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 Cafe, the oldest eatery in DeLand, closes its doors Sunday, Might 29. Whilst brothers Mike and Kenny Marlow have not usually labored at the cafe, it can be been in their family members for numerous decades.

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

And whilst the foods is very good, it truly is the persons behind the city’s oldest cafe who have kept buyers like Jones and numerous many others coming in weekly, from time to time many periods for each 7 days, for various yrs or, for some patrons, many years.

“That’s the rationale I resolved to do this,” Jones, 68, stated holding up his cafe punch card that he questioned Hunter’s crew members to indicator. “It’s going to be sorely skipped in DeLand.”

The crew at Hunter’s Sunday will dish up breakfast and lunch 1 past time.

A publish on the restaurant’s Facebook web page broke the information and subsequently the hearts of innumerable customers on Might 15.

It read through, in part: “It is with a sad heart and blended thoughts to tell DeLand that we have marketed Hunter’s and will be closing our doors on Sunday, Could 29th. Soon after 73 yrs proudly serving DeLand and West Volusia, our owner has made the decision to retire. We would like to thank all of our faithful and devoted customers. With out you and the multi-generational family members that have grow to be section of our relatives, the past 73 several years would not have been probable.”

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 keeping on to their punch cards as keepsakes from Hunter’s Cafe where by the few ate breakfast every single Sunday. Hunter’s, the city’s oldest eatery, closes Sunday, May possibly 26.

The write-up had virtually 200 reviews as of Friday.

“You have served DeLand perfectly,” Kathy Develop Collums wrote. “Do not be sad or large hearted. Delight in the following chapter of your lives.”

Operator Mike Marlow said retiring from the cafe company has been in the functions for a although.

“It was time to market it and get out even though the getting’s great,” Marlow, 57, mentioned Thursday. “The only thing I’m likely to pass up is the buyers since we’ve acquired some wonderful consumers.”

A Vietnamese cafe is established to take its spot.

“I will not know who’s likely to cook me hen and dumplings now,” just one woman reported as she exited the cafe just after lunch.

While sitting future to his brother Kenny Marlow, 59, in a booth by the entrance of Hunter’s, the brothers reflected on the family restaurant’s record and put in the community in excess of the past 73 a long time.

Historical past of a vintage

Considering the fact that final September, Mike Marlow has been cooking up classic relatives recipes, these types of as hen and dumplings, meatloaf and coconut crème pie, at 111 E. Prosperous Ave., beforehand property to Bellini’s Deli.

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

Paul and Carolene Hunter entered the restaurant business in the late 1940s when they acquired the Chat-N-Nibble at 210 N. Woodland Blvd. They sold the institution to their son Paul Hunter Jr. the adhering to 12 months.

In 1959, Hunter Jr. moved his organization to the southeast corner of North Woodland Boulevard and East Rich Avenue, at this time Pioneer Park.

He ran a next locale for various years in the late 1950s in downtown Daytona Seashore. That spot shut in 1961 because of to a fire that almost price the restaurateur his life.

20 decades later on, Hunter Jr. shed his downtown DeLand location to, all over 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.

Within Hunter’s Cafe in DeLand are paintings of the household members who at 1 issue owned the cafe in the course of its 73-calendar year record. The “serving DeLand” signal was salvaged from an before spot that burned down in 1981.

Photographs: Murals in downtown DeLand

The well-liked consolation foods spot moved to the intersection’s northwest corner the adhering to 12 months.

Mike Marlow said his uncle only reopened the cafe at the community’s insistence.

In 1983, Hunter Jr. bought his business to a married few, but obtained the cafe back a ten years afterwards when the couple split up.

A handful of several years back, Marlow explained he tried to sell the company, but his landlord blocked it.

Hunter’s survived the pandemic in the 202 N. Woodland Blvd. site with enable from federal COVID-19 aid, but Marlow resolved to go down the street when the rent almost doubled.

Marlow claimed it is their local prospects they are going to miss out on the most.

Around the years, the cafe been given visits from its share of noteworthy figures these types of as Jimmy Carter in the course of his presidential marketing campaign, the late previous lawyer general Janet Reno, previous congressman John Mica and Sen. Rick Scott.

Household ties

As little ones, the Marlow brothers ate breakfast at the cafe, wherever mom Nancy Hunter labored as a server, and then walked to university.

“It was like a playground for us,” Kenny stated, including that at the very least 50 % of their relatives members labored there at a person time or another in excess of the a long time. “A single aunt made pies, one more aunt manufactured cakes.”

Their mother  took the cafe in excess of from her brother in 1999.

She arrived at 4:30 each and every morning, shelling out the 1st hour, her favorite component of her 12-hour workday, performing the prep perform for breakfast and lunch although listening to the radio.

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

A carpenter by trade, Kenny explained he under no circumstances prepared on obtaining into the restaurant small business mainly because he realized how time-consuming it was.

“If you ain’t undertaking a little something right here or repairing some thing right here, you are likely to the retail store to get some thing for listed here,” Kenny explained.

Mike moved back to DeLand in 2011 to assistance with the cafe, primarily in the kitchen area.

“He’s obtained extra finesse on the meringue than I do,” Kenny stated.

But in her 70s, Nancy could continue to outcook her sons.

“It was just easy,” Mike claimed.

Kenny echoed that sentiment.

“What does the perform of two males? One girl,” Kenny said. “And that was our mom, she was a equipment.”

The brothers took over practically a decade ago when Nancy retired.

Kenny retired previous calendar year but has however aided out his youthful brother when needed.

The brothers, both of those of whom are going to Waynesboro, Tennessee, agreed their beloved section of doing the job in the small business was supporting have on a legacy and investing time with their mom, who died in 2017 at 78 many years outdated.

Mike’s fiancée Erica Braddock, a longtime server at Hunter’s, mentioned she’s obtained a quantity of buddy requests on Fb from patrons in their 70s and 80s given that they announced the closure.

“I get shut to the customers,” Braddock stated. “They know my lifestyle.”

The past two weeks also observed a number of buyers inquiring Mike if they could invest in the old indication that survived the hearth or other mementos from the cafe.

For far more than sentimental factors, Mike is keeping onto them.

“My cousin might one particular day step up, and Hunter’s may possibly increase out of the ashes.”

This short article initially appeared on The Daytona Beach front News-Journal: Hunter’s Cafe in DeLand closing just after owner sells company


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