The first intro to Doumar’s I got was years ago on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives (DDD). I still remember Guy Fieri trying that limeade and chatting it up with Mr. Doumar at the waffle cone machine. The second time was when my significant other, who grew up at Ft. Monroe on the Chesapeake Bay, took me there while we were visiting his old stomping grounds near Old Dominion University (ODU). And it’s been a favorite for me for many years now.
There are those that believe Abe Doumar, the founder, created the first ice cream cone when he was inspired watching a waffle-maker at the 1904 St. Louis Exposition. He apparently bought a waffle, warm and freshly pressed, rolled it up and poof- a perfect vessel to hold ice cream! After collaborating with that waffle vendor, he brought the idea home to Eastern Virginia. Specifically to the Virginia Beach boardwalk, where he operated a stand. The Doumars even wholesaled cones in the 1920s and had a string of stands down the coast all the way to Florida!
The downside to a business on America’s east coast: potential hurricane damage. After Abe’s stand was destroyed by a hurricane, one victim of the massive devastation to the Virginia Beach boardwalk in 1933, his brother George opened what is still standing: Doumar’s Cones and BBQ on Monticello Avenue in Norfolk. And, thankfully, they still have the original waffle machine Abe built for cone-making, which is what you saw on DDD if you watched the same episode I did.
The ambience: a step back into history, diner-style with a counter and stools or tables with vinyl booths. And the food will take you back as well. For me, I crave the small, simple, and tasty burgers and mouthwatering minced-up pork served on soft buns (not doughy, dry bread) presented to you wrapped in clear paper. The limeade is sour (which I personally love but wanted to warn you!) and has just enough sweet. It glows green in an old-time ice-cream glass filled with crushed ice.
The price: beyond reasonable. In fact, the items are small and inexpensive, so we typically get two sandwiches per person. Minced pork barbecue with slaw is under $3. The go-to sauce is Eastern Carolina style. If you’ve read my review on Currituck BBQ in North Carolina, you know this is my absolute favorite. It is thin and vinegary with some spice and punch, not thick and sweet.
For burgers, you can’t go wrong since the beef is fresh, ground on site. You must get the cheeseburger. What differentiates theirs from others in addition to being fresh-ground at a “fast food” type joint? Cheese slices on both sides of the meat! My go-to is with relish and onions for optimal flavor. And the hot dogs: split on the grilltop! OMG – a great $1.80 expense. I honestly haven’t tried their other sandwiches- not living in Virginia, I don’t get there often and admit I stick to my favorites. Should we move there as we hope to, I will have more detail to add in future reviews!
Side note: they also serve breakfast sammies! Fried egg on toast with your choice of meat (if you want meat added). But then there is the ice cream! Go for a delicious waffle cone or an old-time float. You cannot miss. From cherry Coke to root beer, they’ve got you covered for the perfect retro dessert experience.
Have a group? They’ll even do trays and sell sauce by the pint.
So if you live local, are in town visiting your soldier in Norfolk, dropping your kid off at ODU down the street, driving through American history seeing the plantations and battlefields around eastern Virginia, or heading north from the Outer Banks, add a stop at Doumar’s to your to-do list.
|The Shops at Riverside|
390 Hackensack Ave, Hackensack, NJ 07601
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