Ever wanted to simultaneously order food and honor Joe Paterno at 3 a.m., but found yourself without a way to do so? Thanks to 409 Pizza and Win(g)s, you now can!
State College’s newest late-night food option opened during Arts Fest where Little Mamma’s Pizza used to be located at 444 E. College Ave. (right next to McDonald’s), and its name is sure to catch some eyes. The store’s co-owner, Tim Prisk, said he’d been interested in opening a pizza store here for a while, and the opportunity at the eastern side of downtown was finally a fit.
As for the name?
“Well, we sat around for quite a while trying to think of a name, something that could relate to the area and students,” Prisk said. “And, we figured, 409, Joe Paterno’s wins before they took them away, would really go over well.”
And it has. Prisk said he’s received nothing but positive feedback from alumni who have stopped into the store in the few weeks that it’s been open. In fact, over Arts Fest weekend, Prisk said that former players and current Seattle Seahawks Jordan Hill and Garry Gilliam told an employee they were glad the store was respecting Paterno. On the other hand, some freshmen who have walked in didn’t know what the name referred to.
The Paterno themes of the eatery extend beyond its name, too. Every day, the restaurant serves a different special for $4.09, and six wings cost $4.09 all the time. 409 Pizza and Win(g)s is open from 11 a.m.-2 a.m. from Sunday through Thursday, and until 4 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. When students get back, it’ll be open until 4 a.m. on Thursday as well — by comparison, Wings Over is open until 1 a.m. on Thursdays. Prisk’s establishment also serves $1 slices of pizza like Canyon.
As one might imagine, Prisk shares the thoughts just about every Penn Stater has on the sanctions that cut Paterno’s win total to 298.
“I’m not real thrilled with the sanctions, obviously,” Prisk said. “I mean, I don’t believe you punish people like the students and student athletes who are there now that had nothing to do with it, obviously. And I don’t know how you take wins away from not just from Paterno but from the kids who played there too.”
Prisk, who hails from Port Matilda and has lived in State College for six years, used to work at the Sbarro in the HUB and said he’s been interested in cooking his whole life. Prisk isn’t a Penn State graduate himself, but has been a fan of the football team his whole life. He and girlfriend Karen Yew co-own the store.
As I interviewed Prisk for this story, an alumnus who had ordered a slice of pizza said, “Good job, 409!” to him, gave him a fist bump, and then said, “This place is gonna be…you have no idea. We’re all thankful. We gotta get the rest of the world to find out.”
“I don’t like the way everything ended with [Paterno]. I would love to see them give his wins back,” Prisk said. “He earned them, the players earned them. He’s done a lot for this school, put millions of dollars back into it. He deserves every bit of recognition he ever got.”