Café Verve’s Opening Offers A Much-Needed Vegan Dining Option Downtown

Cafe Verve, a vegan restaurant promising top-notch salads and smoothies, opened in State College in December to many students’ delight. We sent two of our staffers to see what the establishment had to offer. Here’s what they thought of the eatery.

Shawn McGinnis

After hearing that a new gluten-free restaurant was coming to State College, I was excited to have a new spot to eat. As someone who has an allergy to gluten, my options to eat out are few and few between. I tried out the new Cafe Verve and was pleasantly surprised. The Thank U Berry Much smoothie tasted delicious but was noticeably lacking dairy. There was a distinct aftertaste, but it was easily overpowered by the flavor of the fruit.

I only had the smoothie, but there were dozens of options for those with food allergies like me. I’m not able to eat out often since there aren’t many gluten-free options, so this is a welcome addition to the food scene in State College. I hope other companies follow suit and bring new and exciting food options to the Penn State community.

Tim Reams

As someone who only rarely eats meat or fish, I was excited to see a vegan café come downtown. Though I still love my eggs and dairy, I knew the options would have to be creative, and for me, they delivered big time in all the essential departments: flavor, presentation, and price. I ordered the “chicken” sandwich and “mac ’n’ cheese.”

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I’ve never eaten at a restaurant with a full vegan offering (meaning no eggs, no dairy of any sort, and especially no meat or animal products). As someone who eats “chik’n” patties for lunch at least four times per week, I had high expectations for the faux chicken, and it didn’t disappoint. The “meat” was breaded, seasoned, and cooked to absolute perfection, and to my liking, was a good portion size. The vegan mayo was what really surprised me on the sandwich, as it was impossible to tell the difference between it and the normal mayonnaise I have at home. The sandwich also came with a side of vegan tortilla chips, which were a crunchy, perfectly-seasoned surprise.

The sandwich was good but I’ll admit I wasn’t sure what to expect from cheese-less, dairy-free mac and cheese. I had no clue how it was made or what went into it, but employees told me the recipe comes from a lot of vegetables, seasonings, and nutritional yeast, which is sort of cheesy tasting. Still, I remained skeptical.

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I dove in when I noticed it looked like homemade mac and cheese, and though I was expecting the worst I was instead pleasantly surprised. Obviously it wasn’t identical to that Kraft Mac flavor, but it was very garlicky (in a good way) and had a taste more like parmesan cheese.  If I could realistically compare it to any dish I’ve had before, it reminded me of broccoli and shells more than mac and cheese, but was nonetheless delicious.

Cafe Verve is a unique, rustic dining experience downtown. Whether you’re a devoted vegan or just looking for a little bit of clean eating downtown, I’d recommend trying Cafe Verve, as the food is both unique and delicious. It’s also pretty photogenic:


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