Downtown State College Is Your One-Stop Eatery
Many Happy Valley buffs would argue that the true Happy Valley experience comes from a stroll around downtown State College, where great food and great atmosphere can be found just about anywhere you look. By downtown, we mean the magical loop of College and Beaver Avenues. Here you’ll find eateries for any meal of the day, any occasion, and any palate. We’ll introduce you to just a few of the many classics.
Start your morning off right with a famous waffle from The Waffle Shop and wash it down with a glass of their fresh-squeezed orange juice. In addition to their killer waffles, The Waffle Shop also has delicious French toast, eggs, and pancakes. Their service is super friendly and super quick. The Waffle Shop has been a State College staple for students and residents for decades.
Is brunch more your thing? Well, then head over to Sowers Harvest Café on East Beaver Ave. Try their omelets or a gooey cinnamon bun. Their pancakes are expertly crafted and garnished with your choice of fruit and whipped cream. If you decide to go with the pancakes, though, make sure to order them before 11 a.m.—otherwise they’ll vanish from the menu. The generous portions at Sowers give you a serious bang for your buck.
For lunch, stop by The Deli, another State College favorite since 1973. Go with any of their famous New York-style deli sandwiches, like the Triple Decker Deli Reuben or the Grilled Jumbo Cheese made with your choice of heavenly local cheeses. The Deli’s Original Baked Potato Soup is another favorite, packed with cheddar, bacon and sour cream, and good to the last drop. The menu here is huge, diverse, and it’s all made with a from-scratch, local philosophy!
Another great lunch spot can be found on East College Ave. at The Tavern. The Tavern provides a very welcoming colonial-style atmosphere and a great lunch menu. With tons of signature sandwiches and salads, you can’t go wrong! Grab a classic Caesar Salad or a turkey bacon deluxe with unlimited sides. That’s right, unlimited sides. Top off your lunch with a slice of the Original Tavern Cheesecake with a strawberry or raspberry topping. This old family recipe has been a famous State College delicacy since 1948.
Webster’s Bookstore Café is a State College gem tucked away on East Beaver Ave. Webster’s has a great selection of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. Try the delicious black bean burger or hummus. They’re made in-house! Being that the café is located in the lower level of a bookstore, it offers a winning combination of a unique, fun and cozy dining atmosphere. The list of teas and coffees here is as long as it is fresh and delicious. Espresso, Americano, Macchiato, Cappuccino, 90 varieties of tea—you name it, Webster’s has it!
Get a truly authentic international experience at Herwig’s Austrian Bistro. Don’t be intimidated by their extensive menu or the pronunciations. Herwig’s friendly staff is there to guide you through your ordering experience. They’re great at making suggestions! Their traditional Austrian meals and atmosphere will transport you to another continent. Their dessert menu has something for everyone, and you don’t want to leave without trying one. Try their dark chocolate bacon cheesecake or their Nutella and bacon puff pastries!
Spats Café & Speakeasy brings the spirit of New Orleans to downtown State College. This Cajun-themed restaurant offers a wide variety of meals from the heart of Louisiana. Start with an order of fried local green tomatoes with sweet onion tomato marmalade and fresh sour cream. Don’t forget to cleanse your pallet with some of their lemon sorbet before you try their classic Creole Jambalaya with Gulf shrimp, chicken, house-smoked andouille sausage and tomato. Their gluten free Voodoo BBQ Gulf Shrimp and Mid-Atlantic Scallops on cheese grits and collards are the perfect taste of the authentic New Orleans experience.
If you’re looking for a nice night out, the Allen Street Grill is the place to be. They have a prime selection of gourmet appetizers, awesome pasta, and impressive meat and seafood entrees. Try their classic Chesapeakestyle crabcakes, or a tender and delicious Certified Angus steak, broiled and topped with béarnaise butter. Then finish off your meal with a housemade slice of pie or cake. And if happy hour is more your speed, the Allen Street Grill offers great deals, including $1 off craft beers and 1/2 off well liquors, signature sangrias and select wines.
Downtown State College is special for a lot of reasons, but the inviting atmosphere and variety of awesome dining establishments are two of the big ones. So whether you’re a student, resident, or just passing through, downtown State College is your one-stop dining destination.