Van de Kamp Coffee Shop Breakfast Menu, California 1950s
Waitresses in Dutch bonnets and blue and white costumes served beverages and delicious baked goods at the Van de Kamp’s Coffee Shops, which once dotted the West Coast. The Dutch theme was a clever marketing ploy, connoting freshness and cleanliness with the chain’s motto: “Made Clean, Kept Clean, Sold Clean.” The Van de Kamp family, who came from Milwaukee and were intensely proud of their Dutch heritage, arrived in downtown Los Angeles in 1915. With a $200 investment, they opened a food stand where costumed waitresses scooped up warm potato chips from a chute and passed the steaming-hot bags through a glass window to customers. The family opened its first coffee shop several years later and sold pastries and locally-made salted coconut macaroons. The business was expanded to a bakery in 1921 and a picturesque blue and white windmill was placed outside the building, becoming the company’s trademark. During World War 1, due to the scarcity of white flour, the Van de Kamps invented a whole-grain bread that was way ahead of its time.
Waitresses were taught to chant: “Oatmeal, corn and rye – sock the Kaiser in the eye.” By 1928, the company had 53 bakeries and coffee shops all over Los Angeles. In 1930, the family built a headquarters in Glassell Park, designed by architect J. Edwin Hopkins to resemble a 16th century Dutch farmhouse. By the 1950s there were 320 Van de Kamp bakeries and coffee shops from California to Washington. Following the death of one of its founders Theodore van de Kamp in 1956, the company was sold to successive owners and closed in bankruptcy in 1990. A former Van de Kamp Holland Dutch Bakery in Arcadia, California, was converted to a Denny’s restaurant in 1989 and still features a fully restored windmill. The Dutch Renaissance Revival-style former bakery was designated a Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monument in 1992 and the building is a satellite campus for Los Angeles City College.
The Van de Kamp brand is now owned by Pinnacle Foods Inc.
Courtesy Private Collection.
Each print is accompanied by a copy of the interior menu or cover.