Doumar’s, and the walls are coming down

Happy Tuesday to everyone, and to the T gang at The Altered Book Lover. My daughter and I went to a restaurant in Norfolk called Doumar’s for an authentic curbside dining experience served by a waitress with a window tray for the car. The history behind the restaurant is very interesting, I hope you’ll enjoy it:

History

At the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, Abe Doumar was struck by great inspiration. A traveling salesman, Abe spent his days selling paperweights to fair goers. One evening, he noticed that an ice cream stand had to close when they ran out of paper dishes, the primary way of selling ice cream to go. Nearby, another salesman was cooking up waffles on single-iron waffle maker and selling his creations, garnished with a dollop of whip cream.  On a whim, Abe bought a waffle, rolled it into a cone and topped it with ice cream. The result: the delicious and unforgettable combination of the warm sweetness of a fresh waffle and smooth ice cream. Abe diplomatically proposed that the ice cream vendor and waffle salesman collaborate so that the ice cream stand could continue operating. For the rest of the fair, Abe sold ice cream in the world’s first waffle cones.

An immigrant from Damascus, Syria, Abe brought over his parents and brothers to begin the family business he envisioned. With this experience at the World’s Fair in mind, Abe Doumar built the four-iron waffle machine that we still use today. In contrast to the single iron machines prevalent at the time, the four-iron machine allowed Abe to roll a waffle while three others cooked In 1905, Abe opened the first of what would become a chain of Doumar’s ice cream stands stretching from Coney Island to Jacksonville, Florida. Two years later, Abe and his brother George arrived in Norfolk to open a stand in Ocean View Amusement Park, the most popular oceanfront destination in the south until Miami Beach was constructed in 1925. The stand was launched during the 1907 Jamestown Exhibtion and soon became the most successful of all of the Doumar family’s stands, selling nearly 23,000 cones in one day alone. Eventually, Abe relocated to Norfolk because of its central location along the east coast and the rocketing success of his Ocean View stand. 

With so much work involved with managing his far-flung operation, Abe passed along the primary responsibility for the Ocean View stand to his brother George. Responding to demand, George expanded the business into wholesaling cones in the 1920s. After a hurricane in 1933 destroyed much of Ocean View Park, George Doumar reopened Doumar’s at the current location on Monticello Avenue in 1934. To keep his business running year round, George added the classic sandwiches to the menu and began the curb service that Dou’s customers still enjoy today.

After serving in World War II, George’s sons Albert and Victor returned home to help with the family business. Although business was booming throughout the 1950s, troubling times were still ahead for Doumar’s. Suburbs became increasingly popular, distancing customers from Doumar’s central, downtown location, and major chains such as McDonald’s began to put competitive pressure on smaller, family-run operations like Dou’s. Some of the Doumar clan began to leave the business in the wake of worsening business conditions. Thankfully, Doumar’s persevered through the tough 1960s and 1970s and booming success returned to the local diner.

Although the menu has expanded since 1907 to include many more family favorites, from barbecue to limeades, Doumar’s still carries on the tradition of creating handmade waffle cones and ice cream. In fact, Doumar’s waffle cones are still made with the same recipe and waffle cone machine built by Abe Doumar.

Over the past 100 years, Doumar’s has become an historic Hampton Roads landmark, known for its friendly staff, delicious food, fun atmosphere, and, of course, inventing the world’s first waffle cone. Come by and enjoy a piece of Norfolk’s history and some of the best ice cream cones and barbecue around!

What the building looks like today

If you research more you’ll learn there are several people from the world’s fair who claim to have made the first cone, but I would like to think it’s Abe since I’ve eaten several cones made on the original machine 🙂

Here is our meal: Grilled cheese and fries for me and barbecue and fries for Sarah and we both ordered Limeades to drink…and ice cream cones for dessert of course! ~ YUM!

We have started the kitchen demo and today the office wall is coming down and moving over. Here are two pictures of the work in progress:

I hope to keep crafting and blogging as my craft room is in another part of the house ~ we shall see how it goes.

The wall with the antique intercom/radio is being removed and rebuilt into the office space to make a bigger kitchen. The house was built in the 60’s and we are finally renovating the downstairs.
The wall, counter, refrigerator and pocket door are already gone in this photo. I’ll keep you posted if there is interest in the renovating progress 🙂
Every Inchie Monday: Theme = Travel

Stay well and Enjoy the week!

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Hello! I'm a 50 something wife and mother of two girls ~ I started Blogging in March of 2011 on Blogger and just converted to WordPress in Dec 2019. I started paper crafting in 1995 when I first tried embossing with powder, I was so excited and couldn't believe it was so easy to make something so beautiful. Creativeseconds was started as a way of selling secondhand craft supplies and cards on Ebay and Etsy. You will find creative cards, tags, and paper crafting projects here as well as craft room organizational ideas. Follow along with me and comments are welcomed and appreciated.

17 thoughts on “Doumar’s, and the walls are coming down

  1. Hi Karen. That was a fascinating story, thanks for sharing, and great that the original machine is still going strong. That was a real success story. Glad you had a nice meal out, too. It looks like LOT of work is coming your way with the rebuilding, and I know how much dirt and dust and extra work things like that bring.. Hope you can still go on with crafting! Happy T Day and have a great week, take care, hugs, Valerie

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That is a fascinating story. I didn’t know about this or have ever heard of this restaurant. I bet it’s fun to eat at however. I would enjoy that. And how exciting to get some rehab done on your house. Hope you’ll keep us posted with photos. Have a great T day Karen. Hugs Erika

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  3. Your lunch looks good. The story is a bit of a fable, but as you say, nice to believe along with the tales of the St.Louis Fair’s invention of the hamburger, the hot dog, peanut butter, iced tea, the club sandwich, and cotton candy. As you say, several ice cream vendors at the fair claimed to have invented the ice cream cone, which existed before but wasn’t well known. As a native of St.Louis, I’m always glad to imagine that these things are true, and I’m sure it’s good for their business!

    A very detailed treatment of the Fair and its influence on popular food was published in Serious Eats a few years ago:
    https://www.seriouseats.com/2016/01/food-history-1904-worlds-fair-st-louis.html

    be well… mae at maefood.blogspot.com

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Karen, I enjoyed the story and I remember as a kid when we dined out it was always at places like this that served a tray on your car window. we had a local homemade ice cream shop in town too-after church we always went there.
    wow big renovation-nice you can do that and stay in your home. I would love updates.
    and I love seeing your inchies too Happy T wishes Kathy

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow – what a fascinating story. I never heard about Abe Doumar or the restaurant. I’m glad to hear the restaurant is still there. Your dinner looks delicious!

    And that reno — Wow! That’s a big job. It will be fabulous, too. I can tell.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve never heard of that restaurant, but the way it’s set up it kinda reminds me of Sonic, which is a chain we see a lot here.

    That renovation -moving a wall!- sounds like quite the undertaking! Good luck with it all 🙂

    Happy T Tuesday

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow, this looks like an amazing place to eat! What an experience, I’d love to go there and how cool to have a window tray too 😉. Of course the food looks amazing, grilled cheese and fries would be perfect – so yummy! Thanks for sharing the history too. Goodness, your house is going through quite a transformation; how exciting! Loving your inchie too, the postage stamp is perfect for then travel theme 😀. Wishing you a very happy T Day! Hugs, Jo x

    Liked by 1 person

  8. What an amazing story about Doumar’s. It’s always nice to know the back story to something this iconic. And to think that original machine is still in use. The tray service reminds me of Sonic Drive-Ins, but without the amazing back story.

    Good luck with your remodel. I hope it goes well. Looks like you are not the only person doing a remodel, so I hope all goes well and you will keep us updated. Gosh, I haven’t seen a pocket door in years. I think they save so much space.

    That’s a sweet inchie, too.

    Thanks for sharing your trip to Doumar’s, your upcoming remodel, your art, and your limeades with us for T this Tuesday.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’ve heard the story but not in so much detail. Very interesting. Especially that the restaurant is still in operation.

    Good luck with the renovations! Yes, please keep us advised of the progress.

    Happy T-Day! Hugs, Eileen

    Liked by 1 person

  10. another history lover… we moved from near Annapolis to CO two years ago… fondly miss VA… That food and car hop service reminds me of growing up in Tampa, and eating on Saturdays at the Goody Goody. The best ever burgers, fries and shakes… LeeAnna

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Wow great history lesson. My daughter and her husband are stationed in VA right now I will have to ask her how far of a drive this would be for them to check this place out . Ohhh nothing like getting a new kitchen. Enjoy your evening.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. What a fun restaurant to get to go to. I’m interested in seeing progress photos for your kitchen demolition / recreate project. I love that airplane stamp. Happy Belated T-Day!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. How interesting! A lovely bit of american culture/history. I really enjoyed reading about Doumar. It is the ‘American Dream’. I would have liked to see your waffle cone as I have no idea what that would look like. OK I’ll google it later on.
    I also liked the tray in the car door. Fantastic. I suppose you eat your meal in the car and then return the tray when you drive out. What an experience! Thank you for sharing!
    Kitchen renovation! How exciting! Keep up up to date with that. I love kitchen renovations (without the mess, grin)
    Great little inchie!
    Happy belated T-Day,
    Hugs,
    Lisca

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Dou’s looks like a fun place, and I enjoyed the history. My house was built in the early 1960s and had the same pine cabinets with black metal handles! Happy T Day!

    Liked by 1 person

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