Cookout becomes new late-night hangout spot

When seeking out a place to grab a quick bite between classes this semester, students will notice changes on and off campus.

Over Summer Break, the dining industry in Murray welcomed a new restaurant called Cookout. Chargrilled burgers, hot dogs and chicken are just a few of the menu items offered.

Abby Winters, an employee at Cookout, said she was surprised at how busy the restaurant gets late at night.

“We usually get a rush around midnight,” she said.

Cookout is open until 3 a.m. on weekdays and 4 a.m. on weekends.

Cookout also offers more than 40 different flavors of milkshakes, and Winters has been mixing up her own concoctions.

“My favorite would have to be either peanut butter fudge with Reese’s or caramel-chocolate-walnut-cheesecake,” Winters said.

These combinations are available to the public at no additional cost. “The menu is pretty customizable to the customer’s needs,” she said.

Joe Conley, junior from Marion, Ill., said Cookout is a family-owned business. “It’s impossible to buy a franchise,” he said.

That hasn’t stunted the restaurant’s expansion though. Within the past year there have also been restaurants established in Clarksville, Tenn., and Frankfort, Ky.

Additional restaurant changes include the local McDonald’s being closed for remodeling.

Arielle Nussel, senior from Pickneyville, Ill., said not having a McDonald’s open wasn’t so bad over the summer.

“It’s not like I only had a few minutes between classes to grab food,” she said.

The newly renovated McDonald’s will include changes such as a double drive-thru lane to help with traffic overflow on 12th Street. These are the first renovations to the building in 40 years, and the project is expected to be completed the second week of September.

Students will have to rely on other local and chain restaurants in the meantime for food.

“I’ve been going to Sonic’s happy hour for my caffeine fix,” Nussel said.

The Willow Bistro, formerly known as Gloria’s World Village, put their new sign up Aug. 18 as the restaurant made a summer transition of it own.

The restaurant changed hands July 19. New owner Breanna Volp said it was a smooth switch.

“The past owners, Gloria and Stu Shull, were ready to retire,” she said.

Although the restaurant has a new name, customers can expect the menu to be about the same as it was previously.

Volp said the gyro was still her favorite thing on the menu.

The Willow Bistro is now serving daily specials.

The CoCo Cabana Wrap is a new item on the menu, as well as the spring rolls which are offered as an appetizer.

Said Volp: “There are more things in the works.”


Story by Mari-Alice Jasper, Contributing writer