“The clam strips were the perfect texture and proved to be mouthwatering.”
Do you remember when a gallon of gas was just $0.10, a postage stamp would only set you back $0.02, and a loaf of bread was a mere $0.07? If you’re shaking your head vigorously from side to side, I’m right there with you because these prices were the norm for 1932. Of course, those days (and prices) are a thing of the past! However, there is a remnant from 1932 that still remains today and is sharing the history and story of that time along with their delicious take on classic entrees for past generations and generations to come and that’s Angel’s Dining Car, the oldest diner in Florida!
Angel’s Dining Car opened in September of 1932 in Palatka, Florida- a historic city with a picturesque view of the St. Johns River about 60 miles south of Jacksonville, Florida. The diner has changed locations within Palatka as well as owners but their commitment towards the quality of their food has never changed! Recently, we had the opportunity to try a few of their menu items after visiting nearby Ravine Gardens State Park. After a long day of hiking, we were excited to sit down and enjoy a meal at this classic diner. Since it is a dining car, it is a small location yet the nostalgic theming within the diner feels like you’ve entered a portal into the past. Records are lined up on the wall of the shop and a vintage front-page “newsletter” detailing the prices, events, famous births, and highlights of 1932 are placed all around the dining car transporting guests more than 90 years back in time. The colors, layout, and theme of the dining car take patrons back to a time period long gone and set the mood for a scrumptious meal served with old-fashioned friendliness.
While looking over the menu and deciding what we all were going to order for our meal, we were immediately struck by how large and diverse the menu is. Angel’s Diner offers an impressive selection of food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Breakfast items include eggs, omelets, pancakes, and sandwiches. Lunch and dinner options range from dishes such as patty melts, hamburgers, hot dogs, cheesesteaks, chicken liver, catfish, and even frog legs! London and I were pleasantly surprised to see so many classic dishes offered and the option to try dishes you don’t normally see on a menu. As intrigued as I was by the frog legs, my eyes stopped roaming once they reached the clam strip basket option. I absolutely love clam strips and even though the dish is not as uncommon as frog legs, it’s still a dish you do not regularly see on the menu when dining out, so I had to try the clam strip basket! London and I decided to share the clam strip basket so we also added a side of half onion rings and half fries. The clam strips had the perfect texture and proved to be mouthwatering. Although London and I shared the basket, there were more than enough clam strips to satisfy us both and we still had our side to contend with! Having the option to choose both fries and onion rings as one side was unique and welcomed! The onion rings were thick and plentiful while the fries were served crispy and salted just right, making the fries the best part of the two-in-one side.
Both of my kids ordered burgers, my daughter chose a burger from the kids menu and then asked for an extra topping of bacon. My son then followed her lead and also added bacon to his full-size 100% pure beef cheeseburger platter that also came with crispy, salted fries and thick onion rings as a side.
Both kids devoured their burgers with huge smiles on their faces. Their faces lit up even more though when our friendly and attentive server asked the kids if they wanted strawberry milkshakes lavishly topped with whipped cream and a cherry to boot for dessert!
The milkshakes that the kids ordered were a delightful ending to an already fantastic meal! They were quickly made to order, thick, creamy, very flavorful, and delivered with a genuine smile. This was just one example of the incredible service that has kept Angel’s Dining Car a North Florida staple for over the past 90 years. We were greeted with smiles, efficient service, and a helpful attitude from the moment we walked into the diner till the last bite of our satisfying meal and the final sip of those succulent strawberry milkshakes. When it comes to taste, service, and atmosphere, Angel’s Dining Car exceeded our expectations and left us hungry for more visits! If you’re in or near the Palatka area, we highly recommend that you visit Angel’s Dining Car, take a step back in time, and give one of their classic dishes or not-so-classic dishes a try!
To see our experience at Angel’s Dining Car and more cool things to do in Palatka, check out our video here!