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