The only thing better than starting off your morning with hot homemade blueberry pancakes, is when your kids are the ones making the hot homemade blueberry pancakes for you. One of the most popular restaurants in West Volusia is nestled inside De Leon Springs State Park, about 40 min west of Ormond Beach. The Old Spanish Sugar Mill & Griddle House is not your typical run-of-the-mill, mill. The Sugar Mill, run by the same family for the last two decades, grinds its own flour, and the small building that houses the restaurant is furnished with a large fireplace, long wooden benches and tables – with griddles right in the middle of them.
A Florida Treasure
Entering the historic wooden mill-turned-restaurant is like taking a step back into “old Florida.” Constructed in 1570, the mill was originally used to crush sugar cane using the power from the nearby flowing spring. It was destroyed by the Seminole Indians during the second Seminole War, and again during the Civil War, while being used to supply cornmeal to confederate troops. In 1961 the mill was restored and converted into a griddle house.
The Culinary Experience
On the menu, they have the typical pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage items. Guests choose between a stone ground mix of five grains (stone-ground corn, wheat, rye, whole wheat and buckwheat) or the typical “Early American” pancake batter made with unbleached white flour. Both ready-to-pour batters are delivered right to your table. The kitchen staff cooks the meat products and the customer cooks their own pancakes, eggs & French toast. This is a plus for any vegetarians; you don’t have to worry about your food touching meat products. Top off your homemade sizzling pancakes with blueberries, chocolate chips, walnuts, peanut butter, apples, applesauce, and bananas. Pancakes are accompanied with raw honey, syrup and unsulphured molasses.
Cook Up Some Fun
So you’re paying to make your own food?! Yes, but my girls loved the hands-on activity. And after all, it’s always more fun for them to eat a meal they helped prepare! The rustic environment and tasty breakfast was a memorable food experience for the entire family.
Things To Do At De Leon Springs
As you might expect, on weekends you may have to wait to get a table. But, this is hardly a deterrent as the restaurant is next to De Leon Springs which has a variety of activities for the family to enjoy, either while you wait for a table or after you finish eating to burn off some calories:
- Rent a paddle boat, canoe or kayak and experience the untouched natural beauty of Florida.
- Take a dip into the fresh, pristine 72-degree water of the natural spring. Rumor has it that this is the actual Fountain of Youth discovered by Spanish Explorer Ponce De Leon in the early 1500s.
- Hike through a flood plain hammock along a half mile, paved nature trail.
- Ponce Leon Springs has been a place for people to come, swim, sunbathe and unwind almost since the turn of the century. Check out the line of old cabanas along one side of the main pool – it’s all that’s left of the old hotel.
- Take a 50 minute Eco/History boat tour.
- Scuba dive into the depths of the spring.
- Visit the history museum.
- Run around with the kids on the playground, or throw around a frisbee and football.
- Enjoy a snack or picnic under the oak trees.
- Explore and climb the many cypress, live oak and palm trees scattered between the parking lot and restaurant/spring.
Old Spanish Sugar Mill Restaurant Hours
Open every day (except Christmas and Thanksgiving). Serving Monday thru Friday 9-4; Saturday, Sunday and Holidays 8-4.
- Park Entry – $6/car (up to 8 people), $2 for each additional person.
- Paddle, Canoe and Kayak Rentals – $10/hour, $21/half day or $30/day.
- Boat Tour: $14 per person.
See You Soon,