Onward Tastes: Penn Pide Leaves Our Writers Wanting More
Penn Pide, a Mediterranean-style restaurant, opened its doors on West Beaver Ave. this past week. The restaurant set up shop in the long-vacant storefront next to Saint’s Cafe.
Similar to Saint’s, the inside of the store is very tiny with several tables around the store. The shop is fast casual style, meaning one orders from the counter and then seats themselves. The restaurant’s main menu item pide is a Turkish dish very similar to pizza or a flat bread. It contains various toppings and is often eaten during the time of Ramadan. Along with pide, the restaurant carries several Mediterranean soups, stews and sandwiches.
We sent two of our eager writers to test the brand new spot out.
One of my favorite things about downtown State College is the ability to dine around the world without leaving my neighborhood. I’m a quintessential foodie with a confession: I know very little about Mediterranean cuisine. So I was eager to give this place a try. Upon walking in, my fellow writer Drew Klingenberg and I couldn’t pronounce a single thing on the menu. Most of these food items are written in Turkish, so we needed a little guidance when ordering. Still completely lost, we ordered Ispanakli (spinach) pide, a bread containing a mixture of spinach, red bell pepper, feta, mozzarella, and eggs.
At first glance, this pide thing was a funky looking personal pizza. The football-shaped flat bread was fresh out of the oven, with the cheese baked to a crispy perfection on top. I could taste the array of ingredients working together to enhance the spinach flavor from the first bite. The doughy crust felt like I was biting into a slice of sicilian pizza from New York City, but with a more Eastern European feel. I would consider it a doctored up version of the spinach and ricotta pizza many know and love.
However, after about four pieces my tiny stomach was too full to continue. Don’t worry! I saved the leftovers and I am currently snacking on them while I write this. Penn’s Pide has me sold and I will definitely be returning to try something new.
As a coffee enthusiast, I usually find myself around Saint’s Cafe and that part of town in general. One day when getting my daily coffee fix, I noticed a new Mediterranean restaurant next to Saint’s was going in, and I was more than inclined to give it a go. Before college I wasn’t a big fan of Mediterranean food but one basically has to try all the different cuisines in State College. Naturally I grew an affinity for food from all around the world while at Penn State.
When walking into Penn Pide, my excitement to stray from the norm and try something new was off the charts. Even though I had a difficult time pronouncing all the different items on the menu, I was delighted to indulge in something that reminded me of a flatbread. Delving in a vegetarian, spinach-prominent flatbread, I was overwhelmed by the taste of perfectly cooked dough as well as vegetables that melted in my mouth. I hate to compare this Mediterranean piece of art to an American fast food establishment, but it reminded me of D.P. Dough — just much better.
Simply put, I would absolutely go back. The staff was friendly and all had a smile on the whole time they helped us navigate the menu, and they directed us to a pretty awesome choice. So if you are really in the mood to try something with fresh ingredients and a unique taste, check it out. I was not disappointed and I’m positive you won’t be either.
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