The Brand New Places for a Bite in Happy Valley
Happy Valley continues to grow its reputation as an emerging foodie paradise, and the new construction and growth of the region has more than risen to meet these demands. Here’s our list of the best new restaurants around town.
Photo: Talleyrand Tavern
211 West High Street, Bellefonte
After finding lasting success with The Governors’ Pub—a Bellefonte staple—owners Dave and Sue Brockway opened a small bar next door. The casual atmosphere welcomes both locals and travelers to enjoy its Pennsylvania-brewed draft and bottle selection along with bar fare.
559 North Pennsylvania Avenue, Centre Hall
With a history that dates back to the early 1900s, the former site of the Mount Nittany Inn is now owned by Kit Henshaw and Harrison Schailey, known locally as the proprietors of Harrison’s Wine Grill and Catering. With four tiered levels of rental space for special occasions (think weddings, graduations, and conferences), the breath-taking views of Central Pennsylvania are matched by the award-winning, locally sourced menu.
124 South Allen Street, State College
What’s been missing from Downtown State College? A gourmet hot dog restaurant, of course! Featuring chili cheese dogs (with pico de gallo and melted cheddar), fries with house-made ranch, and a beer dog topped with a dill pickle, Sauly Boys has already made a name for itself among hot dog connoisseurs. And if the awesome dogs aren’t enough for you, check your receipt while you’re waiting for your order. The Wi-Fi password is printed right there, so you can Instagram your order as soon as it comes out.
325 W. High Street
What used to be just Cafe on the Park has gotten a distinct upgrade under new owners Elwin Stewart and Barb Christ, whom you may already know as the owners of Happy Valley Vineyard and Winery. It’s no surprise that they’ve brought the thing they do best to this new venture, turning it into a combination café and wine bar. It offers Happy Valley Winery’s own grown and bottled wines—sold both by the bottle and by the glass—and a classic café-style menu of soups, salads, wraps and more. The menu also features a cheese and cracker plate and charcuterie plate, both of which are a match made in heaven with wine. Wine and Café on the Park has quickly become a local favorite, and its outdoor seating and waterfront location are sure to make it even more popular in the warmer months to come.
312 West Beaver Avenue, State College
Looking for an authentic pork juicy bun (known as soup dumpling to most of us)? There’s a place for that. Building upon 25 years of success in New York City, John’s Shanghai is now open on Beaver Ave., bringing with it a large offering of Shanghai-based food like General Tso’s Chicken, Spicy Shanghai Bok Choy Salad, and cold noodles with sesame sauce. John’s also features a wide selection of soups (wonton, noodles with spicy red beef, and minced chicken with corn for two), and seafood, which fills a void in Happy Valley. Their large seafood menu includes shrimp—sauteed, crispy, with or without broccoli, cooked with chili miso and celery—or a whole fish in spicy bean sauce, and scallops in garlic sauce. There’s basically at least one meal at John’s Shanghai that can satisfy any discerning palate.
214 East Calder Way, State College
Featuring build-your-own salads or indulging in their pre-made fare like The Fisherman (served on a bed of brown rice and quinoa and topped with tomatoes, carrots, and our spicy cilantro-lime shrimp), and the True Lion, which is a hearty salad that includes beef, turkey bacon, onions, and eggs. Although this type of salad usually comes with the standard oil and dressing.
139 South Allen Street, State College
The downtown location for State College favorite Champs has been teasing us with “almost openings” since last winter, but—after a few false starts—it’s finally ready. Following extensive renovations to what was formerly a Chili’s, Champs reopened in late January by hosting midget wrestling. Although that atmosphere might be a little outside the norm, the line outside suggests that Champs has found its niche.
421 East Calder Way, State College
There’s a tiny storefront tucked along Calder Way that’s poised to make a big splash on the State College doughnut scene. What was formerly occupied by Gamers Arena, which went out of business last summer, will soon be taken over by Peace, Love, and Little Donuts, a Pittsburgh-based franchise that now has locations in six states. Although a grand opening date hasn’t yet been announced, the shop promises to deliver its fan-favorite donuts, like Samoa, apple pie, and chocolate chocolate chip.
Little Food Court
250 East Calder Way, State College
Filling the need for a variety of authentic Asian food in one location, the Little Food Court will allow foodies the opportunity to sample from a large offering of standard Chinese, Malaysian, and Taiwanese menus. Replacing the popular Rotelli, this new restaurant should open in spring 2017.