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 doors Sunday, May perhaps 29. Although brothers Mike and Kenny Marlow have not usually labored at the cafe, it is really been in their family for a number of many years.

DELAND — Each individual Sunday for the previous five a long time, Steve Jones has come to Hunter’s Cafe with his spouse for a breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon and sourdough toast with tomatoes.

And even though the food stuff is good, it’s the folks at the rear of the city’s oldest restaurant who have held customers like Jones and innumerable many others coming in weekly, from time to time numerous situations for each 7 days, for numerous many years or, for some patrons, a long time.

“That’s the motive I resolved to do this,” Jones, 68, reported keeping up his restaurant punch card that he requested Hunter’s crew customers to indication. “It’s going to be sorely skipped in DeLand.”

The crew at Hunter’s Sunday will dish up breakfast and lunch a person very last time.

A write-up on the restaurant’s Facebook page broke the information and subsequently the hearts of innumerable shoppers on May well 15.

It read through, in aspect: “It is with a unfortunate coronary heart and combined feelings to inform DeLand that we have marketed Hunter’s and will be closing our doors on Sunday, May well 29th. After 73 years proudly serving DeLand and West Volusia, our proprietor has resolved to retire. We would like to thank all of our faithful and devoted shoppers. With no you and the multi-generational people that have develop into part of our family, the final 73 decades would not have been achievable.”

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 people Steve and Debbie Jones are keeping onto their punch playing cards as keepsakes from Hunter’s Restaurant where the few ate breakfast each and every Sunday. Hunter’s, the city’s oldest eatery, closes Sunday, May perhaps 26.

The put up experienced approximately 200 responses as of Friday.

“You have served DeLand nicely,” Kathy Improve Collums wrote. “Do not be unhappy or major hearted. Enjoy the future chapter of your life.”

Operator Mike Marlow mentioned retiring from the restaurant organization has been in the is effective for a though.

“It was time to promote it and get out when the getting’s great,” Marlow, 57, claimed Thursday. “The only point I’m going to miss is the buyers since we have received some fantastic customers.”

A Vietnamese cafe is set to choose its location.

“I don’t know who’s heading to cook dinner me chicken and dumplings now,” a person girl stated as she exited the restaurant soon after lunch.

Whilst sitting down subsequent to his brother Kenny Marlow, 59, in a booth by the entrance of Hunter’s, the brothers reflected on the spouse and children restaurant’s history and place in the neighborhood around the past 73 a long time.

Background of a basic

Considering that past September, Mike Marlow has been cooking up traditional family recipes, this sort of as rooster and dumplings, meatloaf and coconut crème pie, at 111 E. Abundant Ave., formerly residence to Bellini’s Deli.

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

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

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

He ran a next area for many many years in the late 1950s in downtown Daytona Beach front. That spot closed in 1961 owing to a fire that nearly price the restaurateur his daily life.

20 years later on, Hunter Jr. shed his downtown DeLand spot to, once again, a hearth.

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 family members who at a single place owned the restaurant through its 73-yr history. The “serving DeLand” indication was salvaged from an previously locale that burned down in 1981.

Pictures: Murals in downtown DeLand

The well known convenience foodstuff location moved to the intersection’s northwest corner the subsequent 12 months.

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

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

A several several years ago, Marlow reported he tried out to promote the business, but his landlord blocked it.

Hunter’s survived the pandemic in the 202 N. Woodland Blvd. location with assist from federal COVID-19 relief, but Marlow made the decision to transfer down the street when the hire virtually doubled.

Marlow claimed it is their area buyers they will overlook the most.

About the decades, the restaurant gained visits from its share of noteworthy figures these kinds of as Jimmy Carter all through his presidential campaign, the late previous attorney standard Janet Reno, former congressman John Mica and Sen. Rick Scott.

Family ties

As children, the Marlow brothers ate breakfast at the cafe, in which mom Nancy Hunter labored as a server, and then walked to school.

“It was like a playground for us,” Kenny explained, introducing that at minimum 50 percent of their spouse and children associates worked there at one time or a further more than the a long time. “One aunt made pies, one more aunt manufactured cakes.”

Their mother  took the restaurant above from her brother in 1999.

She arrived at 4:30 just about every morning, expending the very first hour, her most loved part of her 12-hour workday, accomplishing the prep do the job for breakfast and lunch even though listening to the radio.

In 2005 Kenny moved again to DeLand to help his mother with the eatery.

A carpenter by trade, Kenny reported he by no means planned on getting into the cafe business mainly because he knew how time-consuming it was.

“If you ain’t performing a thing below or repairing something listed here, you’re 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, generally in the kitchen.

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

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

“It was just effortless,” Mike claimed.

Kenny echoed that sentiment.

“What does the function of two men? Just one woman,” Kenny mentioned. “And that was our mom, she was a device.”

The brothers took more than approximately a ten years back when Nancy retired.

Kenny retired last year but has still served out his more youthful brother when necessary.

The brothers, the two of whom are shifting to Waynesboro, Tennessee, agreed their beloved section of working in the business was assisting 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, explained she’s been given a number of good friend requests on Fb from patrons in their 70s and 80s considering that they declared the closure.

“I get near to the shoppers,” Braddock said. “They know my life.”

The past two weeks also noticed a range of shoppers inquiring Mike if they could purchase the outdated signal that survived the hearth or other mementos from the restaurant.

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

“My cousin may perhaps 1 day stage up, and Hunter’s may well increase out of the ashes.”

This posting at first appeared on The Daytona Beach front News-Journal: Hunter’s Restaurant in DeLand closing following operator sells business