Dominic Massa / EyewitnessNews
Dorothy 'Miss Dot' Domilise, the matriarch and mainstay of the Uptown restaurant that bears her family's name and earned fans nationwide for its poor boy sandwiches and New Orleans character, died Friday.She was 90.
The restaurant in the small yellow building on Annunciation Street with its hand-lettered sign 'OPEN DOMILISE'S PO-BOY & BAR' has drawn fans from across the country during its more than 75 years in existence but remained a down-home New Orleans neighborhood 'joint' to its core.
The restaurant is beloved for maintaining the standard menu of fried seafood sandwiches (shrimp, oyster, catfish) along with popular roast beef, hot sausage, ham and cheese and even the quirky pepper wiener.That sandwich's loss was mourned when the restaurant could no longer offer it on the menu since its supplier stopped making the main ingredient essentially a spicier hot dog.A spot on the menu still says 'Rest in Peace Pepper Wiener.'
'It was my favorite,' Mrs. Domilise told food writer Sara Roahen in a 2006 oral history interview for the Southern Foodways Alliance.'I ate pepper wiener(s) every day on a piece of French bread.'
In the interview, Miss Dot explained that the restaurant's menu had remained essentially the same for more than 70 years.
'It's been more or less the same except at one time we didn't sell meatballs. And one time we didn't sell turkey. And more or less the same except and barbecue; at one time we didn't sell barbecue. So it was just a little ordinary menu.'
WWL Radio restaurant critic Tom Fitzmorris explained in one review that, while the poor boys at Domilise's may have been eclipsed by other restaurants in town, its place in local history, full of local color, was undeniable.It became a favorite spot for politicians on election days and was even more beloved by regular customers.
'One of the oldest and most revered poor boy shops in the city, Domilise's looks and acts its age,' he wrote.'New Orleans visitors love it, because it has all the trappings of the authentic New Orleans poor boy experience.'
Born in Franklin, La., Mrs. Domilise came to New Orleans with her husband Sam, to work at the restaurant opened by his father on Annunciation Street in Uptown New Orleans in the 1930s.
Miss Dot and her husband took over after his parents died in 1981.Even after her husband's death, she remained a fixture in the restaurant well into her 80s, assisted by other family members who worked at the restaurant.
Funeral services will be Tuesday, June 18 at St.Henry Catholic Church, 812 Gen. Pershing St. Visitation will be from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m., with a funeralMass at 1 p.m. The family asks that memorial donations be made to the National Shrine of Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos, 919 Josephine St., NewOrleans,LA 70130.