Interview with a local – Mark James

donkey restaurant kyneton

Mark and Kelly James have lived in Drummond, just out of Kyneton, for the past ten years. They own and operate the restaurant, Donkey, out of one of the town’s historic buildings on High Street. Mark and his wife have been in the hospitality industry for over 25 years, having managed other eateries such as The Morning Star in Williamstown and Mr Carsisi in Piper Street, Kyneton. Mark and Kelly were inspired to establish their cafe after road-tripping across the United States Deep South. Donkey’s menu heavily features fried chicken and other soul food and the majority of the produce is sourced locally. The cafe is decked out in Americana and its playlist and drinks also reflect this theme.


Mark loves Kyneton’s sense of community and, understandably, the town’s foodie vibe. He also appreciates the beauty of the area, from the wild surrounding landscape to the human crafted, like the Kyneton Botanical Gardens. Mark reflects that although the town has become slightly busier over the last ten years, it is a ‘charming area’ in which to work and live. One major drawcard for people to make the tree change to Kyneton is that it is only an hour’s commute to Melbourne, he says. None of which involves sitting in peak-hour traffic. Mark also says that ‘the quality of life is astounding’ and the dining choice is impeccable. People come from all over the Macedon Ranges and beyond to sample the local cuisine.



16 High Street, Kyneton