Doughbox Diner: Milkshakes, Elvis, Red lipstick, and Existential Nihilism

I took two little friends of mine to Doughbox Diner last Saturday. We stepped out of the icy winter’s night into the tiny establishment and boy, did we feel like Dorothy Gale stepping into glorious Technicolor from the mean, monochrome streets of Kansas.

First opened in 2011, Doughbox Diner is a bright and cheerful burger joint styled like a 1950s diner. Complete with candy-striped booths, a Jukebox, walls adored with pictures of old Hollywood stars, and Elvis crooning through the sound system, the diner is a fun, whimsical place to escape reality for a while.

The extensive menu includes burgers, savoury crepes, hot dogs, milkshakes, banana splits, and soda floats with cherries on top, among myriad artery-clogging treats.

Excited customers arrived decked out in 50s garb. Bright-red lipsticks, victory rolls, headscarves, Sailor Jerry tattoos, leopard print pedal-pushers and leather jackets. The Greasers and Bobby-Soxers revelled in their surroundings. The staff was dressed in retro uniforms and bustled around taking trays laden with ice cream sundaes to expectant diners who were busy instagram-ing the bejesus out of themselves.

I chowed down on a Dixie Burger and a Chocolate Mud thickshake. The burger was nice, if a little on the dry side, but the shake was heavenly! It was luxuriously creamy and oh-so chocolatey. I felt like I deserved to face the psychotic wrath of Kevin Spacey a-la Se7en. Like, obviously I was guilty of gluttony. “What’s in the box?!”. Anyway, I digress.

The eyes of my two charges, aged 6 and 10, lit up when I said they could order anything from the menu. The small humans ate their fries and drank their shakes with gay abandon. It’s nice that they don’t realise yet that life is utterly, utterly meaningless or understand that one day they’ll face the struggles of adult life, feel the searing pain of shattered dreams, know the crushing weight of regret, and are forced to witness the decay of western society as it crumbles around them. And bills, bills, bills. Anyway, I digress.

The 6-year-old discovered that glacé cherries aren’t like normal cherries and decided that they taste like ‘bad medicine’. The child learned a valuable lesson; some things in life are not what they appear. Something can look enticing and worthy of time and effort on the surface but in the end there’s nothing but disappointment and you end up swallowing a dose of bitter medicine/reality. Anyway, I digress.

One thing to note is that this place is extremely popular. We waited about 15 minutes for a table and there was literally a line out the door. I’d recommend going on a weeknight if you want to avoid the queues.

Doughbox Diner is a cute option in an area abundant with restaurants and bars, and is right across the road from the fabulous Enmore Theatre.  If you’re looking for a burger fix and an alternative dinner option, then don your Bakelite bangles and head on down to one of the dreamiest joints in town.

Doughbox Diner, 173 Enmore Road, Enmore. Open Tue to Sun, 6pm to 11pm.