Hunter’s Restaurant, DeLand’s oldest eatery, closes its doors after owner sells business


Hunter's Restaurant, the oldest eatery in DeLand, closes its doors Sunday, May 29. While brothers Mike and Kenny Marlow haven't always worked at the restaurant, it's been in their family for several decades.

Hunter’s Restaurant, the oldest eatery in DeLand, closes its doorways Sunday, May 29. When brothers Mike and Kenny Marlow haven’t generally labored at the restaurant, it is really been in their family for several a long time.

DELAND — Just about every Sunday for the earlier 5 many years, Steve Jones has occur to Hunter’s Cafe with his spouse for a breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon and sourdough toast with tomatoes.

And when the foodstuff is good, it truly is the people guiding the city’s oldest cafe who have held customers like Jones and a great number of other individuals coming in weekly, from time to time several situations per 7 days, for several years or, for some patrons, a long time.

“That is the reason I made the decision to do this,” Jones, 68, stated holding up his restaurant punch card that he asked Hunter’s crew members to sign. “It truly is going to be sorely skipped in DeLand.”

The crew at Hunter’s Sunday will dish up breakfast and lunch just one final time.

A publish on the restaurant’s Fb web page broke the information and subsequently the hearts of innumerable consumers on Could 15.

It study, in aspect: “It is with a unfortunate heart and mixed feelings to inform DeLand that we have sold Hunter’s and will be closing our doorways on Sunday, May possibly 29th. After 73 several years proudly serving DeLand and West Volusia, our owner has determined to retire. We would like to thank all of our faithful and devoted shoppers. Devoid of you and the multi-generational families that have develop into part of our household, the past 73 decades would not have been attainable.”

DeLand residents Steve and Debbie Jones are holding onto their punch cards as keepsakes from Hunter's Restaurant where the couple ate breakfast every Sunday. Hunter's, the city's oldest eatery, closes Sunday, May 26.

DeLand inhabitants Steve and Debbie Jones are holding onto their punch cards as keepsakes from Hunter’s Restaurant the place the pair ate breakfast every single Sunday. Hunter’s, the city’s oldest eatery, closes Sunday, May possibly 26.

The post experienced practically 200 feedback as of Friday.

“You have served DeLand very well,” Kathy Grow Collums wrote. “Do not be sad or weighty hearted. Get pleasure from the future chapter of your life.”

Proprietor Mike Marlow stated retiring from the restaurant business enterprise has been in the works for a even though.

“It was time to market it and get out while the getting’s superior,” Marlow, 57, mentioned Thursday. “The only issue I’m likely to pass up is the consumers because we’ve acquired some excellent shoppers.”

A Vietnamese restaurant is established to choose its put.

“I do not know who’s heading to cook dinner me hen and dumplings now,” 1 woman claimed as she exited the restaurant following lunch.

While sitting upcoming to his brother Kenny Marlow, 59, in a booth by the entrance of Hunter’s, the brothers mirrored on the relatives restaurant’s history and put in the community in excess of the earlier 73 years.

Record of a traditional

Given that previous September, Mike Marlow has been cooking up typical household recipes, these as chicken and dumplings, meatloaf and coconut crème pie, at 111 E. Abundant Ave., formerly residence to Bellini’s Deli.

But for most of its lifetime, Hunter’s served up breakfast favorites out of 202 N. Woodland Blvd., which now properties Pumpernickel Pops Smoke and Vape Store.

Paul and Carolene Hunter entered the restaurant small business in the late 1940s when they purchased the Chat-N-Nibble at 210 N. Woodland Blvd. They bought the institution to their son Paul Hunter Jr. the adhering to calendar year.

In 1959, Hunter Jr. moved his business enterprise to the southeast corner of North Woodland Boulevard and East Wealthy Avenue, at the moment Pioneer Park.

He ran a 2nd place for quite a few yrs in the late 1950s in downtown Daytona Seaside. That locale closed in 1961 due to a hearth that almost expense the restaurateur his existence.

20 many years afterwards, Hunter Jr. lost his downtown DeLand spot to, yet again, a fireplace.

Inside Hunter's Restaurant in DeLand are paintings of the family members who at one point owned the restaurant during its 73-year history. The "serving DeLand" sign was salvaged from an earlier location that burned down in 1981.

Inside Hunter’s Restaurant in DeLand are paintings of the spouse and children customers who at a single stage owned the cafe during its 73-year history. The “serving DeLand” signal was salvaged from an earlier area that burned down in 1981.

Photos: Murals in downtown DeLand

The popular comfort and ease food stuff location moved to the intersection’s northwest corner the adhering to year.

Mike Marlow claimed his uncle only reopened the restaurant at the community’s insistence.

In 1983, Hunter Jr. sold his enterprise to a married couple, but acquired the cafe back a 10 years later on when the couple break up up.

A several many years in the past, Marlow explained he tried out to provide the business enterprise, but his landlord blocked it.

Hunter’s survived the pandemic in the 202 N. Woodland Blvd. location with enable from federal COVID-19 aid, but Marlow determined to go down the street when the lease practically doubled.

Marlow mentioned it truly is their local clients they’re going to miss the most.

Above the many years, the cafe gained visits from its share of notable figures this kind of as Jimmy Carter through his presidential marketing campaign, the late former lawyer general Janet Reno, previous congressman John Mica and Sen. Rick Scott.

Loved ones ties

As small children, the Marlow brothers ate breakfast at the restaurant, in which mother Nancy Hunter worked as a server, and then walked to university.

“It was like a playground for us,” Kenny mentioned, incorporating that at least 50 % of their relatives users worked there at one particular time or one more in excess of the several years. “One aunt built pies, a different aunt made cakes.”

Their mother  took the cafe more than from her brother in 1999.

She arrived at 4:30 just about every morning, investing the to start with hour, her preferred element of her 12-hour workday, executing the prep get the job done for breakfast and lunch while listening to the radio.

In 2005 Kenny moved again to DeLand to aid his mom with the eatery.

A carpenter by trade, Kenny stated he never ever planned on receiving into the restaurant business enterprise because he realized how time-consuming it was.

“If you ain’t accomplishing something listed here or repairing something below, you’re heading to the retail outlet to get a thing for right here,” Kenny mentioned.

Mike moved again to DeLand in 2011 to assist with the cafe, largely in the kitchen.

“He’s received a lot more finesse on the meringue than I do,” Kenny claimed.

But in her 70s, Nancy could nevertheless outcook her sons.

“It was just easy,” Mike reported.

Kenny echoed that sentiment.

“What does the operate of two men? A single female,” Kenny claimed. “And that was our mom, she was a machine.”

The brothers took more than just about a 10 years in the past when Nancy retired.

Kenny retired last yr but has still assisted out his more youthful brother when wanted.

The brothers, equally of whom are transferring to Waynesboro, Tennessee, agreed their favored section of functioning in the business enterprise was assisting have on a legacy and expending time with their mother, who died in 2017 at 78 years aged.

Mike’s fiancée Erica Braddock, a longtime server at Hunter’s, claimed she’s acquired a variety of close friend requests on Facebook from patrons in their 70s and 80s due to the fact they declared the closure.

“I get near to the clients,” Braddock said. “They know my lifetime.”

The past two months also saw a selection of prospects inquiring Mike if they could acquire the previous signal that survived the fireplace or other mementos from the restaurant.

For much more than sentimental reasons, Mike is keeping onto them.

“My cousin may possibly a single working day action up, and Hunter’s may well increase out of the ashes.”

This report originally appeared on The Daytona Beach Information-Journal: Hunter’s Cafe in DeLand closing after operator sells small business


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