Three and a half years after beloved Hazel Park snack shack Doug’s Delight closed its doors, the casual ice cream and hot dog spot is reopening to the public this month with a menu tailored by Mabel Gray chefs James Rigato and Kristina Conger. The restaurant, which began opening on weekends in early April, is poised to debut five days a week beginning Wednesday, April 25, with a lineup of sweets and lowbrow snacks that Rigato has lovingly described as “bowling alley chic” food.
There’s definitely some truth to the description. Many of Doug’s Delight’s savory menu items are loaded with National Coney Island chili and nacho cheese but there’s also more gourmet touches like kimchi made in-house that aren’t likely to be found at any local bowling alley.
As pastry chef Mabel Gray and minority partner at Doug’s, Conger has also put her own personal spin on the sweet side of the menu. “Cookies and brownies are my all-time favorite, so I wanted to make homemade brownies and cookies for people in the area to have with their ice cream,” Conger tells Eater. The soft serve, too, is made with 10 percent milk fat instead of the standard five to seven percent. There’s even a lofty cream puff filled with a scoop of ice cream.
Doug’s Delight is also going classic with local favorite Guernsey Dairy. The dairy’s products are featured throughout the menu in banana splits, dipped cones, sundaes, and the stand’s signature “Dougies” — similar to a Blizzard or concrete. There’s even an off-menu ice cream cup for dogs that comes topped with a dog treat.
Like the food, the presentation at Doug’s is relatively simple with a nostalgic feel. The exterior of the building has been painted silver and adorned with brand new bold signage but the faded sign on the corner still remains. Items are served in white takeout boxes and boats or — in the case of the Dougies and vibrantly colored slushes — turquoise and purple “Jazz” designed Solo cups that feel straight out of the nineties.
Conger will be running the show at Doug’s Delight while using the expanded space to continue producing breads and pastries for Mabel Gray down the street. The chef also plans to expand into special order cakes. Although Rigato helped develop the menu, he’s brought in Brittany DeCamillo (formerly sous chef at The Root Restaurant and Bar in White Lake) to handle the day-to-day preparations for savory items such as mini taco nachos and walking tacos — an open bag of Fritos loaded chili, tomato, onion, scallion and nacho cheese that’s similar to Dorilocos or Frito pie. The stand will be manned by a group of teenagers from the area.
For now, Doug’s is expected to stay open seasonally but the plan may change depending on demand in the neighborhood. Conger adds that the Doug’s team has also discussed the possibility of partnering with another neighborhood bar without a kitchen such as Cellarmen’s to offering food deliveries in the winter. The chef also plans to begin adding new pastry specials to the menu after the first month.
Photographers Chris and Michelle Gerard visited Doug’s on a recent Friday to check out the full menu. Take a peek at all the dipped cones and loaded curly fries in the gallery below.
And now for an ice cream interlude...
Here’s a peek at the savory snacks and slushes.
Doug’s Delight is located at 24110 John R Rd.; hosting opening previews from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on April 20 and 21 (cash-only); open regularly from noon to 10 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday beginning April 25 (hours may be extended in the summer).
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