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Staff Picks: Restaurants That Belong Downtown

Broadly speaking, downtown State College has a sweet food scene. There are Irving’s soft but still crispy bagels, Chipotle’s larger-than-a-small-child burritos, and practically every variety of drunk pizza all within a two-mile radius. Alas, nothing, not even Happy Valley, can be perfect; that includes the food selection. There are certain restaurants some of our writers can’t seem to live without. Here are our staff picks of what other food spots should be brought to Penn State.

Mark’s Texas Hots- David Abruzzese

I’m about to introduce a concept that might seem foreign to the unseasoned eater: The Garbage Plate. What is it, you ask? Why, it’s only the finest culinary creation Upstate New York — Rochester to be exact — has to offer. The dish consists of cheeseburger, macaroni salad, home fries, ketchup, mustard, and meat hot sauce. It is, by far, the epitome of what a college student should look for in drunk food, and my words simply do not do the dish justice. That’s why if I were to choose a restaurant of my choice to place downtown, it would undoubtedly Mark’s Texas Hots: home of the best Garbage Plates in Rochester.
I know what you’re all thinking: this could be the most unappealing food name in the history of food. Well, that’s not entirely false, but it brings the notion of “don’t judge a book by a cover” into play. This delicious, calorie laden, delicacy would be a hit during alcohol-fueled Friday and Saturday nights, satisfying a spectrum of pallets without skimping on quality. Think of it like R U Hungry, just minus the bread, drowning in condiments, and conveniently placed in a styrofoam container.
Don’t take my word for it though, just take I-80 three hours upstate to good ole Rochester, New York and try one for yourself!

Wawa- Doug Leeson

Is Sheetz better than Wawa? Yes. But is it fair for those who disagree to not be able to eat at their favorite gas station? No.

Sheetz is here for the western Pennsylvanians and the easterners (like me) who prefer it. Wawa, on the other hand, hasn’t expanded to Happy Valley despite a massive demand. Where Sheetz serves delicious fried junk, Wawa serves full multiple-course meals with small appetizers and awesome
sandwiches.

But the main reason that a Wawa should be here is for the rivalry. Imagine the debates, if not riots, that would break out between the Wawa and Sheetz fanatics. I’ll leave you with that image. Thanks for reading.

Shake Shack- Heidi Wong

Shake Shack’s famous ShackBurger is more than just a cheeseburger topped with lettuce and tomatoes. I have no idea what the exact ingredients of the mysterious ShackSauce smothered between the layers in a burger are, but one of them must be magic. That delectable sauce is what makes me crave a second burger. There are also other noteworthy items with a twist: applewood bacon burger with cherry peppers, vanilla custard with chocolate toffee, hot dogs with celery salt, and so forth. Plus, Shake Shack itself also brings memories of my home which happens to where the chain originated from – New York City.

Crumbs Bake Shop- Carolyn Popescu

Downtown state college is filled with chain restaurants. If there isn’t at least one cheap, greasy establishment of your choice here, your standards are way too high. I tried to think of a restaurant we don’t already have or could use for about 20 minutes. We have every burrito place you could want, fast food galore, Starbucks AND Dunkin’…the list goes on and on.

Downtown does not need another chain restaurant. However, we could benefit from more small scale, quaint shops that specialize in fresh pastries or coffee. A great example is Crumbs Bake Shop. Though primarily located in New York and New Jersey (my beloved motherland), Crumbs focuses on artisan cupcakes and desserts. These elaborate treats would truly stand out in a sea of burrito bowls, pumpkin spice lattes, and froyo. I can already envision the sorority girls oozing over their red velvet cupcakes. Especially during the special holidays, a Crumbs Bake Shop would be the perfect addition.

Jule’s Thin Crust Pizza- Allison Doluisio

While there is quite the selection of greasy, cheesy pizza around downtown, we lack pizza that’s a bit different with a multitude of toppings. That’s why Jule’s Thin Crust Pizza would completely stand out downtown. When I first heard of the popular chain a couple years ago, I automatically was against it. Why would someone want “healthier” pizza that uses only natural ingredients? Pizza, after all, is supposed to be oozing with greasy cheese! Well, don’t knock it until you try it. Once I took my first bite of Jule’s, I was a pizza convert. No wonder it’s one of the most popular spots from my hometown.

Whether you’re in a buffalo chicken mood or want something with a south of the border flavor, Jule’s has got you covered. And it’s “good” for you! Jule’s Thin Crust would be different than any other pizza place we have around campus. Because let’s face it: Cheese and pepperoni get boring.

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Posts from the all-student staff of Onward State.

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