by Susan Marquez
When you hear “Dumbo,” you may think Disney.
But at Dumbo’s on Duling, the food is anything but child’s play.
Sophisticated, curated and delicious dishes await diners at the latest addition to Fondren restaurants. But that name…
“It was the childhood nickname of our owner, Paul Adair,” says Jessica Quinn, the general manager of Dumbo’s on Duling. “Paul had big ears as a child and got teased about it.”
He embraced the nickname and now the restaurant he owns has a fun and memorable moniker.
Located at Fondren Place (behind BankPlus) on the corner of North State Street and Duling Avenue, Dumbo’s opened on June 9 with Chef Rashanna Newsome in the kitchen.
“Paul and I worked together on the recipe development,” says Newsome.
“I was able to bring my own touch to many of the dishes.”
She brings skills honed in her parents’ kitchen and the techniques she learned at the Washburne Culinary Institute in Chicago. She came to Dumbo’s via The Manship then Aplos, where she served as head chef.
With great talent, drive and fostering a hunger to learn more, Newsome attended culinary school fresh out of high school to honor her father, who had recently passed. After attending Washburne, she worked her way from prep cook to sous chef in a few years.
Now, as executive chef at Dumbo’s, Newsome continues to do what she loves while inspiring other women in the culinary field.
“Over the years, I’ve learned so much,” Newsome says.
“I still make dishes I’ve made for years, but each time it gets better and better. I think we learn instinctively what works and what doesn’t, and what to add to a dish to give it that little something extra. One example of that is my gumbo. Oh, and my chili – I won a first-place award in a chili cook-off for my recipe!”
Newsome says her other specialties are soups and stocks.
“I learned the basics in culinary school. I enjoyed every semester I was there. The school had three restaurants and, the last semester, I worked as a line cook in one of them. But it was after I got out of school that I really learned the restaurant business. I credit Chef Alex Eaton (Manship, Aplos) for teaching me so much.”
Starters at Dumbo’s range from interesting plates such as Aguachile, featuring Gulf shrimp, snapper, avocado and pineapple, to crispy crab wontons and deviled eggs with poblanos and bacon. The restaurant also offers a variety of innovative salads and sandwiches.
Entrées include brisket barbacoa and pasta Bolognese, but the star of the show is the fried chicken, cooked to golden-brown perfection, served with Dumbo’s choice tasty sides.
Brunch is served Saturday and Sunday, with added menu items including baked pain pardue, Croque madame, brisket hash and that delicious chicken on a biscuit with sawmill gravy and tobacco honey.
Quinn runs the bar program at Dumbo’s, where all the bartenders are craft cocktail trained. The bar has an exciting selection of wine and beer and creative signature cocktails with equally original names.
Happy hour at Dumbo’s bar is Tuesday through Friday from 4 pm to 6 pm and features special cocktails and snack items.
The restaurant is open Tuesday through Sunday, and during COVID, the staff adheres to CDC guidelines and offers online ordering.