Eat it up[jwplayer config=”Wide-Player” file=”wufttv/ourtown/Our-Town-High-Springs-Springs-Diner.mp4″ image=”http://www.wuft.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Our-Town-logo-400-w-on-b.png” html5_file=”http://fms01.jou.ufl.edu/wufttv/ourtown/Our-Town-High-Springs-Springs-Diner.mp4″]
By Andrew Ford
If you’re rolling down Highway 441, tired and hungry from the road, stop in at Springs Diner. You can’t miss the chromed building with a red awning and a gang of bikers or families or the local police taking a minute out of the day to get a bite to eat.
The ownership and menu have changed over the years, but the community feel remains the same. People in plaid eat stuffed french toast next to mothers and children frolic. Hardworking, tattooed men in t-shirts eat with their hands at the counter. Old men greet each other, smiling.
For about 12 years, the diner has been a community hotspot. The current owner, Dan Mijajlovic, has been in charge for four months. He said he wants to bring back the sorts of community activities previous owners had going. He revamped the menu to feature more all-american fare that he thinks is more to the liking of the High Springs clientele. He discontinued the diner’s liquor license; the venue now only offers beer and wine.
“We’re much more family oriented,” he said. “We added an ice cream fountain. I’ve always felt an ice cream fountain and a diner were sort of a natural fit.”
Some locals come to the diner two or three times a day. Tourists come from all over the world.
“We get all kinds of folks,” he said. “High Springs is a gateway to the springs…so we get a lot of divers.”
Dan would like to get more involved in community activities. He hopes to hold monthly bike nights where bikers could come socialize and show off their gear.
“I don’t mean the gang-type of bikers,” he said. A classier crowd would be in attendance. “Doctors, lawyers, mechanics, storekeepers – they just like riding motorcycles.”
He’d also like to do karaoke nights and antique car shows. “Anything that the community would like us to do, we’ll do,” Dan said.
Dan came to High Springs to run this diner because he likes the people in the area and the look of the restaurant. The place has a unique look to it. “It’s one of a kind,” he said.
Ultimately, it is Dan’s goal to retire in the area. “It’s a nice, warm, friendly community,” he said.