VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. — De Leon Springs State Park is an enchanting experience full of history and plenty of beautiful outdoor activities, but there is one part of the park that truly sets it apart from others you might visit around the state of Florida. 

What You Need To Know

  • Barbra Herrell has been working at The Old Spanish Sugar Mill Griddle for nearly 40 years

  • Interacting with customers is one of her favorite parts of the job, she said

  • The Old Spanish Sugar Mill Grill and Griddle House is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and weekends. On holidays, they're open 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

There's something comforting about the sizzle off the griddle, almost like you're cooking at grandma's house, but don't be fooled. We're not inside anyone's family home. This is The Old Spanish Sugar Mill Griddle house, and while it might not be grandma's kitchen, many would argue the restaurant does have that down-home charm and its very own grandmotherly presence. 

Barbra Herrell, the manager of the griddle house, is just as much of a fixture here as the restaurant itself. She's just two months shy of working here for 40 years, so she's seen more than a few people come and go — as well as how the park and restaurant have changed since it first opened in 1961. 

Barb first started her journey at the sugar mill as a waitress, working her way through the ranks and dabbling in just about every job they have. Eventually she worked her way up to manager and mother hen of the more than 20 employees it takes to keep this hot spot running on a daily basis. 

“I must like it if I've been here this long," she said. "I enjoy it, it's fun interacting with all the customers and stuff.” 

Interacting with first-time customers and the many that come back weekly to enjoy the homemade secret-batter pancakes and the company of Barb is a fixture here for what she hopes will be many more years to come. 

The Old Spanish Sugar Mill Grill and Griddle House is open all week from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on holidays.