Doumar's Cones & BBQ - Inventor of the World's First Ice Cream Cone
Step back in time and enjoy a treat at one of Virginia’s favorite drive-in restaurants.
I first heard of Doumar's from some clients of mine in Hampton, VA - they described it as a must-see historic landmark in Norfolk with some of the best ice cream around. So, of course, I wanted to try it!
Doumar's has been in business since 1904 and has been located on Monticello Avenue in Norfolk, VA since 1934. They have delighted diners with their ice cream cones and North Carolina-style pork barbecue since the beginning.
The diner is nostalgia at its best. When we pulled up, the big decision was whether we were going to dine inside or stay in our car for that throw-back bygone experience when the car-hop skates the food out to the car?! Only, the waitresses at Doumar's no longer roller-skate.
Since we had been on the road for three hours, we opted to dine in. It was like a step back in time walking into the 50's style diner. I loved the vintage red vinyl topped swivel seats. It's definitely not fancy, but it doesn't need to be for the casual food and cheap prices.
Norfolk, VA is known for their mermaid statues all over the city. I liked that Doumar's had their own mermaid over the bar!
The menu consists mainly of American fare, but the prices are awesomely affordable. My burger was only $2.60, fries $1.50, and milkshake was the most expensive at $3.00. Now, the portions are small, but they match the price point. I was completely satisfied with the smaller happy-meal sized portions, b/c it meant I had room for the real star of the meal - ice cream dessert!
Founder, Abe Doumar, worked at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis where the ice cream cone was first introduced to the world. The cones were selling faster than they could keep the bowls clean. Abe had the brilliant idea to purchase a waffle iron from a nearby vendor and began rolling the ice cream into a cone. Genius! The ice cream cone was born!
It was so successful, he designed a four-iron waffle machine and launched his ice cream cone business at Ocean View Amusement Park. On a single day there, they sold nearly 23,000 cones! To this date, they are still making the waffle cones the same way Abe did by hand.
Now, the Doumar’s sign boasts two large ice cream cones on either side - a reminder that Abe Doumar invented the ice cream cone.
In addition to the famous waffle cones, the diner serves legendary milkshakes. If you do get a milkshake, be sure to order it as a “Reggie” which means they’ll put pieces of ice cream cone in it :)
If cones and shakes aren’t your thing, try a refreshing limeade, made fresh with each order. It was the best limeade I have ever had!
In my opinion, I did not think the food was that great, but they did have some delicious French Fries and the vintage experience was fun.
It's certainly not where I would want to go for a delicious or intimate foodie lunch while catching up with friends - the food is secondary to the experience. The real reason to go is to get the full Doumar's vintage Americana experience and a delicious Ice Cream Cone.
Have you ever been to the famous Doumar's? Do you have a drive-in in your town?