- Associated Press - Sunday, August 6, 2017

GREENWOOD, S.C. (AP) - There are 221 Cook Outs slathered across the Southeast.

The odds of running into Daniel McGaha at one are far higher than the prices listed on Cook Out’s menu, though that isn’t saying much.

McGaha has visited 103 locations, beginning in 2007 with the Cook Out in High Point, North Carolina, and most recently - and frequently - the one in Greenwood.

After a friend introduced McGaha to the popular fast-food chain one night, a hobby was born.

“We went to two more Cook Outs that weekend,” McGaha said. “We went for lunch the next day, then dinner the day after that. I was like, ‘This place is great.’”

A few hundred hushpuppies after his inaugural visit, McGaha decided he’d try to visit every one. That led him on a quest in November to visit 34 Cook Outs in 48 hours.

Full meals, too. McGaha had to get food at every one of them.

“I had 48 hushpuppies, 25 chicken nuggets and a bunch of regular fries,” he said.

He knocked out his 100th Cook Out in Wilmington, North Carolina, the 32nd location of the 48-hour tour.

McGaha, a youth and college pastor at Rice Memorial Baptist Church, said he goes to the Cook Out in Greenwood at least twice a week.

Last week was different, though, because McGaha had just gotten back from a mission trip to Nicaragua.

“This is the third time I’ve had Cook Out this week,” he said, breaking his hushpuppies in half, using them to mop up the Cajun seasoning at the bottom of the tray. “When I got back from Nicaragua, this was the first place I went.”

He remembers his senior year at North Greenville University, when he had two weeks to finish three 20-page papers.

Naturally, he turned to Cook Out.

McGaha made a habit of grabbing a chicken strip tray with hushpuppies and Cajun fries every day at 6 p.m. before going to the library. Then he’d go back to Cook Out at 2 a.m. for a dozen hushpuppies and a Cheerwine float.

“I did that every day for two weeks. I gained 15 pounds my last semester of college,” he said. “But I graduated.”

Cajun fries and Cheerwine are both staples in McGaha’s Cook Out order.

McGaha has tried nearly everything on Cook Out’s vast menu, save for the wraps: “It feels like you’re trying to be healthy at Cook Out.”

He recommends the milkshakes: “One of the best ones is the strawberry caramel-fudge cheesecake. That is incredible.”

But he loathes the cheese dog, calling it atrocious: “It is a hot dog with two cold pieces of cheese on it. And that is it.”

His next Cook Out tour will be in October when he takes on Virginia. And much like the menu that made Cook Out famous, McGaha’s trip will be all about quantity.

___

Information from: The Index-Journal, https://www.indexjournal.com


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