May 15, 2014

Mr. Ice Cream has Passed On

Albert Doumar passed away yesterday at 92


 His father, Abraham Doumar, a Lebanese immigrant, set up a snack stand at the St Louis Exposition. There he ran out of cups for his ice cream but extemporized a work around using waffles wrapped into cones as edible containers. This was a spectacular success and Doumar made enough money there to set up a buisness in Norfolk in 1905. After refining the concept of the edible ice cream container into something slightly more durable than a waffle, he had a local machine shop build him a semiautomatic cone making machine, the first one in the world. In 1907 Abe and his brother sold 23,000 cones at the Jamestown Exposition. The original ice cream parlor was destroyed in the disasterous hurricane of 1933 and relocated (along with the cone machine) to 1919 Granby Street in 1934. 

Albert Doumar returned from sevice in the Pacific Theater in World War Two and took over operation of Doumars when Abraham died in 1947. Shortly thereafter, he remodeled the ice cream stand into one of the first drive-ins with curb service and waitresses on rollerskates. 

Doumar's has been a Norfolk institution for decades, with astoundingly good ice cream and barbecue as well as a small, nondescript looking cheeseburger that is so good it defies logic. Doumars is still a soda shop and all manner of carbonated bliss can be had there from modern sodas to old fashioned creations like lime or cherry-aid. 

 For as long as I can remember Albert Doumar was a fixture at the ice cream parlor that carries his family name, making ice cream cones and talking to customers.  He rebuffed numerous offers  over the years by the Smithsonian to take his fathers machine and display it in DC. Instead he continued to use it to make the stores signiture cone...which I strongly advise people to partake of while the machine is still there. The store which was ahead of its time in so many ways is something of an anachronism now, but its still in operation, complete with bobbysocks, rollerskates and a 109 year old cone machine. 

He was always friendly and courteous. Several times, I took exchange students there and he would break out old photo albums to show and explain to them a world long past. 


Albert Doumar lived a full life, and was a thouroughly decent fellow who, via both his business and personality, made Norfolk a more pleasant place. 

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 06:50 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
Post contains 416 words, total size 3 kb.

<< Page 1 of 1 >>
21kb generated in CPU 0.02, elapsed 0.02 seconds.
65 queries taking 0.0101 seconds, 173 records returned.
Powered by Minx 1.1.6c-pink.