So maybe it didn’t exactly come from Italy, but we all know and love it just the same. Oh yeah, I’m talking about pizza. But not just any pizza, no sir. I’m here to tell you a little bit about the top surprisingly wonderful pizza places a townie like myself can’t live a day without.
Don’t get me wrong, just like any other college student, I splurge on a $20 combo box from Pizza Hut or a slice from Canyon now and then, but you should just know that this town has a lot more to offer than dollar slices.
1. Home D Pizzeria Let’s start with a place near and dear to my heart… and my house in Bellefonte. Though it’s slightly different in menu options from it’s brother branch up here in State College, they both offer a pizza worth the slight upcharge from the places downtown. Plenty of specials are offered weekly including, my personal favorite in high school, Sicilian Slice day on Wednesdays and Thursdays (one hearty slice with one topping for $1.75). This is your dinner-date kind of pizza place, and, if you’re of age, a great place to grab a drink or two. Happy Hour is from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. However, you will need a DD because it is kind of a hike down South Atherton. More info on specials and the menu can be found here.
2. Rotelli’s While we’re on the dinner-date roll, Rotelli’s might as well be next. Sure, the lighting isn’t as dim and the booths are a little smaller than at Home D, but the food is superb. This is the kind of place you go to please the “picky eater” because they offer more than just pizza, like penne vodka and chicken parm, aka the classics. For those who don’t want to go in on a family pizza or a gourmet pie, there are subs, salads, pasta (including four different kinds of mac & cheese), and plenty more. The best part about Rotelli’s is that you don’t lose any quality just because it’s conveniently located downtown on Calder Way. Don’t feel like walking? Don’t worry. They’re one of the only pizza places in State College that offers free delivery. Check out their extensive list of drink and food specials here.
3. Gumby’s Okay, this isn’t really a townie haven, but the food is dirt cheap on top of being outrageously delicious. I ate here for years without even entertaining the idea of ordering a pizza because I was raised solely on the Pokey Sticks. Cue Townie Monologues: I come from a family of Penn Staters and they love Pokey Sticks so much that my parents would hand-deliver them to my dorm as long as I gave them half. I finally caved, though, and the pizza is also pretty good. You have to pay attention to the coupons because they are day-specific, but they really do go easy on your wallet. Luckily, they’re also printable and can be found here.
4. Faccia Luna If you’re looking for something a little less simple and little more on the authentic side, this place on South Atherton not only satisfies the taste buds, but is also a cool place to try new things. I can guarantee you that Canyon doesn’t offer Pomodoro (red onion and red tomato) pizza. You won’t find a thinner pizza in this town, so if that’s what you’re into, get a crew together and split a pie. This is probably the priciest pizza place on this list (depending on what you order, obviously), but it’s still within the college-kid budget. You also might want to leave the picky eater at home because the menu is somewhat limited and everything on it has an ingredient that you don’t see everyday. Your best bet would be to plan ahead, which you can do by looking at the menu on their website.
5. Brother’s Pizza NY Style I’ll clarify right away that I’m NOT talking about the Brother’s Pizza on College Ave. Sure, their pizza is good and convenient because it’s in the center of town, but the best Brother’s Pizza in the general vicinity of downtown (and the world, in my opinion) is out by the Nittany Mall on East College Ave. It’s a little cozy and a little pricier than the branch downtown, but I’ve been going there all my life. It was, still is, and probably will always be my family’s go-to pizza place. If you don’t want to take my word for it and want to take a look at a menu before you make the hike out there, you can find it here.
6. Hi Way Pizza Pub I won’t lie, I haven’t been here in a few years. But it’s definitely worth the inclusion because you won’t find another Hi Way Pizza like it in the world. Hi Way Pizza Pub is interlocked with several other businesses downtown through Dante’s Restaurants and Nightlife, owned and operated by founder Andy Zangrilli, which they call a “multi-concept restaurant company” on its website. This company includes The Deli & Z-Bar, Mario’s, Inferno, The Saloon, Bar Bleu, and The Hopshop. Across the board, there are a wide range of specials provided, food AND beverages. They’re all arranged on a neat little calendar for your viewing pleasure.
What are your favorite local pizza places? Share in the comments!