In 1950 two friends, Arnold Bridges, a confectioner and Dave Christie, a fitter & turner owned a wood yard together and then, purchased a doughnut business from a German confectioner, Mr Kiffer. The name, American Doughnut Kitchen (ADK), reflected the popularity of Americans in Melbourne at the time. The pair, along with Dave’s mother Lucy and Arnold’s wife Vera, began selling the hot, jam doughnuts in the Queen Victoria Market. The next move was to a series of custom-built mobile kitchen vans. Both of which remain in operation today, with one at the QVM whilst the other has routine maintenance carried out in Collingwood.
ADK has operated continuously at the Market since 1950 as a family business. After the deaths of Arnold in 1996 and Dave in 1997, Arnold’s daughter Julie Boening began managing the business, working alongside Dave’s son Craig Christie and her daughter Belinda Donaghey. In 2013, Julie’s husband, Karl became a director. Other members of the family step in when needed, as they have done throughout their lives.
The American Doughnut Kitchen used to travel all over Victoria, and interstate setting up shop at country shows, exhibitions and sporting venues. In Melbourne, a small van was a fixture at The Zoo, the Royal Exhibition Buildings, the Hanging Rock Races and Carols by Candlelight. The larger van was a regular fixture at the MCG and other football grounds, and was also present at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics. Since 1997 ADK has concentrated its presence at one location, the Queen Victoria Market.
HOW WE MAKE OUR DOUGHNUTS
The recipe is a closely guarded family secret. It originated from Germany and has remained unchanged since 1950.
The dough is made fresh each day at the Bridges & Christie factory in Collingwood then transported to the market van where the doughnuts are cut out, left to rise, cooked, jammed, sugared and bagged. From cutting out to bagging the process takes about an hour depending on the weather.
The doughnuts do not contain artificial preservatives; the only additive is yellow food colouring. They do contain margarine and are cooked in animal fat.
ADK has operated out of a number of mobile kitchen vans of various sizes over the years. The two main working vans, one of which is parked permanently at the Queen Victoria Market, are a remodelled 1937 Rio/Studebaker and a remodelled 1954 Dodge Fargo tray truck.
Both vans were hand-customized by Arnold and Dave in the 1950s & 1960s using second-hand materials, as steel was scarce in the post-war period.
Dave’s son Craig Christie, who is a trained fitter and turner, looks after the vans and continues to refurbish them as required.
FIND AMERICAN DOUGHNUT KITCHEN
We are open Market hours (first doughnnuts ready aroud 6am (Sat) or 7am all other days, last doughnuts whenever sold out, which is often early):
Tue: 6:00 am – 2:00 pm
Thu: 6:00 am – 2:00 pm
Fri: 5:00 am – 4:00 pm
Sat: 5:00 am – 3:00 pm
Sun: 6:00 am – 4:00 pm
Phone 03 9417 6415 or 0412 224 083 (Julie) or 0448 877 919 (Belinda)