Now, I don’t even pretend to be a Guy Fieri who knows every drive-in, diner, and dive across America and where to get the best milkshakes. But I do know a GOOD milkshake, if I say so myself.
I grew up in small towns where you drove up to a tiny little building and then walked up to the window (usually with screens) to order a cone, a hot dog, some fries, or a milkshake. Now you only see those little places in the movies, I guess, or at the Freezo right here in Knoxville. But they’re definitely vanishing from America’s landscape.
My dad loved milkshakes, so he would drive my mom and me to the Dairy Queen and place his order: Three milkshakes, please. Then he’d walk back to the car, and we’d sip away quietly. At least ’til we hit bottom. And then we all announced The End with that hollowed-out noise that only comes when you suck the last drops into an otherwise empty straw.
When the second daughter arrived, Dad announced that he would be ordering four milkshakes pretty soon. Later, he proudly said it would be five, then six, then seven, since I’m the oldest of five girls, all of whom like milkshakes — or at least they did when they were young. Best invention, according to my dad, was that cardboard 6-hole carrying container that transported all but one of the frothy shakes to our Chevy station wagon, leaving just one trip back to the window for my dad who said he was doing all this just for us. We knew better.
So I thought of my dad and those good family times when my husband said, You wanna try a milkshake at Cook-Out? There’s one on Cumberland. Now how could I refuse?
Verdict: Cook-Out has delicious milkshakes. I can say that from my years of family indulgences and fully trained tastebuds. Of course, others nearby that I’ve written about like Bruster’s and Tic Toc do, too, but Cook-Out probably has everyone beat when it comes to choices.
Just look at this. More milkshake flavors than — well, just about anybody! But there’s another thing. If you can imagine it, they say they can blend it right up — your very own concoction.
Two servers, Jacob and Ashton filled us in on Cook-Out, a privately owned chain of restaurants in North Carolina, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Virginia.
What we like, they said, is how fresh the milkshakes are.
They explained that the richest, best ice cream is blended, dated, and stored in cups for a only a brief time. There’s a time stamp handwritten on the bottom of each cup to guarantee freshness. Then they add refreshing ingredients like bananas, strawberries, pineapple — even watermelon in July and August — to the shakes when ordered. And, they added, if you don’t see what you want on the list, you can ask us to make a different combo!
Cook-Out serves food, too, “cooked outdoors style” — like char-grilled hamburgers, hot dogs, and chicken breasts — as well as barbecue, BLTs, and sides of slaw. And it’s one of the few places in Knoxville that has Cheerwine Floats on the menu!
At Ashton‘s suggestion, I ordered a Peanut Butter Shake — one of two best sellers: Peanut Butter and Oreo! Bert ordered Snickers. We agreed: rich ingredients, quality ice cream.
I have a technique down pat after all these years of “milkshaking.” First, I dig the spoon in for a medium bite of the creamy cold goodness. Then I squish it between my tongue and the roof of my mouth — ever so slowly — to avoid the inevitable brain freeze. I continue with bigger and bigger spoonfuls until I notice that at least some of the shake has started to melt. At that point, I poke in my straw and commence the sipping/slurping process. (Some things your dad teaches you, you never forget!)
So, check out this unofficial website (The company doesn’t have its own up and running yet) to find a Cook-Out in your area. You, too, can enjoy shakes from Labor Day all the way through football season.
And one more thing — you’ll only hear Christian music at Cook-Out: owner preference. Certainly didn’t make a difference to us — we enjoy milkshakes no matter what’s playing in the background!
So, what will it be? Chocolate malt . . . heath toffee . . . strawberry cheesecake . . . cappuccino . . . blueberry . . .
Knoxville Locations: 2135 Cumberland Avenue and 6920 Kingston Pike
Corporate Office: 1-866-547-0011
Unofficial Website: http://www.cookoutnc.com
Been to Cook-Out? Got a favorite milkshake flavor? Leave us a comment. We may try yours next time! Or, if you’ve got another place you love, please share. What’s not to like about a great shake on a hot afternoon?!
<a href=”http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/68/1613353/restaurant/Fort-Sanders/Cook-Out-Knoxville”><img alt=”Cook Out on Urbanspoon” src=”http://www.urbanspoon.com/b/link/1613353/minilink.gif” style=”border:none;padding:0px;width:130px;height:36px” /></a>