Detour Through Downtown Starke

Since opening in 2019, a bypass around Starke, Florida on US 301 has saved travelers about 5 minutes on their drive. But for those with enough patience to bypass the bypass, Downtown Starke’s historic Call Street is a great place to get out and take a stroll.

When you turn off 301 and on to East Call Street, fast food restaurants and auto shops give way to all the hallmarks of small town America– mom-and-pop businesses, tidy shopfronts, and a charming Normal Rockwell feel. For 75 cents, you can still read a copy of the Bradford County Telegraph, headquartered on Call Street and operating since 1893. A clock tower topping the old county courthouse and large columns in front of the old county bank greet you as you stroll down the street, home to 23 historic buildings.

One of Starke’s most prominent structures is the Florida Twin Theater, towering over the circular brick intersection of East Call and Walnut Streets with its art deco style and light blue neon lights. Family-owned and operated since 1941, the theater plays new releases on its two screens. With $7 movie tickets and a $3.50 large popcorn, it’ll be your cheapest trip to the movies in years; the cash-only biz helps keep costs low.

Call Street’s dining options include Tony and Al’s Deli, a cozy Italian place with authentic food and hearty portions that won’t leave you hungry. Sapp Station Coffee shop and the Call Street Cafe are both open until early afternoon and are a good option for breakfast, lunch and coffee. If you’re craving a frozen treat after dinner, Dink’s Place is a highly rated frozen yogurt shop just around the corner from Sapp Station. Another option is Powell’s Dairy Freeze, a Starke staple – think Dreamette but even cheaper. The waiters at Powell’s come to you and take your order from your car. Enjoy a $1.65 ice cream cone or try Powell’s famous footlong steak sandwich if you’re feeling glutonous.

Next time you’re on 301, don’t settle for a bathroom break and a bite to eat at McDonald’s-experience small town charm and throwback prices in Downtown Starke. Swing by Call Street for dinner, a movie date, or even just a quick walk to stretch your legs.