Jackson County Times

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Old Ice House…Scenic Dining With A “Down Home” Flavor

Familiar landmark restaurant wants all Jackson County residents to know they are reserving a table at the window for them.
By Sid Riley

“Bull” Duncan and his lovely wife Ceclia have been operating the Old Ice House Restaurant located just west of Marianna on Highway 90, at the Mill Pond dam, for fifteen years. They are celebrating a “25 year anniversary” at the restaurant during the month of August, marking the date twenty five years ago when “Bull” first became a restaurateur and went into business for himself. They will be running specials all month long as part of this event.

When the Old Ice House first opened in 1994 until about four years ago, they could not obtain a beer license due to the fact they were within 2500 feet of the East Side Baptist Church, which then was located just west of them on Highway 90. Then the church relocated, making it legal for them to obtain a license. They now have beer on their beverage menu, along with all of the great food items and specials they offer.

The building which houses the restaurant has an interesting history itself, due to it’s strategic location at the site of the dam which forms the beautiful Merritt’s Mill Pond, and the beginning of scenic Spring Creek which flows southward from the dam. Without a doubt, the experience of sitting near the giant windows which overlook Spring Creek and a crystal clear eddy pool creates what may be the best dining ambiance in North Florida. We will tell more of the unique history of the facility within the next few weeks.

The Duncan’s have two sons, Leon and Jacob. Leon is employed at the new Green Circle Pellet Plant, and lives in Jackson County. His brother Jacob has served in the U.S. Marine Corps, finished two tours of duty in Iraq, and is now a certified fireman, working in Gainesville, Florida and attending school. The Duncan’s also have a granddaughter, Tyleigh Karina Duncan who they refer to as “our Spring Creek Lilly”. Bull and Ceclia are proud of both of them.

With both sons out of the house and started on their own careers, and with the real estate experiencing a tremendous escalation in values, last year Bull and Ceclia decided it might be a good time to sell the building and land with an agreement to continue to lease the facility and operate the restaurant. This would assure the funds were there when they decided to retire and move to their beach house in Mexico Beach. The improvements made in the dam, the bridge, and the Spring Creek Park has enhanced their property. So, they put the property on the market.

It was this agreement with their realtors which led to the public auction which was advertised and conducted a few weeks ago. Bull and Ceclia want everyone in the area to know that there was no intent to sell their restaurant business, and they are ready, willing, and able to continue to offer great dining at very reasonable pricing. Bull says he is much too “mean and ugly” to work for someone else, and is not yet ready to retire and go to the farm.

So, the Old Ice House is still in business and hopefully will be serving hungry Jackson County residents for years to come. Come on out and enjoy their “Food With A View Dining”.

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