Since the unfortunate closing of Corrinado’s Pizza last December, downtown State College left vacant a worn out shack on Hetzel St. begging for a new establishment to settle in. Local pizza lovers rejoice, because a familiar Centre County business finally opened its doors to the Happy Valley public. Reigning from Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, the Italian dine-in, carry out, and delivery food joint Pizza Mia officially opened a new store at Corrinado’s old lot.
The 1,250-square-foot space at 114 Hezel St. hasn’t changed much since Corrinado’s left. The hut is still a small, no-seating area where customers approach the cashier, make their order, and hover around aimlessly until their order is ready for pick up. Pizza Mia is obviously known for its pizza by the slice, but it also supplies its patrons with a wide array of Italian food options stretching from soups, salads, and subs to comfort dishes such as calzones, burgers, and pasta.
Eager to see how Pizza Mia ranks among the other popular pizza joints downtown, we sent four of our writers to check out the new spot.
When I heard that another pizza shop was coming to downtown State College, I honestly rolled my eyes at the thought of it being any different than the other ones. We already have eight solid pizzarias for drunk students to merrily stumble into and stuff their mouths full at when 2 a.m. rolls around, and with Corrinado’s run coming to a recent end, why would anyone think that putting an additional Italian restaurant in would be a good idea? Nevertheless, I swallowed my sense of doubt and agreed to try Pizza Mia. My first bite was pretty disappointing to say the least; it just tasted like another generic piece of pizza. Without an extremely liberal dosage of crushed red pepper flakes, it wouldn’t have been all that special. However, the pizza’s few redeeming qualities were its crunchy crust, savory sauce, and cheap price. At $1 for a regular cheese slice, it wasn’t that bad and didn’t take very long to come out, but it was definitely average at best. Would I go back? I guess so. Pizza is my saving grace after all, but I’m definitely not in a hurry to return.
I was told we were going to Pizza Mia about five minutes before, so I went with literally no expectations. I left disappointed. While my fellow writers all stuck with the basic pizza slices, I decided to try the chicken parmesan sub. It was $6.50 for a six-inch — not the best value, but not terrible. I figured it was worth a shot. It’s hard to screw up a chicken parm sub, right?
Wrong. First off, the sub took 20 minutes to make. That isn’t an exaggeration at all; every other writer had eaten and left while I was stuck standing in the smoldering hot store waiting. After 20 minutes, the sub finally came. At this point, I was quite annoyed, and that only continued to increase. The chicken wasn’t that warm despite “going through the oven twice” — which allegedly caused most of the delay — and they put so much sauce on it that it soaked through the average-tasting bread and broke through the bottom, causing my chicken to fall everywhere. If you want pizza, stick with daytime Canyon — its specialty pizza during the day is delicious. If you want a sub, go to McLanahan’s deli or Jersey Mike’s. Don’t waste your time and money with Pizza Mia.
I never visited Corrinado’s before it closed, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from Pizza Mia’s. One thing is for sure — it was ~hot~ inside the building, so much that we couldn’t wait to order and leave. I ordered a slice of pepperoni and a Coke, because on this campus you can’t pass up a chance to drink a Coke. The pizza was relatively cheap, ringing up to only $3.50 for my slice, the Coke, and Gabi’s slice of cheese. However, we were hoping to be in and out, so our ordering options were somewhat limited based on time.
The pizza itself was tasty, but nothing incredible. Covered with pepperoni, the pizza was somewhat greasy, but I tend to like that sort of thing. I would definitely say this is one of the better pizzas I’ve had in State College, exceeding my expectations. Even if you’re not in the mood for pizza, I was impressed by the menu’s selection of appetizers, subs, wraps, and even salads. Ultimately, Pizza Mia’s is a good restaurant for carry-out, but dine-in options are basically non-existent.
After hearing Corrinado’s Pizza was closing for good, a glimmer hope shone through the darkness that is my pizza-infested life. As much as I love a late-night slice at Canyon or College Pizza, it’s been a long time since I ate a good, quality piece of pizza. I walked into Pizza Mia expecting an awesome change, but I was disappointed. I know it’s a new place and all, but the room was excruciatingly hot. I was sweating by the time I walked out. The menu was fairly extensive, offering whole pizzas, individual slices, strombolis, calzones, and salads. I went with a classic slice of cheese (mostly because it would have been 10 minutes for them to make the pizza I ordered) and stood on the porch to eat. I was underwhelmed. The pizza tasted just like it was from Canyon, only it was smaller and had a better crust. Ultimately, I think I’d still choose Canyon, not for the taste but for the price. You tried, Pizza Mia, but you can’t beat Canyon, no matter how hard you try.