Shoofly Dairy Bar is a Natural Fit in The Edge District
Shoofly pie never tasted so good. Ditto for the soft serve on top of it.
Welcome to Shoofly Dairy Bar in Williamsburg’s Edge District, home to freshly baked Shoofly pie, a passed-down family recipe special to Beth and Dave Hertzler, who own the roadside ice cream stand.
With so much goodness to choose from on the sweet menu, it’s hard to decide what to order.
You can’t go wrong with Shoofly all-natural soft service ice cream, a homemade whoopie pie or one of the handspun milkshakes. Then again a snoball with more than 100 flavors to choose from (31 are natural) is hard to resist.
Snochurns with your favorite topping call your name, too, along with specialty sundaes and floats. Pardon the wait on a seasonal night. Everything is made to order; team members add their own special flair to each creation.
“We are not fast food,” Beth says. “If you want a cup of vanilla ice cream with fresh organic strawberries and hot fudge, we’re going to take the time to layer it in.”
The Hertzlers are admitted soft serve enthusiasts, passionate about all-natural and organic ingredients. Beth taught school and is currently an energy therapist; Dave is a real estate appraiser. Neither knew all the ins and outs about actually running their own restaurant, but both had the determination to make it work.
Shoofly Dairy Bar opened in fall 2017 at the site of what was once the Queen Anne Dari-Snak, a longtime local favorite that served everything from chili cheese dogs to ice cream until it transitioned to Skippy’s SnoBalls in 2016.
When the Hertzlers took over the following year, the learning curve was steep — among the reasons they kicked off the business in the colder, slower months.
The first sundae Beth made for a customer would have filled up an NFL lineman.
“I had no concept of size, really,” she says with a smile.
Not everything on the menu is all natural, but patrons certainly have their pick of fresh ingredients and creamy goodness. In fact, many mistake the soft serve for custard because of its luscious creaminess. Among the special “Shoofly Experience” treats is Beth’s own Shoofly sauce, rich in vanilla with a hint of molasses with Shoofly crumbles to top it off.
The Hertzlers are Williamsburg residents. The Denbigh section of Newport News is Dave’s original home, and Beth moved to the area in the early ’90s and never left. They embrace being part of their community and giving back to it, one reason why they donate all tips to a different charity every season. They recently raised $3,500 for the Heritage Humane Society. Another promotion raised funds for local foodbanks.
The Hertzlers feel lucky to have weathered the pandemic with minimal interruption to business. Other than masks, they did not have to make other adjustments, as team members already wore gloves. Seating has always been outdoors only. Customers place their orders by walking up to the 1950s style building distinguished by its florescent lights.
They embrace the buzz around The Edge District; Shoofly is right in the thick of it all, tucked between Emily’s Donuts and Café and Moody’s Kitchen.
“The smells are fantastic in our area,” Beth says. “We appreciate being part of The Edge District and working together with all the wonderful restaurants and owners here.”
They are gearing up for a special May promotion that will involve their team leaving #Shoofly Rocks with a picture of either a snoball or an ice cream cone at various spots throughout the community that can be redeemed for a special treat. Beth is also planning to introduce an all-natural edible cookie dough topping by mid-May. Whenever Beth adds another natural option — raspberry rave or pink lemon pucker, for example — Shoofly’s Instagram and Facebook feeds reflect that.
The Hertzlers marvel at what they’ve been able to build — a community gathering spot for families to enjoy being together while indulging in a fresh and delicious treat.
“Our Shoofly team is important to us,” Beth says. “Community is important to us. Natural products are important to us. Family time is important to us. The love and joy we receive from our customers have made Shoofly a magical place.”
Shoofly Dairy Bar at 7127 Merrimac Trail is open daily between 1 and 8:30 p.m. Call 757-707-9505 for information.