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10 Stores and Restaurants State College Desperately Needs

State College boasts a wide variety of shops lining its streets. From family owned establishments like Irving’s on College Avenue to worldwide chains like Burger King at the HUB, there’s a large pool of stores and restaurants to choose from when deciding where to spend your extra cash.

That being said, there is no denying that there are certain places you wish you could drop your dollars at, but are unfortunately unavailable in Happy Valley. The following is a list of shops and restaurants that would do well in State College. The Nittany Mall is probably due for an expansion anyway.

1. Forever 21

Forever 21, offering trendy clothing with affordable price tags, is not just a motto to live by but a college girl’s best friend. Forever 21 has 480 locations around the world, but it has yet to grace State College with its presence. In fact, the closest Forever 21 stores are 100 miles away in Camp Hill, Pa. and Lancaster, respectively.

2. Wawa

We need a Wawa because multiple Sheetz are a car ride away, and friendly competition never killed anyone. Its mac and cheese would make for some A+ hangover food, and HoagieFest would make State College summers so much tastier. Plus, not having easy access during Gobbler season is just cruel.

3. H&M

In the same vein as Forever 21, H&M could be considered the former’s more mature older sister that provides wannabe fashionistas with relatively inexpensive options. The store also offers a nice section of business-appropriate attire, which would be useful for any spur-of-the-moment formal occasions. They also have a decent men’s section, so don’t feel left out boys. H&M did just open its online store this summer, so the distance is becoming a bit more bearable.

4. PF Chang’s

State College needs its staple chain Asian restaurant establishment. As a Chinese-food aficionado friend eloquently stated, “It’s like having a dragon boat festival in your mouth.” Photo ops in front of their signature stone horses could rival the Lion Shrine.

5. Apple Store

You know you want it. A glass box housing the latest technology from Apple in the middle of State College seems about right. Considering the chaos following the eLion crash of 2013, State College could use a few more techies.

6. Another Chipotle

We love you, Chipotle, we really do. Standing in a line that stretches outside for a burrito? Not so much. And after the almost-catastrophe of a man crashing his car into Chipotle this past summer, it’s always safe to have a backup Chipotle available. This would do well on the West side of downtown.

7. Cheesecake Factory

With 40,000 students at Penn State spending four years in Happy Valley, it’s inevitable that a few Penn State romances are going to spark up during that time, and the swanky lighting could make anyone look good. Besides, who wouldn’t want to drown exam woes with a slice of any of its decadent cheesecakes?

8. Bounce Fun Plex

The trampoline mecca is a favorite among Penn Staters despite being over an hour away in Shamokin Dam. Hasn’t the management noticed that a decent chunk of their weekend clientele sports Penn State attire? Wasted opportunities…

9. Arby’s

It’s been three years since that fateful car accident took Arby’s out of our lives, but it’s about time these roast beef sandwiches make a triumphant return to State College.

10. Grillers

I miss it. I miss it a lot. The greasy goodness that is Grillers has departed us once and for all, but where else can you purchase the magic of a Grillers grilled cheese? It’s not just the food, either. It’s the somewhat-sketchy-but-worth-it environment that made Grillers a go-to for Penn State students after a fun night with friends. It teased the State College community for quite a bit by closing indefinitely, which makes its permanent absence from Beaver Ave all the more depressing.

What would you like to see open (or re-open) in State College? Share in the comments.

About the Author

Yuka Narisako

Yuka legally immigrated to the United States via airplane in 1996 from the small island nation of Japan. Since then she has migrated throughout the country and now identifies herself as a senior majoring in Architectural Engineering. The Shandygaff is her Happy Place, though she was once kicked out of the establishment after breaking her shoe and screaming “I LOVE DAY DRINKING. I’M HAVING FUN.” Yuka is overly enthusiastic about life in general, but especially Ja Rule, Halloween, and the puffy black vest she purchased from the Gap. You can reach her at [email protected], or through Twitter @yukahontass.


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