Ahh State College, the home of Irving’s bagels and 40,000 college students. Besides being the home of the NCAA’s top ranked student section in college football, State College is also home to some of the best and most worldly eats. After living in State College for a year, I realized how diverse the food is, which lead me to this conclusion: State College is basically Epcot. Yes, Epcot. To prove this to all of you, I’ve constructed a list of restaurants that match all 11 countries found in Epcot. Who’s ready for a trip around the world in central PA?
1. Mad Mex
Okay, yes, Mad Mex is a Pennsylvanian chain, but whatever because would you ever say no to tacos? Didn’t think so. Believe it or not, Mexico (in the realms of State College) is actually positioned right beside Sigma Alpha Epsilon! Betcha never saw that one coming.
Crepes are one of the first foods to come to mind when I think of France. Underground Burger & Crepe offers the most decadent variety of crepes. Craving something sweet? Order the Blue Lion crepe filled with blueberries, cream cheese and powdered sugar. Or maybe you want something savory. Go for the crepe consisting of 2 eggs, cheddar cheese and smoked beef bacon named after the head football coach, Coach Franklin.
If we’re being honest, I had not a clue about a Norwegian diet. Not to worry, I discovered that Norwegians eat a lot of fish. So here ya go, treat yo’ self to one of the seafood dishes from The Tavern. I guess the ever-so famous Finding Nemo saying “fish are friends, not food” does not apply in Norway…
Mmm, mmm how I love Big Bowl. Big Bowl’s restaurant is not your typical downtown, store-front location, but it is arguably the best and most authentic Chinese you’ll come across in State College. If you’re bored and hungry on a Friday evening, go check out Big Bowl. I guarantee your eyes (and stomach) will grow 10x bigger when you see the heaping plate full of food set in front of you.
Alright, not gonna lie, Herwig’s is actually Austrian bistro. Austrian and German foods both consist of key items: meat, bread and cheese. All 3 of the staple foods are found on Herwig’s menu. Oh, and almost everything is served with sauerkraut; I don’t think it can get much more German than that.
6. Zeno’s Pub
I’m not going to lie, I had to search a bit for this one, but Canadian bacon is a thing in State College. That’s right, Zeno’s Pub offers Canadian bacon as a side on their breakfast menu. If you’re a fan of Canadian bacon and you happen to be in State College, you might as well put Zeno’s to the test.
7. Faccia Luna
Faccia Luna actually has 3 locations, 2 in Virginia and 1 in our very own State College. A little taste of Italy isn’t far from Penn State’s campus, especially because Faccia Luna is featured on OrderUp! Whether you’re a spaghetti person or a pizza person, I always tend to think Italian is one of the best pick-me-up or treat meals.
Webster’s is not only a cafe in downtown State College, but it’s also a bookstore. Grab yourself a cup of tea like the British would, find a good book and relax. With over 90 teas to choose from, Webster’s easily has the largest tea selection in the area. Their teas include the classics like black, green and chai, but the list also features their own local tea blends!
Attention, attention. This is not a drill, I repeat this is not a drill- Champ’s has opened a second location within walking distance of campus! From wings to hoagies to 3-bean chili, Champ’s is the epitome of an American and a game-day meal. The variety offered is almost endless and in our American fashion, you’re given a single plate of food that should probably be for 3 people instead of 1.
Morocco means Mediterranean food and Pita Cabana is the perfect destination to fulfill your hummus and pita cravings. I understand Mediterranean food is an acquired taste, but I’m a huge succor for some Mediterranean chicken and tabouli. I say take a step out of your comfort zone and give this place a shot (plus, if you don’t dig the Mediterranean, Chipotle is directly behind it so you have a back-up).
11. Maki Yaki
Japan is up next, y’all. Sushi, teriyaki bowls, bento boxes and spring rolls are just a few (yes, a few) of the many items you’ll find on Maki Yaki’s menu. This has to be one of the most extensive Japanese menus ever and it’s pretty epic. Despite Maki Yaki being a Japanese restaurant, they offer french fries and sweet potato fries as sides.