After nearly 40 years, Footscray’s much-loved Olympic Doughnuts caravan has shut its window for good.
Nick Tsiligiris, a Greek immigrant who moved to Australia after World War Two, opened his hot-jam-doughnut truck at Footscray Station in 1979. It survived decades of demographic and urban change, including a major redevelopment to the station in 2014.
The shop had been temporarily shut since mid-2016 due to Tsiligiris’s ill health, which lead to unfounded rumours of the 81-year-old’s death.
Yesterday, City of Maribyrnong announced the closure on its Facebook page on behalf of the Tsiligiris family.
“The owners of Footscray’s iconic Olympic Doughnuts have asked us to share the news their much-loved store will not be reopening,” it said. “The difficult decision to close the Footscray institution was recently made by the Tsiligiris family in light of Nick’s ongoing health issues.”
Tsiligiris’s doughnuts gained a cult following across Melbourne, but his fiercest fans were from Footscray.
An experience at Olympic Doughnuts was always the same. Clutching your 80 cents (or more, depending on how many you were getting), you’d stand in the short queue and watch the just-fried doughnuts get rolled quickly in a tray of sugar. After being speared by the ceramic, dolphin-shaped jam dispenser (a Footscray mascot in its own right), the doughnuts were dropped in a paper bag and yours to eat.
Tsiligiris’s daughter, Gina Hasapis, thanked the community for its ongoing support: “Nick loved his Footscray and it loved him back tenfold.”