New and Notable Hot Spots in Happy Valley

There’s never been a better time to establish yourself in Happy Valley, whether that means buying a year-round home, starting a new business or committing to visit several times a year. As our local population grows, so, too, do small businesses. Here’s a sampling of a few of our favorite new restaurants and corporations that are happy to great new customers.


The Melt Shack

218 E. Calder Way, State College

After his success with Underground Burger & Crepe and Pita Cabana, owner Hitham Hiyajneh decided to fill State College’s need for a good grilled cheese sandwich by opening The Melt Shack. Tucked into the corner of East Calder Way and McAllister Alley, this new restaurant has already acquired quite a following considering that it just opened in mid-September.

But, there’s something to be said for comfort food like grilled cheese, especially when it’s done right and comes with a side of tomato bisque, perfect for dipping. But The Melt Shack doesn’t stop at the traditional offering of grilled white bread with American cheese slapped in the middle. Instead, their menu includes unique sandwiches like The Sicilian (salami, mozzarella and tomatoes) and the Bacon Cheddar (obviously, bacon and cheddar, but loaded with both). Most meals come in around $6, making it an affordable lunch or dinner for students and townies.


Finatics Aquarium & Pet Center

Nittany Mall, State College

Although it’s only been open for a few weeks, Finatics makes it fun to go to the mall again with a variety of fish, birds and small animals like hamsters and mice. The staff is well-trained to answer questions and provide advice about your new hermit crab or salt-water fish and the habitats that they might need.


Courthouse Crepes

101 South Allegheny Street, Bellefonte;

After a late September grand opening, Courthouse Crepes has established itself as a local favorite in the Bellefonte area. With more than a dozen crepe flavors and three breads available daily, you’ll be able to satisfy every request in your party, from meat lovers to gluten-free diners. Fresh made soup, local coffee from Cafe Lemont, and Meyer Dairy ice cream make this a destination restaurant that offers the best products from around Happy Valley. And, unlike some specialty restaurants, Courthouse Crepes is kid-friendly, with a small library dedicated to their smallest customers.


Black Horse Studio

118 North Allegheny Street, Bellefonte;

Whether you’ve bought a new home, are remodeling an existing house, or are expanding a business, you’ll want to consult with a local who knows the ins and outs of regional decor. No matter what your ultimate goal is, you’ll find a friend in Jodi Myers, founder and artist at Black Horse Studio in Bellefonte. Myers can custom-design floorcloths, welcome mats, and kitchen accessories that will complement any style.

Black Horse Studio also carries a diverse line of paintings and prints that will be the perfect fit in your Central Pennsylvania home. But if you’re outside the area, most items can be shipped, starting at $13.


Champs Sports Grill

139 South Allen St., State College;

The downtown location for Champs Sports Grill will reopen in November. The newly remodeled restaurant includes tiered seating surrounding a large bar area. Champs will have at least 50 beers on tap.


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