Angel’s Diner is the oldest diner in Florida
The Experience at Angel’s Diner
Angel’s Diner is a popular stop on the way to the beaches of Jacksonville, St. Augustine, or Daytona Beach. It is in a town in north-central Florida that was once known for logging and cattle ranching. About an hour east of Gainesville is Palatka. Palatka has a lot to offer. It is a popular place for bass fishermen and is home to Ravine State Gardens.
Porter Angel was the first person to own Angel’s Diner. When he died, the Brownings bought it from his family. John Browning even had a personal connection to Angel’s: His father used to work there as a curb hop. Even now, Angel’s still has curbside service. When you drive into the parking lot and pull into your space, there is a sign that reads, “Just honk if you want to eat in your car.” Go back in time as you step through one of the three stainless steel doors of the old railroad car to get to a table inside where it’s cool. This place is so casual that one of those doors will lead you behind the counter. Just keep walking to find a seat. Although the diner looks like you stepped into the 1950s, the jukebox isn’t just for 50s music; it has records from many different decades. The Angel’s experience is different from other restaurants because it doesn’t try too hard to make money off of its history, although they have recently brought back some of its mystique by putting up the old neon sign that used to call people from the highway. People say that the singer Pat Boone used to eat at Angel’s when he was in Florida, but the waitresses today barely remember his name. Another famous person who came to Palatka was Billy Graham, who was baptized there. Browning says that back when Graham went to Jacksonville to get medical care, he sent an assistant to Angel’s to get hamburgers.
The Angel’s experience is real, plain, and simple. Breakfast is served all day long, and when an order is ready, the short-order cooks ring a bell. This makes the atmosphere very lively. (On days when the cook is funny, the waitresses will ring the bell back at him.)
Many locals still go to Angel’s for breakfast, as well as lunch and dinner, and they all say that the place hasn’t changed much over the years. It is still a place where people meet up and hang out, either inside, outside at the tables, or inside their cars with curb service.
On the menu are homestyle dishes that are hard to find elsewhere. In addition to burgers, the restaurant’s signature dishes include fried okra, fried green beans, frog legs, and hand-breaded onion rings. The “Black Bottom,” which is served on a bun, has scrambled eggs, bacon, and ground beef. There are many options for anyone to choose from. You won’t be sorry—well, only if you don’t stop by!
If you go…
Address: 209 Reid Street, Palatka, FL 32177
Phone: (386) 325-3927