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Cook-Out may be coming to Hampton

Jordan Crawford | 12/12/2013, 9:58 a.m.

Hampton residents will no longer have to make the lengthy trek up Interstate 64 to satisfy their craving for Cook-Out’s tasty barbecue. Officials from the North Carolina-based restaurant are eyeing a site along Mercury Boulevard in Coliseum Central.

The company purchased the property — now occupied by the Dog House — in July and is now working its way through the city’s approval process.

Cook-Out’s representatives received a Board of Zoning Appeals variance last Monday allowing it to include additional signs in its plans, which call for two drive-thru lanes and no indoor seating.

Cook-Out specializes in burgers, hot dogs, chicken and North Carolina-style barbecue, and offers 50 different flavors of milkshakes.

A franchise opened in March 2012 along Jefferson Avenue in Newport News. Police were forced to direct traffic in the first few weeks after that location opened.

Cook-Out can keep customers’ vehicles from spilling onto the roadway if it is built at 1025 W. Mercury Blvd., said Chris Clayton of Commercial Cite Design PLLC, who was representing Cook-Out.

“What we’re trying to do is get people in and then out of the property,” Clayton said.

Before anything happens on the site, the city will need to approve Cook-Out’s site plan and construction documents as well as issue land-distributing, building, and right-of-way permits, Hampton Community Development Deputy Director Steve Shapiro said.

The restaurant’s owner, Tidewater Realty & Security Corp., purchased the property in late July, according to property records.

The existing A-frame building has been standing since 1968. Cook-Out plans to demolish the structure and build a new 1,600-square-foot building, said Rob Heavner, representing the new owner.

Heavner is employed by Yorktown-based Retail Advisors.

The Dog House, which also serves barbeque sandwiches, sausages and hot links, often draws enough cars during lunchtime to back up traffic on West Mercury Boulevard. It has proven to be popular among diners, receiving an 88 percent approval rating on Urbanspoon.com and 4.5 out of 5 stars on Yelp.com.

Cook-Out has close to 120 chains in North Carolina, Tennessee, South Carolina, Virginia and Georgia. In Hampton Roads, the diner also has locations in Norfolk, Chesapeake and Portsmouth.