Downtown eats: The walking tour
Back in town for the weekend, or showing some Happy Valley newbies the essential sights (and tastes) of your favorite destination? Park your vehicles in the parking garages, and venture out for a walking tour of State College's downtown restaurants. You'll see some of your old favorites (hello there, Corner Room!), and find some brand new places that have opened up shop. Not sure where to start? We have some ideas!
Tarragon, in the Atherton Hotel, features award-winning cuisine and fine ingredients consisting of USDA Angus and Choice beef, fresh seafood and mouthwatering desserts. Tarragon wants guests to be as happy as this valley. Dine in an atmosphere of fine elegance and enjoy either the breakfast or dinner menu — both offer golden goods. Whether you build your own omelet, ask for the classic Eggs Benedict or pour maple syrup over your buttermilk pancakes, you’re going to be whistling a tune, regardless if you consider yourself a morning person or not. Stick around for dinner and you’ll find yourself dipping into the crab dip, raising the stakes with Delmonico steak or the filet mignon or maybe taking a swim in the pasta primavera.
The Rumor's Lounge is right next door inside the Atherton Hotel, and is another wonderful option for spending a night eating out in State College. It has the charm, flair and intimate feel — this lounge is perfect for dinners ranging from business meetings to catching up to meaningful conversations. Order a delicious and nutritious Caesar salad or munch on tortilla chips served with spinach and artichoke dip — maybe even find yourself pulled into the pulled pork BBQ sandwich. No matter what you choose, be sure to leave enough room for Maggie’s candy apple pie, the crème brûlée and other desserts!
Just a few blocks north, Kimchi Korean Restaurant on North Atherton serves up exotic and unique Korean cuisine for every diner, whether you’re a long-time fan or new to the menu. Try some of the townie favorites such as the bulgogi (sliced ribeye in homemade barbecue sauce), tofu dolsot (tofu, radishes, sprouts, carrots and mushrooms over rice); and galbi (beef short ribs); and obviously kimchi. Whatever your choice, enjoy it with one of the most popular Korean dishes, kimchi — spicy fermented cabbage, a staple side dish and the namesake of this restaurant.
Let’s continue our journey and hit another essential stop: Webster’s Bookstore & Café. You can’t walk downtown without stopping by this haven for old souls who crave looking through records, flipping through books with that old smell we all love and digging into community events that happen weekly and monthly, whether it’s Tuesday’s Argentine Tango, the first Thursday of every month being open mic night or the vegan brunch every Sunday that hosts local and fresh delights. Webster’s offers yummy bagels, pastries, tea, lattés and you might raise your eyebrows on this one: kombucha!
Another café that light ought to be shed on is Saint’s Café. A downtown pick that embodies the purity and goodness of State College spirit, Saint’s is quaint, sweet and honestly, rather artsy! Order espresso, coffee, muffins, quiches — everything just melts in your mouth like cotton candy. With any order of coffee, Saint’s provides some espresso artwork that will no doubt put a smile on your face.
But we must keep walking in order to explore our bucket list of downtown locations. And another cozy destination to check off is none other than Cozy Thai. With intimate lighting and a comfy feel, this bistro offers delicious varieties of shrimp curry, amazing noodle and rice dishes including drunken noodles and Cozy Thai fried rice, top-quality stir fry and seafood so fresh you’d think State College had an ocean down the street.
The last stop on our downtown journey just opened last year, but has already integrated itself as a “place to be” here in Happy Valley: the Federal Taphouse. With over 100 beers on tap that rotate every week with new flavors, artisanal pizza that’s so good the Leaning Tower of Pisa decided to change its name to “pizza” and burgers that will take your breath away, this taphouse is raising the roof off this valley. Fries, tacos, sandwiches, entrées and appetizers like crab mac and cheese and the roasted garlic hummus, you just tapped into heaven!
And so, there it is. Your hungry heart is now full and satisfied and it’s time to go into that food coma we all know far too well...