As of Sept. 12, the Old Spanish Sugar Mill in DeLeon Springs State Park is closed while repairs are made to the roof. When the restaurant reopens — scheduled to be Oct. 1 — it will be under a new operator, Guest Services Inc.
The change in operators is unlikely to be the only new thing. According to Patty Schwarze, of former longtime managers Schwarze Enterprises, the pancake recipe used by her family will not be shared with the new owners.
Guest Services won the bid for a contract to offer concessions in the park, causing public outcry and long lines as visitors waited for their turn at the experience of making their own pancakes on a tabletop griddle in a genuine historic sugar mill.
According to the Department of Environmental Protection, which oversees the state park system, the dining experience of make-your-own pancakes will continue.
The Beacon has requested a copy of the concessionaire agreement between the state and Guest Services. As of Aug. 9, the agreement was still being finalized.
Guest Services is also the concessionaire at Blue Spring State Park in Orange City, and Hontoon Island. Their management of Blue Spring State Park recently ruffled the feathers of local kayak tour vendors when the state closed the French Landing boat ramp to “unlicensed commercial activities,” announcing that Guest Services would be the only vendor allowed to operate commercial kayak tours out of the French Avenue landing.