Happy Valley Eats: The bucket list

STATE COLLEGE — When it comes to picking a favorite restaurant or food in Happy Valley, everyone has an opinion.

If you are among those visiting Happy Valley for the first time or someone coming back for an encore visit, we have a list of several places that should be on your Happy Valley “must stop” list.

With some help from our readers, we came up with an essential bucket list of foods you need to eat here in Happy Valley. Let’s go!

You can’t leave Happy Valley without having a Grilled Sticky. The Grilled Sticky has been the most sought-after treat by Penn Staters since 1929. The sticky sweet glazed pastry is crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. The Grilled Sticky originated at the Ye Olde College Diner, which will soon be closing its doors. But don’t fret: You can still get the Grilled Sticky at grocery stores throughout Centre County. For the ultimate treat, try a warm sticky topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Another great place to stop is Hi-Way Pizza in State College. A 43-year State College tradition, Hi-Way Pizza offers 29 varieties of hand-spun pizzas, pastas, salads and more. They use only the freshest local and imported ingredients. Hi-Way recently returned to the west side of town, setting up shop at 1301 W. College Ave. We recommend Hi-Way’s fantastic white pizza or the stuffed red pizza.

At The Deli, the lines may be long, but the food makes it worth the wait. Since 1973, The Deli has served up New York-style deli favorites on an American menu. It offers everything from comfort food to pub favorites. Part of The Deli’s success is the fact that everything — soups, breads, sauces and award-winning desserts are made from scratch.

It doesn’t get more blue and white than The Nittany Lion Inn. Some of the finest food in town can be found at the Inn, and you don’t have to be a guest to eat at The Dining Room. The Inn is famous for its brunch (makes reservations). If brunch isn’t your thing, stop by Whiskers for a quick bite to eat and a great libation. Another great option is Legends at the Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center. Legends has a host of creative burgers, including the black bean and roasted corn burger, the seared panko salmon burger and a southwestern-style chicken burger.

Are you a meat eater? Well, look no further than Kelly’s Steak and Seafood in Boalsburg. Kelly’s hand-cut steaks are some of the best Happy Valley has to offer. Whether you want a New York Strip, filet mignon or a plan ol’ ribeye, Kelly’s has it. There’s also a wide variety of seafood to choose from. And if you’re looking for a great lunch, Kelly’s has a great selection of burgers and sandwiches.

Speaking of burgers, there may be none better in Happy Valley than those at The Field Burger and Tap. Located in Toftrees, this awesome burger joint/bar has it all — mouth-watering burgers, fresh cut fries and even fried pickles. We recommend the Lancaster Burger, a thick patty with local bacon, fried eggs, greens and tomato slices. It’s served with sharp cheddar cheese and horseradish mayo. There’s also the surf and turf burger, which has the best of both worlds — beef and lobster meat. It’s served with white balsamic vinaigrette, roasted tomato jam, greens and truffle butter. Top off your meal with a nightcap — an alcohol-infused milkshake.

If you’re looking for tradition, there’s nothing better than The Corner Room in downtown State College. One of Happy Valley’s most popular destinations for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the iconic restaurant has great specials. Check out all you can eat pasta Mondays ($5.99), half-priced burgers on Thursday (with a side and drink) and an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet on Sundays ($9.99).

Speaking of tradition, there may be no better place for State College memories than The Tavern in downtown State College. It’s often the site for special occasions (graduation, birthdays, anniversaries, etc.). There’s something for everyone, including pasta, chicken, steaks and seafood. Of course, The Tavern is best known for its limitless sides. Want a salad, fries and some pasta with your steak? You’ve got it. How about slaw, a salad, mashed potatoes, mixed veggies and bread pudding? Go for it. Heck, try ’em all. We may know one or two people who have done just that!

Looking for something fast and easy? Head to Baby’s Burgers and Shakes. Since 1972, Baby’s has served up burgers, fries and shakes for Happy Valley. Quick and reasonably-priced, Baby’s features both big (double decker) and small (Whimpy) burgers. Burgers not your thing? There are many other items on the menu including salads, pulled pork and chili.

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