One of the best kept secrets in Florida is a restaurant called the Old Spanish Sugar Mill in DeLeon Springs. Located an hour north of Orlando and a half hour west of Daytona Beach, the Sugar Mill became one of our favorite places to take guests back when we lived in Melbourne, FL. Since returning to the Sunshine State we haven’t had an opportunity to revisit the place, but we are about to rectify that, and I’m ridiculously excited.
Now, I’m no travel writer, and I’m certainly not a food critic, but I know a great destination with great food when I experience it. The restaurant, in keeping with its name, is actually an old sugar mill built in the 1830’s. What sets the eatery apart is its unique style of service.
Each table has a built-in griddle, and once customers are seated wait staff bring pitchers of different homemade pancake batters for patrons to pour and flip right at the table. They also offer goodies to help customize the pancakes: blueberries, pecans, chocolate chips, etc. In addition to pancakes the menu includes traditional breakfast items like bacon, sausage, and eggs; although, those are cooked in the kitchen by the restaurant staff. One can also order from a selection of soups and sandwiches, but honestly, the pancakes are the draw.
Normally I hate to cook, and I’m really lousy at it, but cooking at the Sugar Mill is a hoot, and my pancakes always turn out perfectly when cooked there. It might be the location that does the trick. You see, DeLeon Springs according to legend, is the place where Ponce De Leon sought, and perhaps discovered, the Fountain of Youth. Ringed by live oak trees dripping Spanish moss, the spring does look as if it might hold the secret of eternal youth.
I plan on renting a tube and testing out the legend. Paddle boats, kayaks, and canoes are available for rental as well, but I figure I need to get as close to the water as possible to reap any benefits. Heck, I’m just going to dive right in. After I have another pancake.