Group dining in State College
We are a group of about twenty, kids and adults visiting State College. We need a fun, good place to eat that will take reservations for about 8:00 p.m. on a weekend night. The kids are adventurous, will eat other than chicken fingers. The adults would like a good dinner with a nice beer selection. Any recommendations?
You don't mention the night you'll be eating or the composition and ages of the group or what you consider a good dinner. Given my experience with service at State College restaurants, a twenty-person group is a bit tough, but possibly doable from Mondays to Thursdays. Also, consider eating earlier and BYO as many restaurants with decent food may not have a liquor license or a decent beer list. Many restaurants may not take reservations but will certainly appreciate a call ahead. With that in mind, I'll assume that you all have cars and that food is more important than a good variety of beer. Also, be sure to ask if certain restaurants have some kind of special that night (eg, wing night at Champs is a sure bet for terrible service and slow food). Good luck!
Downtown/near campus: The Corner Room, The Deli; BYO: Big Bowl Noodle House
N. Atherton: Champs, American Ale House, Otto's Pub (brew their own)
S. Atherton: Faccia Luna, Home Delivery Pizza; BYO: My Thai (maybe not so fun)
Towards the mall on Rt. 26, both BYO: Rey Azteca, Brother's Pizza
Centre Hall: Whistle Stop; BYO: Bella Sicilia, Brody's, same Brother's Pizza listed above
Boalsburg: Duffy's (has very small and generic beer list)
Bellefonte, somewhat generic beer: Gamble Mill (brews their own), Hofbrau, Bonfatto's
Millheim: Elk Creek (brews their own)
What do you mean by "stay in town?" Do you mean downtown/near campus where the Atherton Hotel is located? Or do you mean State College itself?
If by "town," you mean just near your hotel, then I would recommend just looking at the previously listed places for downtown/near campus and maybe the Tavern. I originally thought about mentioning the Allen St. Grill, but didn't think their space was quite large enough. Out of those choices, the Deli has the best beer list. It may also be possible to go into their bottle shop next door. None of the food is adventurous, but all are fine. The difference comes down to service.
If possible, I'd recommend driving to either elsewhere in State College or trying the other places out of town. Best wishes and please report back after your trip!
Agree with Ottos. Great beer and decent food with lots of choices. Burgers are usually good, decent individual pizzas (wood fired oven), many apps and other sandwiches. I would avoid anything too exotic and stick with simple stuff. But as stated earlier, very high quality microbrews.
You might try the Corner Room, too. Historic upscale diner with reliable food and serves beer. The upstairs restaurant, Allen St Grill, is another option and they have private rooms. You can easily walk from your hotel.
re: mb luvs SBH
I was also going to suggest Allen Street Grill.
We go there a couple of times a year. The atmosphere is pleasant, the menu has a nice variety of items, the food is solid and the service is good. Both Allen Street and the Corner Room are used to handling crowds and large parties, including younger guests.
With a group of your size, the front room, which overlooks the street, might work. It is part of the regular dining room but with advance notice/reservations they might seat you there. This is our favorite place to sit.
Also, I have seen large (like your size) groups at the other side of the bar for what appeared to be family renuions, small wedding showers, etc. There are several large booths in addition to the tables if letting the teens take over the booths and adults at the table is appealling, ask about that.
This is very centrally located if walking to and from dinner and doing other strolling about appeals to you.