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Need Updated Recs for 2007 in State College,Pa

We are taking our son to PSU for a weekend for new students for next fall. We want to check out foodie/eclectic places to take him to chow. He likes all types of food. Are Zolas and Spatz still hot? Any new suggestions? I couldn't find anything since 2005.

Thanks, Motherbugs in Virginia

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  1. We were at Zola for a post-graduation dinner last year and loved it. Great food, high energy, a bit noisy but not annoyingly so.

    1. zolas is great.if you want good bar-b-que try beluiahs(spelling??) and herwigs on college ave is authentic bavarian food.

      1. Otto's Pub & Brewery was quite enjoyable. They've got delicious food, and though he probably can't drink the beer just yet, it's worth waiting for. Very fun place.

        1. I'll second Otto's.

          Also Hiway pizza has a flaky crust pizza that's out of this world. With seeking out.

          1 Reply
          1. re: GDSinPA

            Hiway pizza was great when I went to PSU in 1968!!!

          2. Kelly's Steak and Seafood is great. It's not too far out of SC in Boalsburg (just a couple of miles away). Don't be deterred by the giant cow on top!

            Also, Spats and Zola's are still great. When I came to SC, I have to admit I was surprised to find such high-quality restaurants like these two.

            1. Hey, some of the oldies are goodies. The Corner Room is still a good place. I get the Cheeseburger Club there. I like The Diner on College Ave. You must get the grilled stickies there. The Deli is still good. Buelah's is good for bbq. Try Red's for steamed cheesburgers like you find in CT. Go to Meyer Dairy for Pop's Mexi Hots (chili dogs) and fresh made ice cream.

              6 Replies
              1. re: cheesewit

                Ok, here's the challenge, (2) 50 something brothers going to see their folks in a nursing home in State College. No drinking involved this weekend, just taking care of business. Need to relax & have a few good/great meals.

                While Zola's looks nice, I think it is a little more than what they are looking for . . . something not so hip. The jazz aspect is nice tho.

                One's from Seattle & the other from New Orleans, so they are spoiled with great food.

                Please help, they are begging me - meals have been really bad.

                I hate to see grown men cry.

                Thank you!

                1. re: Isabella

                  Try the All American Grill in the Tofftree's area. They have an inovative menu, but coming from New Orleans and Seattle I am not sure any place could live up to thos cities.

                  1. re: grapevine

                    Grapevine, I think you nailed it . . . in your last sentence.
                    They are not even looking for something that great, just decent.
                    But what I told them - since the standards they have been chowing to are so high, that even the best might be mediocre. I told them to just be ok with whatever they get (imho, that makes for a better experience in the long run - it won't improve the food, but it will lower the expectations).

                    They were tired last night & ate at the hotel. It was pretty bad.

                    Today, they had lunch at Mad Mex which was recommended in another thread. Pretty horrible was the response I got to, "How was it?"

                    I will suggest the All American Grill to them.
                    If they skip breakfast, it's only 3 more meals.

                    1. re: Isabella

                      I had dinner at the Atherton Hotel in State College last night, and it was just terrible. One other suggestion I might add is to try Wegman's grocery store with only three meals left. They have really nice prepared foods, and a little cafe to eat in. I had an outstanding Thai chicken dish a couple of weeks ago from their Asian Buffet if you can beleive that, and they have white and brown rice. My children had beautiful fresh Cesesar salads and they loved the soup selections. I don't live in State College, I have a student there or I might know more about the local places to eat. Mad Mex, I don't eat there, at any of their locations.

                      1. re: grapevine

                        Sorry to hear about your dinner last night at the Atherton Hotel.

                        Wegman's! Oh, thank you so much!!! We forgot all about Wegman's! Yes, my SO, the younger brother from N.O., has eaten there! A few trips back, he went there to buy some toiletries & stumbled upon the cafe. He called to tell me what a great find it was! I remember him being thrilled! I just reminded him of it & said he was going to try to talk his brother in to going there tonight for dinner. It's actually a perfect place for tonight, as there is much to do on this last evening there & Wegman's is not the kind of place where they are going to be distracted.

                        Lunch today was at Meyer Dairy. He was too tired to give me a report. At least you can get a malt at Meyer Dairy or a sundae or something, which is probably why he was tired having had all that sugar! There are just so many tuna on toast or patty melts you can stand to eat in one trip tho. At least it is consistent.

                        I just recalled a few years ago having a couple of decent meals at The Autoport. I remember having a filet that was good (not great & I would not order it again, but it was ok for that night) and other times having liver & onions and spaghetti & meatballs. I believe this was on a weeknight as it was a nightly special. It was decent. Not great, but not bad at all.

                        Tell me, is the Atherton a nice place to stay? I don't recall ever staying there, but I may have. It's been over the last 25 yrs that we've made trips to State College, but we've only had to stay in hotels the last few years since the folks are now in a nursing home.

                        I posted this request to another board and that is where I got a solid recommendation to Mad Mex. I really sorry it did not come thru, the guy swore by the place.

                        1. re: Isabella

                          The Atherton Hotel is a fine place to stay. When we get overnight accomodations we tend to hit the Marriott properties in town because we have points.
                          Friends of ours used to love the Autoport. They used to take their parents there before they went into a nursing home, when they came to town. I have never been. We have family not too far away from State College, and although we have had season football tickets for over 25 years, we have to eat at home when we are in the area.
                          One other place to try is the bar menu at The Nittney Lion Inn, they make a really wonderful burger, and have good soups and salads.

              2. The best restaurant in the area is by far Gamble Mill in Boalsburg....You have to drive out there, and it takes maybe 20 mins? but it was definitely my favorite restaurant when I was there. I also really liked Alto's which is also farther from campus, but worth the drive. You can find the websites with the menus if you google it. Faccia Luna is also really good, but not eclectic. I also liked the food a lot of Fuji and Jade Garden, which is off of S. Atherton. Don't go to the Corner Room- all the food is frozen and reheated. Kelly's is really good, and all the food is fresh and homemade, which is hard to find these days! The food at Otto's is so-so, but the beer makes up for it. If all else fails, go to Are you hungry and get a fat sandwich.....

                4 Replies
                1. re: Mag454

                  quickly for now . . . where is Are You Hungry?

                  more later . . . thanks!

                  1. re: Isabella

                    there are 2 are you hungry locations and i was saying that more as a joke. Are You Hungry is the epitome of college food. The best one (which cannot be named on the MB!) has cheese steak, chix fingers, mozz sticks, fries and ketchup and mustard on it. After a few beers the sandwiches are the best things you will have ever tasted. But honestly, go to Faccia Luna, it is one of my favorites. Also, Great Harvest Kafe is pretty good. As per locations:

                    Are you hungry is located near the intersection of Beaver and Burrowes, the other one is located on the east side, near Mcdonalds, i think

                    Faccia Luna is on South Atherton. It is on the left hand side as you are headed south, near Happy Valley Motor Inn??? I can't remember.

                    Fresh Harvest is located off of Garner street, You go down Garner from College and turn left near the apartment buildings, before you reach Beaver.

                    Hope that helps!

                    1. re: Isabella

                      Also, if you want look at lionmenus.com to peruse some of the menus!

                      1. re: Mag454

                        Thanks very much for all of the suggestions!

                        I have been to Faccia Luna & Fresh Harvest.
                        Both are good suggestions!

                        I'll post more later about the trip!

                  2. IMHO, Zola's -- for lack of any reasonable competition -- has gone completely downhill, which is unfortunate. I now only go for cocktails which can be great, if the right person is working the bar. The chef/owner is now running two places, the extremely mediocre, overpriced and disappointing Alto's, and he's working on a new place in Harrisburg. It certainly appears that he is spreading himself rather thin, or just doesn't care anymore for the above mentioned reason: lack of real competition. The last couple times I was there, I sent back a dish each time, even though the chef was in the house. Now I hear they're buying up Gamble Mill, which by no means is innovative but reliable, and has a nice wine list. I have little hope that they'll turn that place into anything better.

                    Jade Garden is alright for sushi, but the service is abysmal.

                    FacciaLuna prob has the best pizza in town. The Deli's great for burgers, soups, and salads.

                    Second Irving's for breakfast/lunch -- nice sammiches.

                    Herwig's ("where bacon is a herb")... a bit heavy for lunch, but a nice change of pace.

                    Awesome BBQ outside of town: Clem's on the way to Altoona.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: linguafood

                      Awesome BBQ outside of town: Clem's on the way to Altoona.

                      I am afraid that Clem's shouldn't be recommended at either location, outside of State College or the other location near Blairsville on Route 22. The ribs and chicken are cooked in big pans over the woodburning fire, stewed actually. I asked Clem once if it was possible to get dry ribs and he said no. The side dishes, the baked beans are right out of a can and it is expensive.