Cooler hacks: tips & tricks

We’ve all been there: you’re tired of your go-to Tiger Cooler order and the thought of dry carrot sticks and a corndog just doesn’t do it for you.Just wait, because I, self-proclaimed Barefoot Contessa della Cooler, have some seasoning salt to spice up your boring food routine. Follow these simple tips to turn that bland Boca into a gourmet cuisine that satisfies even the most intense foodies of Occidental quicker than you can say, if you’re not getting sushi, I can help you over here.

Vegan vs. Boca Burger

The Cooler has different patties for the Boca burger and the vegan burger.The vegan burger, a Malibu garden burger, has more whole veggies, while theBoca is more imitation meat. I highly recommend the vegan burger. Portobello burgers and soy chicken are also options while we are on the veggie topic.


I cannot even begin to explain how crucial this is. Our sauces include: BBQ, teriyaki, vegan chipotle mayo and pesto mayo. If you find yourself lost in the sauce, particularly with rice orders, ask for that sauce on the side — it practically triples your sauce amount.

Secret Sauce

Mixing the vegan chipotle with ketchup at a 50/50 ratio will get you something very similar to Zaxby’s signature sauce minus some garlic salt. Hot take: mustard is better than the overpowering condiment of ketchup. Adding and mixing the vegan chipotle mayo into all your orders will instantly give your order that next level that will keep you from getting chopped.

Pizza and Burger Toppings

Your calzone and pizza game depend on it. Pizza station toppings include: pizza sauce, olive oil, onions, peppers, mushrooms, olives, tomatoes, jalapeños, spinach, pineapple, basil and garlic. Garlic is key in most situations. For burgers: lettuce, tomatoes, onions, grilled onions, avocado and pickles. Burgers automatically come with lettuce, tomato and onions.Unfortunately, The Cooler won’t allow pizza toppings to be used for grill orders.

Calzones Over Pizza

You can order calzones with any number of the pizza toppings, including soy cheese. If you order more than three toppings, I suggest getting extra marinara on the side so it isn’t too dry. After you’ve ordered and you’re on the highway to the calzone zone, try dipping it in mustard, extra marinara or vegan chipotle.

Dairy-free pizza

Lay off the soy cheese on vegan pizza and you’ll be surprised how much better your “za” tastes already. Don’t skip out on the soy cheese in your calzone, though.


Always put seasoning salt on your fries.

Ice Cream

The people at the counter, if asked politely, will put chocolate syrup on your ice cream.


Your packaged salad is far too packed to actually mix the dressing with it.Get a pizza plate above the self-serving bar and pop her out. There is no time to play like you can actually toss that salad in its original packaging.

If you’re torn between wanting a salad but also a meat or meat alternative, order a Heart Healthy with steak, chicken, soy chicken or salmon. Served on a pizza plate, your protein selection is then paired with a serving of assorted fruit and a side salad.

Toast Your Bread

Sourdough and wheat bread are begging to be toasted. Try a soy chicken or chicken sandwich on toasted sourdough with lettuce, tomato, vegan chipotle/mayo and cheese of your choice.

Vegan Milkshakes

The piña colada and cappuccino mixes for smoothies are not vegan-friendly, but any of the other smoothies without yogurt are. Try getting a milkshake with the sorbet.

Don’t Skip on the Drink Counter

There is more variety than you think. Try a root beer float or The Cooler’s equivalent to sparkling drinks at the Green Bean: Italian sodas.

Burger Hacks

Burgers taste better with vegan chipotle. Try ordering your burger with the”Henry Special.” The Henry Special adds BBQ sauce, bacon and onion rings between your buns. Alternatively, substitute your boring onions for caramelized grilled onions or add bacon/avocado.

Makayla’s Favorite Burger

Try my favorite burger order: vegan burger on a plain bun with grilled onions, pickles, vegan chipotle and mustard. Add a side of seasoned fries.

Makayla’s Favorite Rice Dish

Try soy chicken on rice with veggies and grilled onions. Get vegan chipotle and teriyaki on the side.Photo by Gutierrez Gonzalez

The Hack of All Hacks

You can order rice with any meat. On top of your meat or by itself, you can opt to add veggies from the veggie Philly to the rice: just say “with veggies”and the cashier will know to add the Philly without the provolone to your order. To get more veggies in there, I recommend adding the grilled onions or even the onion rings to your rice — the crunch of the onion rings is surprisingly delicious when paired with teriyaki and rice. To top it off, ask for the teriyaki sauce on the side. My signature move is always getting vegan chipotle on the side of my rice dishes. The teriyaki/chipotle combo will blow your mind. I’ve never met someone who has tried that dish and didn’t like it.

Written by Makayla Keasler

Photo by Gutierrez Gonzalez

Design by Yinbo Gao

The Occidental Weekly

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