I attribute my desire for ice cream in the cold weather months to my New England upbringing, so I was not surprised to find myself hankering for an ice cream sundae from Dumser’s Dairyland as I drove around Ocean City, MD on the first cold rainy day of November. An Ocean City Maryland institution since 1939, Dumser’s is a local chain of ice cream shops / restaurants specializing home made ice cream and at some of them, diner type food.
As we drove down to Ocean City MD and I spied Dumser’s I was surprised to know that the company had been around since 1939. The location I saw on the Coastal Highway looked pretty new and clean, with bright neon signage, making me think it was a new business trying to look old timey retro. It was nice to see that they decided to use a vintage design and signage to remind people of their history, unlike some of the other businesses that we drove by that had been bricked and awninged into generic-land.
As we continued our drive south I noticed that there were Dumser’s everywhere! On the Boardwalk, in West Ocean city and multiple locales on the Coastal Highway. While part of me was bummed that there wasn’t just one single historic location to concentrate on, I had to hand it to a local business like this that they have been so popular as to support multiple locations in one small area.
Not all of their locations were open when we were in Ocean City on a gloomy weekend, so we stopped at the most retro looking (but I’m told the most recent addition to the chain) – the Dairyland on Route 50 in West Ocean City. It definitely fit the bill with it’s cheery neon signage and ice cream shop design.
I had originally visited Dumser’s back in 1996 with my sisters when we were on a retro road trip of our own, and staying at the Flamingo Motel (still around!) in Ocean City. For some reason I remembered that I had ordered a butterscotch sundae that last time, so I decided on butterscotch again, this time with coffee ice cream and whipped cream. And BOY was that the right choice!
You may laugh when I use the adjective COLD to describe my ice cream, but that’s what it was. Cold but not hard, just the right softish consistency to have the flavor bloom and melt on your tongue with your first bite. Yum! The coffee flavor was strong but not overwhelming (strange fact about me is that I LOVE coffee ice cream but I never drink coffee) and swirled around nicely with the hot butterscotch and rich whipped cream. Needless to say it hit the spot and has earned a place in my memory of good ice creams.
I have not had the food at a Dumser’s but I read that it’s diner/ lunch counter type foods with some folks praising their fried chicken. Let me know if you’ve ever had their food, and if you liked it, so I can let other folks know too.
Until then, this is a great place for an ice cream and to support a small local chain that is doing well- and isn’t that what we want them all to do?
12702 Ocean Gateway (and others in the OC MD area)
West Ocean City, MD 21842
View MD – Maryland Retro RoadMAP in a larger map