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What Changed In State College While You Were Away

Another summer has come and gone, and a host of changes to downtown State College were made while you were back home. Students got to see which local businesses survived the dog days of summer and which ones closed or changed.

Crunchee Munchees was perhaps the most notable business closure of the summer. It closed down after Arts Fest and left West College Ave. without a sanctuary of drunk food for the time being. Westside Village property manager Jessica Aikey couldn’t share too many details about the replacement when the establishment closed, but she said it’s set to become some sort of cafe that’s expected to open in October.

Kiwi Frozen Yogurt on College Ave. also closed its doors after more than eight years of business. It was owned by siblings Ryan and Matt Mealey, and a replacement hasn’t taken over Kiwi’s old property on 324 East College Ave. yet.

Meanwhile, the transformation of The Diner on West College to Hello Bistro began when it was gutted in June. The Diner closed its doors in April 2018 after more than 80 years in business, and its replacement is a fast-casual chain that’s very popular in the city of Pittsburgh. It features a salad bar, burgers, sandwiches, and soups, among other items. BRGR, which is also a favorite among Yinzers, is set to open right next door on September 9.

It wasn’t all doom and gloom for State College’s local businesses, though. Roots Natural Kitchen — a healthy-eating option that offers salad and grain bowls — opened on July 1. In addition to its signature menu items, Roots provides customers with the opportunity to create their own salad and grain bowls with a variety of ingredients, including beans, vegetables, cheeses, and dressings, among others.

HiWay Pizza reopened on College Ave. after rebranding as Inferno Brick Oven & Bar in 2008. As the location returns to its roots, keep an eye out for its iconic menu that includes homemade sauce and flaky crust vodka pizza.

Although they weren’t necessarily tangible changes, the announced plans of the James Building’s replacement and Hotel State College & Company being listed for sale were two significant pieces of news that happened this summer. The James Building, which houses The Daily Collegian’s offices, will be replaced by a six-story, 85,000-square-foot Center for Innovation, Making, and Learning.

The seven businesses owned by Hotel State College & Company — including the Corner Room, Pickles, and Zeno’s Pub — are available for a cool $2,500,000, but the iconic building on the corner of College Ave. and Allen Street itself isn’t for sale.

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About the Author

Mikey Mandarino

In the most upsetting turn of events, Mikey graduated from Penn State with a digital & print journalism degree in the spring of 2020. He covered Penn State football and served as an editor for Onward State from 2018 until his graduation. Mikey is from Bedminster, New Jersey, so naturally, he spends lots of time yelling about all the best things his home state has to offer. Mikey also loves to play golf, but he sucks at it because golf is really hard. If you, for some reason, feel compelled to see what Mikey has to say on the internet, follow him on Twitter @Mikey_Mandarino. You can also get in touch with Mikey via his big-boy email address: [email protected]

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