Austin’s Texas Hot Dogs in Tipton, PA has been an area staple since opening in 1978. Although its gone through many location changes throughout the years, the same great taste and quality remains. They now have a new(ish) opened in 2015 location just down the street from the DelGrosso’s Park. I remember going here as a kid when we visited what was then called Bland’s Park. This technically does not count as a Centre County place, but just over the County line, its worth the drive. In fact my parents have on occasion, driven to Austin’s for some good Texas Dogs and back, just because. Plus if you are on your way back from visiting further South, this is a perfect stop.
Austin’s specializes in well, hot dogs, Texas style. Fresh-cut fries, and Old Fashioned Frozen Custard. I like my dogs with just about everything on them, chili, mustard, onions and relish. You can also add cheese and ketchup.
Stepping into My My Chicken was like stepping into a hipster cool local hangout you would expect to find in a beach town or nestled into some trendy neighborhood in Brooklyn. Well my friends, if you haven’t already noticed, Westerly Parkway Plaza is not Brooklyn. Its not trendy, hipster or cool however, the addition of My My Chicken definitely elevates the shopping center into a location worth turning into.
First the aesthetic: This place has a great vibe – walls decorated with skateboards, most featuring a chicken of some sort. Seating is ample. There is a pick up / take out order area when you first walk in, sharing its space with some classic video arcade games. Sadly, a lot of them were ‘Out of Order’; still cool to look at and for those of us who are old enough, to reminisce about. The larger dine-in area features just about any type of seating you would want; table and chairs, booths, a bar area, and lounge seats by the window. Okay okay, so the place is cool but how is the food you ask?
I have not walked into CC Peppers in 20+ years, but even if you haven’t been there in a while, don’t worry ITS EXACTLY THE SAME. You know that classic aesthetic of green and purple stripes tracing every nook and cranny of its strip mall footprint. The ceiling tiles, once white are now yellow, ceiling diffuser grilles are now coated with years worth of grime and rust. The kitchen, in full view of CC’s patrons, still boasts the classic stainless steel griddle, the long prep bench full of sub toppings, and the best piece of equipment, the fryer. The jar with water at the bottom – begging you to have your try and drop a coin in to see if you can get it into the shot glass nestled at the bottom, is still there. Its classic State College food nostalgia and much like its look, the menu hasn’t changed either. And really that’s a good thing.
Rothrock Coffee, located off of South Atherton in the shopping center that is also home to Honeybaked Ham and PYP Studio (you will notice a high percentage of patrons at Rothrock dressed in work-out gear). It opened a few years ago, and I am so glad that there is an option on the South side of town. They roast their own beans in the store, which are for sale both in store and at many local grocery stores. I especially like their aesthetic. Clean lines, a long wooden counter with stools that separate tables against the side wall and the coffee prep area. Its modern, hip(ster) but not pretentious. It seems every time we are there that the crowd is a mix of post-workout (see proximity to PYP Studio above), students (large quantity of people on laptops), and locals who just want a great atmosphere to sit and sip.
We have stopped by Rothrock many times to grab coffee in the morning and stopped in to buy whole beans to brew at home, but never stopped in to stay, drink and order food. Today was our day. My husband was so excited to try the Peach Ricotta toast that a co-worker kept talking about. We ordered and while I was pouring cream into my coffee I overheard an employee say to another “we have no peach toast today”. They, of course, had no idea that we were within earshot or that we were the ones who ordered it. I quietly warned my husband that in 30 sec someone was going to come up to him and inform him of this terrible news. Turns out the last day for the Peach Ricotta was…..yesterday. Insert sad face here.
I was so excited to visit Big Spring Spirits, located in the old Match Factory in Bellefonte. The Distillery currently makes several rums, whiskeys, gins and bourbon. Their Tasting Room offers an unbelievable drink menu which offers a wide range of classic and seasonal drinks all made with spirits distilled in their LEED Gold certified facility next door. The Tasting Room is a great space, with high ceilings, a long bar and several tables lined up against a wall of windows looking out towards Talleyrand Park. For fun, there is a big selection of board and table games – what a great way to enjoy time with your friends and family, drink something delicious, and play some games. And to my dinner guests relief, TVs at the bar (hey it was the end of the 100th PGA tournament at Bellerive) You can also take tours of the distillery, which I sense we will be doing sometime in the future.
Food is also available in the Tasting Room. The menu developed by chef and owner MJ Custom Craft Kitchens, Mark Johnson, includes soup, sandwiches, and other snacks. They have many specialty nights such as Science Pub night and Throwback Thursdays.
On Sunday’s, they offer a five course Chef Tasting Dinner. This was our objective last Sunday. Each week Chef Johnson creates a menu using what is local and what is in season. Each guest receives a welcome cocktail, and for an additional fee, you can opt to add a cocktail pairing menu to go alongside each of your food courses (which, of course we did!)
You will notice that we have a new, updated look! Thanks to feedback from family and friends, we have revised our formatting, graphics and layout. Our goal is to make the site easy to read, navigate and of course to look at !
Any feedback is welcome – let us know in the comments.
Also, please let us know if there is a restaurant in the area that we have not included on our list and we will go check it out.
I was so sad to hear of Zola’s closing at the end of August 2018. It, like its neighbors Golden Wok, California Tortilla and two houses (one of which I lived in for two years during school) will be torn down to make way for a new high-rise apartment building.
I remember its predecessor, Zola New World Bistro, as a ‘special occasion’ place to go, And the relaunched Zola Kitchen and Bar which opened in 2015 provided a great upscale and alternate dining option downtown.
We went on a weekend night, our excuse (aside from checking another place off our list) was to celebrate moving. Hey, whatever you have to say to yourself to justify something, is okay with me. My husband had never been, and really I don’t think he knew of its existence until we went.
Remember when Bagels had a moment? I mean really, there was a bagel shop on each street corner. Then, muffins then donuts. We seem, as a carbohydrate loving culture, to always be in an endless loop of one “it” carb after another. And. Its. Great.
During collage, I worked at Chesapeake Bagel (for those of you who remember located next to CC Pepper / College Buffet near Walmart on North Atherton.) On occasion, I even donned a bagel costume, stood out on North Atherton Street and waved enthusiastically at future bagel buying patrons. Okay, maybe not so enthusiastically, but you know, minimum wage gave only so much motivation.
My last count of Bagel shops in State College include; Irving’s (which when it first opened was called Irving’s Bagels), and Bagel Crust. Panera has bagels, and I suppose bagels can be purchased at Dunkin Donuts . But why go to Dunkin to get a bagel? This brings the bagel shop count up to a solid three (four if you through in Dunkin’) BTW the current count of donut shops in this area is six, No official ‘muffin only’ shop, I’m not sure those even exist. The only one I knew of was the Top of the Muffin shop in Seinfeld.
Where do I begin with Elk Creek Café? What a great place that is part restaurant, part brewing / pub, part music venue. They partner with local farmers and purveyors, brew some great beer and make really great food.
Not more than a 25 minute drive from State College, we came on a dreary rainy Saturday evening, specifically to try the local summer menu. It was beyond well worth it. A Great atmosphere, friendly staff, great beer, and overall great vibe. The best part of driving out there was when a horse and buggy pulled out in front of us. This meant nothing to me, I’m a Central PA native but, my husband, Not from PA, not from a small town, not from farmland. He had such a great look on his face. I could see his wheels turning, trying to digest the situation and what to do. “See”, I said, “I told you moving here would be an adventure!.”
Anyway, back to the food. Here it is, our review of Elk Creek Café & Aleworks
I don’t think I’m alone in thinking sometimes that the only option for breakfast in this area (or at least in State College) is the Waffle Shop, Or I should say the ORIGINAL Waffle Shop. The Waffle Shop is great. Always has been, and I can only assume always will be. It’s a staple. A place you bring your out-of-town guests, a place you will stand outside in a long line for, a place you make sure that you have cash on hand for.
But,…. I’m looking for more options. After recently reading about The Naked Egg, in a StateCollege.com article, I added it to my list of places to eat. (I should note that my list is currently 121 places long).