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Onward Debate: Who Has State College’s Best Breakfast?

Breakfast is very important to the citizens of State College. Something as simple as “how do you take your coffee?” can lead to a discussion on the relative merits of sugar and an origin story on Colombia’s best blend. In a place with such a high population density, being able to stand out amongst your peers is enough of a struggle. Now, when you’re catering to the angry whims of hungover, tired college students — many of whom hail from the New York/New Jersey area and are subsequently complete elitists about bagels — this task becomes even more tricky. For that reason, our staff got together and argued about the best spot for an early meal downtown, with divisive results.

The Naked Egg – Noel Purcell

I’ve written at length about The Naked Egg, so I’ll be brief: It’s one of the best breakfasts I’ve ever had not just in State College, but in my entire life. Their eggs benedict, coffee selection, and attentive service set up a breakfast that is just about unstoppable. Being a bit far from campus is a blessing in disguise because if it had a location in the heart of downtown, the line would be impossible. Seriously, it blows away all competition.

Irving’s – Sarah Hanrahan

Ain’t no place you’re going to catch me on a Sunday morning except for the Irving’s line. Yes, it’s a long line and things get ugly during the wait, but once you take that first bite of bagel you know it was worth it. You can go for something wild and crazy, like the classic breakfast special, but really there’s only one thing to eat after a night out — bread. So, your best bet is an everything bagel toasted with cream cheese. It fills you right up, and you feel like your stomach is hugging you from the inside out. They also have the perfect ratio of everything to bread, and they give you the perfect amount of cream cheese for your bagel, no more, no less. Also, if you’re feeling like a wild card, try a crazy cream cheese. They have veggie! They have pumpkin! Sometimes, they even have chocolate! Anyway, with this bagel, you’re going to want two drinks — a small iced coffee (free refills, stay forever and drink all the coffee) and a smoothie. Irving’s smoothies are the most beautiful things you will ever taste. Plus, they have really fun names. Laguna Peach? Joe Papaya? What could be more fun! Here’s the tl;dr: Irving’s has a long line, but it’s really yummy.

Bagel Crust – Jon Deasy

I’m a Yinzer, born and bred, but I’ve spent my fair share of time around New Yorkers to realize the two things they hold closest to their hearts are pizza and bagels. Bagel Crust is the only place in town to deliver that authentic New York bagel taste. Unfortunately, to my own dismay, I was deeply hurt when fellow staffers decided to bully this business while experiencing its growing pains. I prefer my eggs fried and quite frankly, I’m scared to meet the person who prefers microwaved eggs. That’s a person who probably also chooses Vladimir over Belvedere. Every time I go, I order a fried egg sandwich with cheese, leaving the meat pending as a game time decision. The sausage is firm yet chewy and the bacon tastes similar to something your grandpa makes. With their wide variety of freshly-baked bagels to choose from, ranging from everything to chocolate chip, your breakfast needs will never go unsatisfied. Sure, you’re going to pay an extra dollar or two when choosing Bagel Crust over McClanahan’s, but this is breakfast, dammit, the most important meal of the day. Instant oatmeal just doesn’t quite cut it these days. It’s a meal with the responsibility to set the tone for the day. So whether you’re getting ready for the final of your life or fighting a hangover so you can tailgate for a dreaded noon football game, I can guarantee you a breakfast sandwich from Bagel Crust will put you in the ideal state of mind.

Original Waffle Shop – Sarah Peterson

Okay, let me preface this by saying that I tend to think of myself as a kind, meek soul who doesn’t engage in bitching just to bitch (lol jk). However, the subject of breakfast is one I feel strongly about. I consider myself a scrambled eggs enthusiast and can eat them for all meals, regardless of the time of day. Now that I have established my credibility, I have to say it: The Original Waffle Shop, located both on N. Atherton St. and W. College Ave., is the best breakfast destination in State College. That fake Waffle Shop downtown is just not as good. I’m not going to go as far as to say that it sucks, because it’s just okay, but it’s not as good. Let’s put it this way, why would you get store-brand macaroni and cheese if Kraft macaroni and cheese is the same price? Right. You wouldn’t. Also, can we talk about the excessive line at the fake Waffle Shop every single day? Even on a busy football weekend or during Arts Fest the line at the OG Waffle Shop isn’t obnoxiously long. To be fair, I have never eaten a waffle at the OG Waffle Shops. I apologize to all waffle-lovers out there and I solemnly swear that I will one day eat one. However, for now, I will bask in the wonderful flavors of the perfectly seasoned home fries, impeccably well-done bacon, and fluffed-to-perfection scrambled eggs. If you find your way to the boonies of State College, make a trip to the Original Waffle Shop. You’re never going to go back to that imposter. Try and argue with me once you’ve eaten there.

Waffle Shop – Maddie Lippincott

Even though this is a no-brainer, I guess I’ll still spell it out for you guys anyway: the “Fake” Waffle Shop, as it’s referred to, on College Ave., is the best breakfast place in downtown State College for more than just a few reasons. First of all, you get a lot for your money and contrary to the name, there are plenty of things to choose from besides waffles. They don’t outshine their pancakes or their eggs or their home fries, they’re all equally awesome. Second of all, and most astonishingly, even though the line always looks crazy long, they turn tables like they were put on this planet to do so; they have people going out just as fast as they have them coming in. Honestly, I’ve never waited longer than 15 minutes for a table, which we all know is the literal worst when you’re hungover. Lastly, the service is super admirable. Quality isn’t sacrificed based on influx; you’re going to get the same great service if you’re one of only three people in the restaurant or one of 50. Basically, the bottom line is that the “Fake” Waffle Shop is the shit because it’s Penn State tradition and you don’t mess with Penn State tradition.

The Corner Room – Alicia Thomas

Okay, so maybe you can only get breakfast at The Corner Room once a week. But excluding Sunday, what days are you even trying to go out for breakfast anyway? For the price of one meal at The Waffle Shop, you can get an all you can eat breakfast buffet at The Corner Room. No, it’s true. Is your heart set on waffles and sausage links? That can be round one. Round two can be some quiche, vegetarian or not. Round three could be cream chipped beef on a biscuit. Round four could be waffles and fresh fruit. Your breakfast beverage of choice, whether it’s orange juice or coffee, is also unlimited. Need I say more? 

Breakfast Sucks – Stephane Hardinger

Nowhere. Breakfast is overrated as hell and a totally unnecessary meal. Most people eat lunch within four hours of breakfast anyway. Just cut out that first meal! It took me only a couple months to train my body to stop being hungry in the morning, and my life has gotten so much better since. Now I don’t have to worry about eating past 11:30 a.m., and I only have to worry about providing two meals for myself. Eggs suck in all non-breakfast sandwich forms, milk is overrated, and coffee is a childish stimulant consumed by people who don’t have the willpower to wake themselves up like adults. If I had to eat breakfast somewhere, I would go to McLanahan’s, but I would much rather eat a bowl of Cheerio’s or a bagel in my house if I were hungry than go out, because spending extra time and money on an irrelevant, overhyped meal with little to no impact on the rest of your day isn’t my idea of a productive use of resources.

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Posts from the all-student staff of Onward State.


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