Atlas Obscura is organizing trips! Join us on an adventure »
Today Only: 50% off Atlas Obscura books and calendars at Barnes & Noble »

Norfolk, Virginia

Doumar's Barbecue

Iconic, old-fashioned carhop restaurant that gave the world the waffle cone. 

Thanks to Abe Doumar’s ingenious invention of his original waffle cone machine, every day can be ice cream day.

The drive-in at Doumar’s has been a touchstone of family life for generations living in Norfolk, Virginia. With pit cooked Carolina-style barbecue, burgers, and shakes delivered car-side since 1933, it ranks among the most quintessentially American dining experiences left in our modern world.  But strangely enough, the item this iconic restaurant is most known for isn’t even touted on its old-timey sign.

After wooing the masses with his unique invention at the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904, Abe Doumar brought the world’s first ice cream cone rolling machine home and set up a chain of ice cream shops along the East Coast. It took a devastating storm that toppled the most successful outpost at Ocean View Amusement Park, before the family relocated their business to the current Granby Street location everyone knows today simply as “Doumar’s.”

Ever since, adults and children alike have lined up to enjoy Doumar’s shakes, sundaes, and cones crafted in exactly the same fashion the kids’ parents and grandparents remember. Still very much a drive-in, carhop at its core, fair weathered days find the waffle machine parked outside the diner, allowing families to witness the magic from the comfort of their car. 

For the true ice cream aficionado, late mornings are prime time for catching Albert Doumar using the original waffle cone machine to make the day’s cones.

Know Before You Go

Open Monday-Thursday 8-11pm, Friday and Saturday from 8-12:30. Closed Sundays. There's both parking and covered drive in areas on the lot.