Ah, brunch. The merging of breakfast and lunch into a wonderful event where it is acceptable for there to be both pancakes and salmon on the same table (even if on my account, it is always acceptable). Most of us imagine this scenario in a big city or a fancy location, but to our surprise State College is not left behind in the brunch game.

Whether you are looking for comforting pancakes and home fries, or delicate caviar and smoked salmon (I kid you not, these options are available in State College), our small town has excellent options to offer. Here is our definitive ranking of the 5 most dine-worthy brunch venues in State College:

1. The Gardens Sunday Brunch Buffet at The Penn Stater


Photo by Oriana Abreu

This one is my absolute favorite. For a price $19.95, you are offered a generous buffet including: an omelette station, a dessert table with infinite sweets, a gourmet salad bar, international cheeses, a Belgium waffle station, smoked and poached salmon, caviar, pâté and more. I’m not kidding when I say I spent over 2 hours at the Penn Stater’s brunch in order to give myself breaks so that I could try everything. Additionally, if you are over 21, you get a complimentary Mimosa or glass of Champagne.

2. Zola Kitchen and Wine Bar

Downtown State College’s fanciest restaurant, Zola, has recently started offering brunch on Sundays. Options range from Eggs Benedict to Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes to Bloody Mary’s (yes, cocktails). If you’re not feelin’ an early morning cocktail, Zola’s also serves locally roasted Rothrock Coffee.

3. American Ale House

The American Ale House’s Sunday Brunch counts with its very own Bloody Mary Bar designed for you to create a DIY cocktail. The menu is dressed with innovative dishes like the Yogurt Creme Brûlée and the crowd favorite Spinach and Wild Mushroom Casserole.

4. The Naked Egg Café


Photo courtesy of centredaily.com

Apart from offering my favorite chocolate chip pancakes and the best Salmon Benedict in town, Naked Egg has comfortable outdoor seating that makes for the most ideal breakfast joint. Another thing I love about this place is that they offer tater tots as a side. While I do love home fries (and any form of potatoes for that matter), sometimes I just want to reminisce the old days of dining hall brunches with plates and stomachs full of Findlay’s tater tots.

5. The Original Waffle Shop


Photo by Sofia Westin

Last but certainly not least, a breakfast classic and favorite: The Original Waffle Shop. The ever-so famous brunch quarter has the most competitive prices and portions. My personal favorite is the French Delight which includes two slices of French toast, one egg and your choice of bacon or sausage. I guarantee you’ll never leave with an empty stomach.

So there you have it. If you’re not hungry yet then kudos to you. Whether you spend 8 months for school or 2 days for a football weekend, these top 5 brunch spots are bound to come in handy while in State College- you’ll thank me later.