Old Spanish Sugar Mill to close after 61 years

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Sugar MillPhoto: Old Spanish Sugar Mill

Old Spanish Sugar Mill, a wildly popular breakfast destination that has operated in DeLeon Springs State Park for 61 years, will close next month. The current operators made the announcement in a Facebook post Monday, saying that the state had decided not to renew the lease.

The site will be taken over by Guest Services, Inc., a Fairfax, Va., hospitality company that operates concessions in national and state parks. A call to the company regarding their plans for the restaurant space was not immediately returned.

The allure of Old Spanish Sugar Mill for the throngs that would wait in line, especially on weekends, was that each table had inset griddles on which diners would cook their own pancakes, pouring out the batter from pitchers, adding blueberries, bananas, chocolate chips or other toppings, and flipping them over with a spatula. This, for some reason that frankly always eluded me, was considered fun.

The restaurant was opened in 1961 by Peter and Marjorie Schwarze. According to its post, it will cease operations on Sept. 12; Guest Services will take possession on Oct. 1.

Guest Services, Inc., was founded in 1917 to support the war effort. It operates concessions on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., and at Mount Rainier National Park. Florida operations include St. Andrews State Park in Panama City and Flamingo Adventures in South Florida.

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