110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
Music thrives in a surprising place — Osteen Diner is a hot venue
posted Mar 5, 2014 - 2:22:19pm
On a rural corner in Osteen, southeast of Deltona, in a neighborhood where cows are more common than nightspots, food, people and music blend to create an experience not found in larger venues.
The diner at 195 S. State Road 415 is the realization of a dream for Ruth Schiffermiller. Literally. Ruth told her husband, Ken, about a dream she had of a diner.
The couple had been looking for land — some wide-open spaces — where they could build a home away from the Orlando suburbs where they lived. Friends told them about Osteen.
They found the space for their home, and happened on the diner. It was the diner from Ruth’s dream.
The restaurant had been in operation for a few years, and the owner was ready to sell. The Schiffermillers bought it in 2007, and began fulfilling Ruth’s dream.
The Osteen Diner has two rooms separated only by the style of seating. The typical diner has booth seating on two sides of the room fronting the kitchen. The dining room has tables to accommodate small or large groups. The walls are decorated with murals and pieces by local artists that can be purchased. The dining room is where the music happens.
The Osteen Diner is known for home-style cooking. A blackboard lists the daily specials, in addition to an expansive regular menu. Ruth’s favorite specials to make are the cabbage rolls and the dumplings from scratch for the Southern favorite Chicken & Dumplins.
The regular menu lists appetizers, sandwiches, seafood, soups, salads, hot plates, burgers, hot dogs, and many breakfast items that are served any time. Desserts for the day are listed, including homemade pies and cakes, including the newest addition, Molten Chocolate Cake.
The Schiffermillers each have a part in running the diner. Ken is the maintenance man and numbers-cruncher. Ruth loves to cook and welcome folks.
Ken was a Winter Park postal worker for 28 years, while Ruth was a private-duty caregiver for the elderly. They raised four children, who now range from 17 to 34 years old.
As with most diners, this one has regular, like Martha R. Garrison. The 91-year-old Osteen resident eats there every Saturday evening, and dances to just about every song.
Joe and Nora Gregory from Sanford are also Saturday-night regulars, and Lake Helen residents Donna and Ron Reynolds visit often.
It seems once you have found the diner, you want to bring your friends. On a recent Saturday, Jerry and Mary Ann Buckman from Casselberry brought their neighbors, John and Ginny Metcalf, to enjoy the ambiance, food and music.
WESH-Channel 2 news reporter Bob Kealing and cameraman Adam Watts were headed toward a gas station to buy a quick snack after doing a story in the area. They were surprised to find the diner filled with people on a Tuesday evening. It was a “jam night,” with nine acoustic musicians entertaining the crowd.
Jerry Blanton lives near the diner. He is a musician and well-known photographer. He advised the Shiffermillers to invite musicians to perform at the diner. It started on a Saturday evening with Celtic musician Jenn Weidley and the Bardic Rose band.
Weidley is a multitalented musician. She sings, writes song and plays several instruments. She is a soloist, but plays with other groups in addition to Bardic Rose.
Joe and Katie Waller were early supporters of the Osteen Diner’s foray into hosting musical performers. Joe retired after 18 years as Volusia County’s forester. Katie taught for 27 years in Volusia County schools, and is a classically trained musician.
Joe Waller helped get the Osteen Diner wired for sound. Joe and Katie, like many musicians who perform at the diner, write songs, play several instruments and travel to many events in Florida and beyond.
Hosting the Wallers, as well as Jenn Weidley, boosted the diner’s ability to attract more local professional musicians.
The diner posts its menu and calendar on the website www.osteendiner.com. A typical month lists folk and bluegrass jams on Tuesdays, acoustic open-mic events on Fridays, and a different band every Saturday evening. Check the website for times and details before making the drive.
A recent Saturday night found Awesome Possum performing. The trio includes singer and songwriter Bill St. John on banjo and guitar, Brian DeWolfe on bass, and Peter Easton on mandolin. Easton, a DeLand resident also plays guitar and fiddle.
If you don’t have a computer to check the website, call the Osteen Diner for details about the show schedule at 407-323-6469.
It’s the kind of place where real people answer the telephone, but you might try not to call during mealtimes.
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