The old Spanish sugar mill is closed; reopening scheduled for October

BEACON PHOTO/MARSHA MCLAUGHLIN NO PANCAKES FOR YOU — The door to the Old Spanish Sugar Mill restaurant in DeLeon Springs State Park is locked as repairs are made to the roof of the building and preparations are made for the transition to a new operator.

As of Sept. 12, the former Spanish Sugar Mill at DeLeon Springs State Park has been closed while repairs are made to the roof. When the restaurant reopens — scheduled for October 1 — it will be under a new operator, Guest Services Inc.

BEACON PHOTO / MARSHA MCLAUGHLIN NEEDS REPAIR - Repairs to this roof and the transition to a new operator caused the closure of the Old Spanish Sugar Mill restaurant in DeLeon Springs State Park.
TAG PHOTO/MARSHA MCLAUGHLIN
NEEDS REPAIR – Repairs to this roof and the transition to a new operator have resulted in the closure of the Old Spanish Sugar Mill Restaurant in DeLeon Springs State Park.

It is unlikely that the change of operators is the only novelty. According to Patty Schwarze, a former longtime manager of Schwarze Enterprises, the pancake recipe used by her family will not be shared with the new owners.

Client services won the tender for a contract to offer concessions in the parkcausing a public outcry and long queues as visitors waited their turn to make their own pancakes on a griddle in a real historic sugar factory.

BEACON PHOTO/MARSHA MCLAUGHLIN CLOSED FOR THE MOMENT — The Old Spanish Sugar Mill Restaurant is closed for the time being;  the restaurant is expected to reopen with new operators on or around October 1.
TAG PHOTO/MARSHA MCLAUGHLIN
CLOSED FOR THE MOMENT — The Old Spanish Sugar Mill restaurant is closed for the moment; the restaurant is expected to reopen with new operators on or around October 1.

According to the Department of Environmental Protection, which oversees the state park system, the do-it-yourself pancake dining experience will continue.

The Beacon requested a copy of the concession agreement between the state and Guest Services. As of August 9, the deal was still being finalized.

Guest Services is also the concessionaire for Blue Spring State Park in Orange City and Hontoon Island. Their management of Blue Spring State Park recently ruffled the feathers of the local kayak tour vendors when the state closed the French Landing boat launch to “unlicensed commercial activities,” announcing that Guest Services would be the only provider allowed to run commercial kayak tours from the French Avenue landing.

Rachel J. Bradford