts, sandwiches, hot dogs and wraps are the main items. It’s basic stuff but everything I’ve had has been done well. The chili dogs kick the stuffing out of the Varsity’s. The burgers have a smokey grilled flavor like you’d get at a, you know, cook out.

The fries are nothing special but you’re not stuck with them as the only option for side items. Onion rings, fried okra, hush puppies and slaw round out an impressive list. The onion rings were most likely not freshly prepared but weren’t bad. My favorite side is the bacon wrap. It’s bacon, cheese, lettuce and a ranch sauce wrapped in a flour tortilla. Yeah, it tastes better than you can imagine.

Cook Out has only one combo on the menu. It’s called the Cook Out Tray and is declared the “Best Combo in Alpharetta”. I have to say, it’s hard to argue. Choose a main entree, two sides and a drink or Coke float. All of that food costs a whopping five bucks. It really is the best combo in Alpharetta.

In fact, everything on the menu is crazy cheap. Five chicken nuggets for 99 cents, chicken wraps for $1.79, hot dogs for 99 cents, chili cheese fries for $1.85. Heck, the most expensive burger is the “huge” burger for $3.39. The food I’ve had has not reflected the prices. It’s all been pretty good. And with those prices, that’s a deadly combination.

Save room for a milkshake. I recommend the fresh peanut butter. It took me twenty minutes to get a taste up through the straw, it’s that thick and creamy.

One more item that’s at Cook Out that isn’t found in a lot of other places is Cheerwine. Cook Out is a chain that’s based in North Carolina, the home base of Cheerwine. It’s a really good cherry flavored soda. Give it a try.

And Cook Out is open late! It’s the perfect late night grub alternative to Waffle House. I’ve seen people eating there at midnight on a weeknight. What was I doing there? Milkshake cravings, man. You can’t fight em.

The combination of decent food, insane prices and long hours have made Cook Out the champion of cheap eats in Alpharetta. Your days are numbered, Varsity. Whaddya have, whaddya have, whaddya have? I’ll have Cook Out, thanks.

13 comments on this post.
  1. The UniBaller:

    Totally agree with you: Cook-Out may put the nail in the coffin of the Varsity’s Alpharetta location.

  2. Travis Allen:

    Ugh…the Varsity…although I do have a weakness for their fried peach pies and onion rings. They’re about the only onion rings I’ll eat, although it’s really hit and miss. Given their price increases on everything else, I don’t know how they manage.

    Grouchy’s has done well in that area. I’m not sure what happened with Backyard Burgers, the entire chain went belly up except for one lasting location in Cumming. Wonder what happened there?

  3. Ben:

    in a world full of healthy gluten free nonsense this is so welcome.

    I was so glad to see a restaurant go in the other direction. What a wonderful. I appreciate the attitude of the employee’s and the uplifting music they play. From the time you order until you get your food, it’s pretty expeditious.

    A little Cookout and the “Jim Gilvin Fountain” in downtown Alpharetta makes for a great Saturday at lunchtime.

  4. Greg:

    I’m glad Cook Out is good, but you’re naïve to think people eat at the Varsity because it’s cheap. The Varsity is a lot like Krystal – you go there because you had it in college, or as a kid, or you’re from out of town, or maybe because it’s the only place you can get an FO. I just happened to be there at lunch today (with people from out of town), and they’re doing a fine business. I don’t go to the Varsity often, but when I do, Cook Out is only one of about a dozen cheap places I pass by to get there.

  5. A:

    Is this in the old Backyard Burger building?

  6. Jeff:

    Ahh…the Varsity, a restaurant everyone seems to hate but I wished I owned…..they might as well just print money in the back room instead of slicing onions. They do have great chocolate shakes.

    I have only had a shake from Cook Out and it was equally as good as the Varsity. I will be trying Cook Out one day when I can decide to make that move over going to Scratch.

  7. Raj:

    Steak N’Shake seems to get no respect around here, but they check all the boxes. Cheap, have milkshakes to die for, and open 24 hours. I like their food, and like their prices even better. If that $5 combo is too rich for you, SnS has a bunch of them for $4, and kids eat free on the weekend, so you are practically stealing food.

  8. Scott:

    Very handy after a concert at Verizon. Checked it out last weekend. Really pleasantly surprised. Enjoyed it all.

  9. Grant Goggans:

    With me, the Varsity still gets some points for offering pimento cheese. A glorified with pimento cheese is one of my favorite burgers in town. Should Cook Out add that as an option, however, I don’t know that I’ll ever need to darken the V’s door again.

  10. Stacey Mueller:

    Hushpuppies in Alpharetta? Yes please!

  11. Dan Stryker:

    Cookout: Burgers were excellent! Bacon wrap side good. Other sides are meh… Shakes are not shakes, it was soft serve ice cream in a cup. Impossible to drink with a straw…

  12. gnd:

    I agree with Raj about Steak n’ Shake. Good food, good prices, and even better prices with coupons widely available. However my one pet peeve about Sn’S is the Service. Really not that great to begin with. I hate that it is a “sit down and order” place as opposed to a walk up and order and wait for your food. The good price is actually lost on the xtra 15-20% tip. I really see no reason to pay tip on what is essentially fast food. Don’t get me wrong. I do tip when I go there, but I don’t like it. My inexpensive meal is not so inexpensive anymore.

  13. Cool Papa Bell:

    “Haynes Bridge Road between GA-400 and downtown has been a graveyard for restaurants over the years.” Huh? Actually it’s been a haven for abject mediocrity to prosper:

    Grouchy’s
    Thai Thai
    Alpha Sode
    Rising Roll (yes they rebranded a few years back for franchising purposes, but been there for years)
    Bagel Boys
    Habachi Express
    Locos Deli
    Mellow Mushroom

    Yes, all are forgettable and all seem to thrive. Yet another mediocre burger chain picked the perfect spot.

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