Saints Cafe: Don't Miss This Cafe
On a recent Sunday morning, our daughter introduced us to a gem of a little coffee shop which we immediately liked. Saints Cafe is housed on the street level of an early 1900's, 2-story, brick apartment building showcased by large, glass shop windows overhung with striped awnings. It is situated in one of the many quaint but busy sections of State College. In addition to some strong but excellent coffee, they have a variety of delicious-looking muffins, scones, cakes, cookies and other sweets to go with your morning or evening java and tea. Unfortunately we had to save trying those sweets for another time since when we visited Saints we had had breakfast earlier. Everyone seemed to like their coffee, and I enjoyed my large mug of English Breakfast tea.
The cafe describes itself as being inspired by European coffeehouses. I liked the shabby - chic collection of furniture of sofas and tables set against the deep green walls. A beautiful piece of stained glass with a green flor-de-lis design is part of the interesting interior -- perhaps a subtle reference to the cafe's name and a possible connection to New Orleans as well -- and other small flor-de-lis pieces were tucked in here and there. Another piece of stained glass is hung above the entry door and I thought it might be a depiction of a saint.
With patrons sitting nearly shoulder to shoulder and the warmth generated by coffee barista machines and kettles, this all combined to make a rather cozy atmosphere. The coffee shop also offers free Wi-Fi and many people were taking advantage of this
It is clear that Saints Cafe is the daily favorite of many patrons and if I lived in State College, I would surely be one of them.
Monday - Friday: 7am-6pm
Sunday: 8am - 4:30pm
Favorite Dish: Saints Cafe serves its own special blend of coffee named "Intelligentsia - Saints Cafe Blend" which you can also buy in a 12oz. bag for $14.00. As much as you might like the coffee and pastries at Saints, you will like the atmosphere even more.
Cozy Thai Bistro: Thai Food Is Popular In This College Town
Since the hopefully 'temporary' closing of Golanga, we have now twice visited its sister restaurant, "Cozy Thai." Both times we have really enjoyed the great food here. On our latest visit we arrived just before the dinner crowd and long lines to get a table -- it's that popular. Cozy Thai is a rather smallish restaurant with just a flourish of Asian decor.
On both visits we were quickly seated, given menus and served ice water but it took us a few minutes to make a final dinner choice as so many entrees looked great. My daughter loves the Pineapple Fried Rice with Grilled Chicken and I had the same except with beef. My husband chose Pad Khing ($10.50) with fresh ginger, peppers, onions and chicken but choosing was really difficult. We didn't bother with appetizers but my husband and daughter split a dessert dish of coconut ice cream with fried bananas on the side ($5.95). I chose my favorite Thai dessert which was a small dish of sticky rice ($2.50) and it was so yummy --- really need a good recipe for it so I can make it at home. Our bill with 3 entrees and 2 desserts but no drinks came to about $52 with tax and tip.
The servings here are very large and could easily be split between two people; otherwise, one dinner entree could also provide you a lunch for the next day. The easy-on-the-wallet prices also appeals to college students, visitors, and locals too. Students like to gather here with their friends, and everyone likes the relaxed atmosphere.
Both lunch and dinner are served.
Summer Hours are listed as follows:
Monday-Thursday 11:00am - 3:00pm (Lunch)
5:00pm - 9:00pm (Dinner)
Friday 11:00am - 3:00pm (Lunch)
5:00pm - 9:30pm (Dinner)
Saturday 12:00pm - 4:00pm (Lunch)
4:00pm - 9:30pm (Dinner)
No winter hours are listed at present on their website, but I would assume that they would be open much longer hours as all the students are back in town --- munchies could strike at any time!!
Favorite Dish: My order of Pineapple Fried Rice with Beef was excellent and so filling but next time I'm in State College having dinner at Cozy Thai I plain to try the Masaman Curry which Cozy Thai's menu lists as a dish of "Braised chicken in creamy Thai yellow curry mixed with peanuts,
tamarind, onions,and potatoes." ($9.95) When having dinner here previously I also enjoyed
Lemon Grass Chicken which is really my favorite. The menu lists it as: "Crispy chicken coated with lemongrass & sweet and sour sauce served on a bed of crispy rice noodles, steamed broccoli, and pineapple."
Any of these dishes are enough to feed two people or provide two meals!!
The Corner: One of the Most Popular
"The Corner Room" is a popular spot on the corner of 2 major streets in the old-downtown section of State College, and just across from the Honors College of Penn State University. The multi-pane glass windows give it a quaint appeal. Another quaint-looking restaurant just above "The Corner" is the "Allen Street Grille". Actually the Mr. Pickle's Tap Room, the Allen Street Grille, The Corner Room and a few others actually share a building it seems ---- Hotel State College. A little confusing.
The Corner Room has been around since 1926 and is popular with just about everyone it seems. It serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and even has "Penn State Creamery" ice cream on the menu (don't miss a taste of that!!).
After being shown to a window-side ,wooden, high-back booth with navy blue cushions, we were promptly greeted by our server and given menus where there were lots of great choices for less than $10 each. I chose the Greek Salad ($6.95) which was a wonderful mix of crisp Romaine lettuce with olives, thinly sliced red onions, pepper strips, tomatoes, and lots of Feta cheese. The whole salad was topped with a sliced, hardboiled egg and tangy Greek dressing.
My husband had a bigger appetite and chose "Cheeseburger a la Corner" ($6.95) which was 3 pieces of sourdough bread with a cheeseburger and more sandwiched between the bread slices and Russian dressing. It could easily have passed for a club sandwich! The waiter also introduced us to a great beer: Leinenkugel's Summer Shandy which with its unique touch of lemonade flavoring was tasty and refreshing!
The total bill for our meal including 2 Leinenkuguls draft beers came to only $20.23 including tax!!
UPDATE: During one visit to State College (June, 2010), we had dinner at The Corner on a Monday night featuring "All you can eat Pasta." The meal was your choice from a list of several different types of pasta and sauces, plus either soup or salad, and a roll. The salad was a large bowl of leafy greens, carrot strips, tomatoes, etc., with a very good Italian dressing. My daughter chose vegetarian vegetable soup which she said was good. Our pasta choices were linguini with butter & garlic, linguini with white clam sauce, and fettuccini alfredo. The pasta was just OK -- we were disappointed that the sauces lacked flavor in a big way. Being that each dinner was specially priced at $5.95, we would have been happier if the pasta sauces had more flavor even if they cost a little more.
Favorite Dish: Although the interior of "The Corner" could use a little refurbishing, changing it would probably be out of the question -- the restaurant is nearly legendary with Penn Staters and visitors. It is one of the most popular places in town. I certainly enjoyed the ambience of the place-- the old photos on the wall, the quaint cashier's box, and the great old, high-backed wooden booths and striped curtains.
I enjoyed my Greek Salad and my husband thought his "club" cheeseburger was great too. However, there is a list of Blue Plate Specials every day that also deserve consideration and run a very reasonable $5.95 to $9.95. Later visits revealed that some dishes weren't so appetizing but we still like going to "The Corner."
- Road Trip
Bill Pickle's Tap Room: Eats, Sips and Music
"Not for Saints.....Not for Sinners"...from Bill Pickle's
During our most recent visit to Bill Pickle's Tap Room (May, 2009) we found that the spot is as popular as ever. On the day we visited, the Bill Pickle's Tap Room was nearly full with patrons enjoying their food as well as enjoying at least one of the six wall-mounted, wide-screen TV's which featured the Western Conference Hockey Finals; major league baseball, and other sports. Bill Pickle's appeals to families, couples, college students, and anyone who likes to stop in for a bite to eat and spend a few minutes watching sports channels or enjoy the musical group of the moment.
We first discovered Pickles' when our main reason for being in State College was the East Coast Volleyball championships (May, 2007). Hearing that there was a nice little downtown to visit, we made it a priority. We had the afternoon free, so while the girls went to TGI Friday's for lunch, we headed downtown.
Just off the edge of the Penn State campus, there is a jumble of little shops and eateries and we decided to have lunch at an interesting looking place with the odd little name of "Bill Pickle's Tap Room." It was just around the corner from "The Corner". We chose a high table for 2 (you know, those ones where short people like me need a step ladder to reach the chair), and our server showed up quickly. My hubby ordered a Sam Adams summer ale with a BBQ sandwich ($6.95) and I ordered an iced tea with chicken quesadillas ($5.95). I was disappointed that my choice didn't come with taco chips, but they did give me a good portion of guacamole, sour cream & salsa. Our server won a place in my husband's heart when he brought us samples of a lager beer known as "Spring Heat, Summer Wheat" (Leinenkugel).
The inside of the restaurant was pretty unique because it had somewhat of a English tudor look with half-timbered walls and wainscoting, a chandelier over the good- sized, square bar, dark wooden furniture, and about 5 great flat screened-TVs with sports on each one. About 6 nights out of 7, there is a DJ and drink specials are offered everyday. Have to say that I really liked Bill Pickle's Tap Room. It had somewhat of a neighborhood tavern atmosphere and service was very good. My husband loves this place!
Open 11 am to 2am daily. The atmosphere is casual. To learn about the real "Mr. Pickle's", see his picture and read his story which is mounted on the rear wall and see the poster at the back of the restaurant.
Favorite Dish: (May, 2009) My choice for this visit was the Pulled Pork sandwich with Chipotle BBQ sauce and although it was a little on the small side ($6.50) it had a very flavorful, tangy taste and crinkle-cut potato chips to accompany it. If you're not a fan of potato chips, well French fries could be added for $1 or onion rings for $1.50. My husband chose the grilled chicken club panini which was layered with cheese and bacon ($7.95) which to me tasted a little dry and not that fantastic for the money but my husband enjoyed it and the friendly, local atmosphere and location are our main reasons for coming here.
It's interesting to note that Bill Pickle's shares the same kitchen as "The Corner" restaurant which it shares building space with and is connected by a door. Including 2 Leinenkugel Summer Wheat drafts @ $2.75 ea. the bill totaled $21.88.
(May, 2007) I thought the chicken quesadillas were pretty good but there are other hot & cold sandwiches to choose from, all under $10. You might consider the food here "pub grub"; and for beer lovers, there is quite a good selection of drafts and unique brands. Other featured drinks for the week included "Alabama Slammer's" and "Lynchburg's", and and for beer afficianados there was Leinenkugels Sunset Wheat drafts.
- Road Trip
Kildare's Irish Pub: At the Far End of College Avenue
Although having passed Kildare's on numerous occasions, we had never stopped in before our latest visit to State College. The somewhat unappealing exterior masks a very interesting interior space. Inside, Kildare's looks like you just might have been transported to Dublin!
Despite plenty of wooden tables and chairs for those who want to linger awhile over their food and drinks socializing with friends or family, the other 2 in my party wanted to try the outdoor terrace overlooking College Avenue where we had drinks only --- this is a very noisy area and I did not enjoy this feature very much.
The inside is much more appealing to me and I really liked the vintage-looking architecture, signage, woodwork, lighting ,etc. The long, wooden bar is an eye-catcher and appealing to guys who are having a quick bit of pub grub or just drinks with their buddies although I think it might be fun to sit there myself.
Cannot really attest to the quality of the food here, although other people's burgers and fries definitely looked good to me! But a quick look at Kildare's daily specials on their website offered some good prices for drinks or food nearly each day of the week. We visited on a Tuesday and Blue Moon drafts were only $3 ea. all day. My Diet Coke was nearly as much costing $2.50. Half-pound burgers were going for $5 that day. They list Bud Lights for $2 everyday but don't forget the Guinness as this is an Irish Pub! And, being an Irish Pub, they have a very extensive beer list with more than just a few on tap!
The Kildare's menu includes a good assortment of appetizers, soups, flatbreads, salads, burgers, and "pubwiches." Prices run from $7.99 for a Philly Cheesesteak to $10.99 for a crab cake sandwhich.
Not to be left untried for those wanting to feel they are in Dublin, the Celtic cuisine includes these favorites from Ireland: Guinness Stew, Shepherd's Pie, Chicken and Vegetable Boxty, Drunken Steak, and the more well known Bangers and Mash, Irish Breakfast, and Fish & Chips (prices run from $9.99 to $14.99 for these Irish entrees).
One advantage this pub has over some or most other places on College Ave., is that it has its own parking although it is somewhat limited. Most students would walk here anyway.
Can't beat these hours: Sunday – Saturday: 11am – 2am
Favorite Dish: As mentioned above, we didn't eat at Kildare's this time, but I can picture having something filling and hot such as the Guiness Stew when the weather turns frosty as it inevitably does as early as October in Happy Valley!! Didn't notice if they had a fireplace or not, but wouldn't it be even better if they did!?!?!
Galanga by Cozy Thai: A New Star on College Ave. ~ Galanga
UPDATE: August, 2013 ~ Galanga's has been closed for nearly a year now supposedly for renovation. On our latest visit we were sad to see it remained closed as of this month but the signage has not been removed so we are hopeful it will re-open at some point. Up until its closing, we always enjoyed eating there.
During one of our last visits to State College we wanted to take our daughter out to eat. She mentioned that one of the places on College Ave. that was becoming very popular with both students and visitors was a fairly new restaurant named, "Galanga by Cozy Thai". She had been there a couple of times with friends and raved about it.
So on a chilly evening we dashed over hoping to beat the dinner crowd but I guess lots of others had the same idea because there was already a line. Though we really had to wait only 10 -15 minutes for a table, the aromas drifting around the shabby chic, Asian-inspired decor were enough to make your mouth water!
Service at this Thai restaurant was excellent and in no time we were enjoying our dinner and enjoying the lively atmosphere. The decision on what to order had been difficult because all the options were tempting. In the end, each of us ordered something different so that we could try one another's choice. Between the 3 of us we had pad thai with chicken and cashews, pineapple fried rice, and a spicy curry chicken dish. Everybody was pleased.
With prices that are affordable-- even for students -- good food, nice atmosphere and good service, we will definitely return on our next visit to State College.
Mon-Fri 11 am - 3 pm
Mon-Thu 5 pm - 9 pm
Fri 5 pm - 10 pm
Sat 12 pm - 4 pm
Sat 4 pm - 10 pm
Hopefully pictures to follow!
Favorite Dish: Since we all like Thai food, everything on the menu looked great and it was difficult to make a choice!
Inferno Brick Oven & Bar: Not Your Ordinary Pizzeria
Early in our daughter's freshman year while visiting for Parents' Weekend, we invited her to lunch at a place of her choosing -- she picked Inferno Brick Oven & Bar without hesitation. More like a venue you'd find in New York City then in State College, Inferno is a very slick and trendy establishment with a menu to match.
Our daughter urged us to try the pizza with thinly sliced pieces of pear -- different but not bad!!
The Waffle Shop: A Favorite for Breakfast
According to many, having breakfast at the Waffle Shop on East College Ave. is high on the list of the "Ten Things You Must Do While At Penn State University," along with climbing Mount Nittany, climbing the Old Main tower and having ice cream at the Berkey Creamery!!
On virtually any weekend, but especially during the fall, if you don't arrive before 9 a.m., you will probably have to stand in a line to get in. Why? Because the Waffle Shop has good food at good prices, a warm & cozy atmosphere and very good service!!
All types and flavors of pancakes and waffles are delicious & fluffy, eggs and omelets any style are uniformly good, bacon and sausage always good too! Home fries (potatoes -- you may call them Cottage fries) come with most egg breakfasts or can be ordered as a side dish. The juice may be more pricey than you wish to pay, but the bottomless cup of coffee is always good, fresh, hot, and also a good bargain considering prices today.
The Waffle Shop also serves lunch where you'll find salads, soups, sandwiches and burgers on the menu. I've had breakfast here often but have never stopped in for lunch yet -- I will have to give this a try soon!
Having breakfast at the Waffle Shop is like coming home -- it's always welcome!
Weekday selections are an exception bargain, especially for students on tight budgets!! Many fresh, hot breakfast combos are less than $5!!
NOTE: Credit cards are not accepted!!
Restaurant hours daily: 6:00am - 3:00pm.
Favorite Dish: Unlike many, I like a big breakfast which keeps me quite satisfied until dinner. One of my favorite choices is pecan pancakes with a side of bacon. However, "pigs in a blanket," which is 3 fluffy pancakes each rolled around a link sausage, is yummy too. I also like omelets and waffles. Any of these make a great choice at the Waffle Shop. Without meat, these still make a great vegetarian choice.
- Budget Travel
TGI Friday's: Chain Restaurant Still Serves Good Food
Because of an unpredictable schedule during our recent visit to State College, we found ourselves visiting the TGI Friday's around 9pm one evening--way past our normal dinner time. Just down from our hotel, we could easily walk to this restaurant which was a bonus for us.
A friend of ours had recommended Friday's Pecan-Crusted Chicken Salad which sounded wonderful so we each ordered this salad. The salad was a large bed of romaine lettuce mainly garnished with dried cranberries, mandarin oranges, crumbled blue cheese, and croutons topped with a sliced Pecan-Crusted Chicken Breast. I chose the Asian Ginger dressing and my husband chose the Honey Mustard dressing.
We decided to order our salads to go, so we sat at the lively bar while waiting for our orders to be prepared. It so happens that Friday's has Moosehead and LaBatts drafts for only $2 each every day, so my husband couldn't pass up a couple glasses of the premium Canadian Moosehead while we talked with some other people we knew were also attending the Happy Volley Championships there in State College.
To our appreciative suprise, the waitress told us that the salads were specially priced at only $5 each that night instead of the regular price of $9.69! Our total bill, including the premium draft beers, was only $14.60 including tax!! We took our salads back to the comfort of our hotel room and enjoyed watching a movie with our late night meal.
Favorite Dish: Friday's is known for tasty (though fattening) appetizers, burgers and decent food in general. My husband & I really enjoyed our Pecan-Crusted Chicken Salads, especially at the bargain price of $5 each. (Each salad would have easily fed 2 people.) There were other terrific-looking salads on the menu, including Asian Chicken Salad, which I love but had it been earlier in the evening, I might have chosen one of the dishes or even a small steak but I'll have to leave that for another time.
Friday's often has coupons for entrees online when you sign up on their website.
Penn State University's Berkey Creamery: Their Ice Cream is a Big Hit!!
Before we even drove to Penn State University, my daughter was talking about this popular ice cream spot. I was surprised that the Berkey Creamery was a place with much more than ice cream to sell. It was almost like a large convenience store which sold items not only for tourists, but for students too. Snacks, frozen meals, souvenirs, PSU clothing, etc., were there as well as the very busy ice cream counter. Pay at the cashier first, then move down the line to receive your ice cream. A large cone or a dish was $2.50 which I think included the tax. It was VERY GOOD!
More info. about the Creamery from the PSU website:
"Most visitors to the Creamery at Penn State know only of its famous ice cream, sherbet, and cheeses sold at the store or over the Internet, but what they don't know is that it is the largest university creamery in the nation. Each year approximately 4.5 million pounds of milk pass through the Creamery's stainless steel holding tanks. About half comes from a 225-cow herd at the University's Dairy Production Research Center, and the rest is purchased from an independent milk producer.
The Berkey Creamery, as it is now called, was named for the generous donation from Jeanne and Earl Berkey. The couple owned the Berkey Milk Company in Somerset until 1968 and continued in the retail ice cream business until 1977. Over the years, Jeanne and Earl helped many Penn Staters gain a foothold in the dairy industry. Five Berkey Milk Company superintendents were Penn State graduates and their plant was used for University milk testing. The new Berkey Creamery store is two and one half times the size of the old Creamery. With all the extra space, it now can seat 80 people inside, 60 outside under the canopy, 72 under the umbrella tables, and countless others on the seat walls that border the landscaping around the new Food Science Building. "
Monday - Thursday 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Friday 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Saturday 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 pm.
Sunday 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
NOTE: Naturally price increases have occurred since this tip was written. However, the value is still incomparable!
Favorite Dish: In addition to 110 flavors of ice cream the Creamery serves on a rotating basis, they also sell :
sour cream and sour cream dips
soft-serve frozen yogurt
regular and green iced tea
"Funds brought in by sales in the Creamery contribute to research, education, and extension programs in the Department of Food Science and the College of Agricultural Sciences."
Taco Bell: Sometimes there is just no choice
We were heading back to continue our drive on to Youngstown. We knew we wouldn't arrive in Ohio until at leat 11:30pm. We didn't want to change being hungry and having no food options available. So we stopped into the local Taco Bell for some grub. Liz had some taco and a nachos with cheese. I had some hard tacos and nachos as well. It was satisfying and gave us the energy to get back on the road and continue our drive.
The Original Waffle Shop: Best Place for Breakfast or Brunch
The Waffle Shop is a great place for breakfast or brunch. They open early (before 6:oo) and they stop serving at 3:00. They serve American breakfast items including omelets, bacon, eggs, sausage, pancakes, home fries, and, of course, waffles. The portions are large. Most of the menu items come with a choice of home fries, English muffin, pancakes, or muffin to the side. The wait staff is always friendly and very attentive, and the food comes quickly. The one drawback is that there is usually a line, especially on weekends, and even more especially on football weekends. Come early or go during the week to avoid long lines. The line usually moves pretty quickly, though, and it's definitely worth the wait.
There are three locations (see below). Of these three locations, I've occasionally heard that the one on North Atherton is the best. I haven't been to the one downtown, but I had an equally pleasant experience at the West College Location.
Favorite Dish: I love the Nest Egg. It has potatoes (home fries) with vegetables, cheese, and an egg. It's served with your choice of a side, so I usually get an English muffin. All the waffles are also excellent.
The Tavern Restaurant: Definitely try the spinach salad and cheesecake
One of the oldest restaurants in town it's a place where you can see the State College history in pictures. There's a nice bar just around the corner where you can wait if you forget to make a dinner reservation. The place gets crowded on Fridays - sometimes they don't take reservations
Don't forget to take a matchbox as a souvenir
on your way out
Favorite Dish: The food tastes good, the main course comes with 2 salads of your choice. You must try the spinach salad definitely.
Try the delicious New York style cheesecake!!
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