When we asked Miriam Elton, owner and chief taste-maker at brown dog ice cream how she ended up in Cape Charles, the answer was as surprising as her ‘Peach Raspberry Goat Cheese Crumble’ ice cream. “It was completely by accident!” she admits. She and her husband were in Virginia Beach for a wedding and drove to Cape Charles for dinner in 2005. They liked what they saw and bought a house the next day. From there, she opened shop and within a year, she had received Virginia Living Magazine’s ‘Best of Virginia’ award and was ranked ‘Top 10 in the USA’ for ice cream shops by TripAdvisor. It’s been a quick rise to the top for brown dog ice cream. But what led Miriam Elton to ice cream making? “I was always going to have a bakery,” she admits. “But then things evolved… I realized making ice cream is just baking—at a different temperature,” she says laughing.
Named after her chocolate lab, ‘Foster,’ brown dog ice cream has become a prime community gathering spot in Cape Charles. People come here to meet up with friends and family and enjoy the simple pleasure of ice cream together. “Hearing the kids laughing. Just that carefree laughter of families having fun together, that’s the best,” says Miriam. What does she love most about being in Cape Charles? “I love how the town changes monthly. The seasons, the people who are here. And the locals–they have been so loyal and supportive. They come all year. And they’re still willing to wait during the summer when the line goes down the block.”
In her own words, brown dog’s goal is “to recreate for our visitors that perfect moment of the first taste, when the mind is flooded with flavor and creamy coolness evoking those dog days of summer.” And flavor and freshness are key. brown dog makes small batches fresh daily and sources local, fresh ingredients whenever possible. “I like working with small, local and organic farms,” Miriam says. This in season, local sourcing means visitors will enjoy flavors made from fresh produce that comes straight from the Eastern Shore.
So what’s on the menu? brown dog serves up eight unique flavors every day which can change by the hour. And each day brings a new slate of flavors. “At first people think, eight flavors, that’s not a lot,” says Miriam. “Then they stand there and realize, wow, there are so many interesting things, it’s tough to choose!” The flavors, just to name a few: Pineapple Upside Down Cake, Shockley’s Farm Caramel Corn, Eastern Shore Coastal Roasting Co. Coffee, Lemon Curd Ginger Crumble, Pickett’s Harbor Farm Peach Salted Caramel Hot Milk Cake, Vanilla Latte Chip and Muddy paws. What’s ice cream expert, Miriam’s favorite flavor? Visit and ask her for yourself—you’ll probably be surprised!
We suggest celebrating the changing of the seasons and the flavors at Cape Charles’ loyal pal, brown dog ice cream. This fall, they’re serving up from scratch, hand rolled and cut doughnuts and their exclusive blend, brown dog brew hot coffee along with their ever-present ice cream, root beer, floats, malts and milkshakes. Wondering if you’ll find your new favorite flavor at the sweetest spot in Cape Charles? Is ice cream cold?
Get a taste of brown dog ice cream:
And for Brown Dog delights all year long:
Gull Hummock Gourmet Market, available by the pint.
And on the dessert menu at:
Coach House Tavern, The Shanty, and Seafood Eatery