Dilly Dilly, Philly Philly: Combatting The Pittsburgh Food Invasion

Ah, the City of Brotherly Love. A place filled with die-hard Eagles fans, the Liberty Bell, and a wealth of fantastic food that has been noticeably lacking in State College.

As of late, several Pittsburgh-based food shops have popped up in the area with BRGR and Hello Bistro opening this month. These joints join what’s become a food scene overpowered by Steel City favorites like Primanti Brothers (a.k.a. Pman), Salud, and Sheetz.

Thus, as a just-outside-of-Philly native, I find the lack of representation from my home city to be disconcerting. We Philadelphians have plenty of scrumptious delights that would suit our small town just as well as any Pittsburgh-based ones.

After all, Pittsburgh isn’t the state’s only major city with delicious eats. Philadelphia deserves a place in that category, as well. Here are some of the Philly-based food joints we would like to see make their way onto the State College scene if we want to even the score.

Chickie’s and Pete’s

While we may be boycotting all things Old Bay this week (Thanks, PJ) in preparation for the Maryland game, I think all Philly-area natives would agree that there’s a lack of representation in the crab fries department at Penn State.

Chickie’s and Pete’s crab fries are truly a sign that some form of higher power exists. Their simple, yet delicious recipe of crinkle-cut fries, seasoning, and cheese sauce is what dreams are made of — seriously, I’ve had a wet dream or two about them myself.

But even despite these world-renowned crab fries, Chickie’s and Pete’s is a fun and hip sports bar that would give Pman a run for its money. Perhaps that’s why State College has been depriving us of a Chickie’s and Pete’s, they know we’d be far too powerful with one.


Unlike most of the food joints on this list, honeygrow is not only a delicious but also a healthy Philly-based restaurant that would make a nice addition to downtown State College.

The spots are best-known for their stir-frys, salads, and no-sugar-added juices. Since honeygrow was only founded in 2012, the chain is still getting its bearing, but it’s come a long way in a few short years.

It has separated itself from much of the competition by providing high-quality, wholesome food to customers at a moderate price. Recently, locations have popped up in major cities like Boston, New York, and Chicago — why not State College next?


There’s a reason Tastykakes coined the slogan, “The Cake That Made Mother Stop Baking.” These tasty treats are really really good.

Even though Tastykakes might not technically count as a food spot, they are a must-have staple of Philly diets. From Butterscotch Crimpets to Kandy Kakes, the yummy treats are reminders of summer baseball games and childhood days.

Plus, for broke college kids, they’re cheap-and-easy snacks to munch on when the stress of school becomes too much or food is needed to cushion the insides of an intoxicated stomach.

Literally Any Good Cheesesteak Joint

Dalessandro’s, Tony Luke’s, Pat’s, Geno’s, Jim’s — oh, does the list go on.

Nothing hits the spot quite like a real Philly cheesesteak, but we could at least get a little bit closer. The combination of a foot-long hoagie roll, chopped steak, cheese (whether it be Whiz or otherwise), and onions is pure perfection.

I’d like to be able to go into a spot downtown, order a cheesesteak (whiz wit), and have the cashier understand what I’m talking about. But alas, we aren’t in Philly anymore and the closest I can get to a decent cheesesteak is Bradley’s.

Center City Sips

Like with TastyKakes, Center City Sips isn’t exactly a restaurant. Rather, as any of-age-Philadelphian could tell you, it’s a city-wide summer happy hour that runs from 5-7 p.m. every Wednesday throughout the summer.

Sips started in 2003 and has been a Philly favorite ever since. The event features over 80 different participating restaurant/bar locations — including a couple of pop-up beer gardens open only for the occasion — throughout Center City.

Now, imagine if we brought a town-wide happy hour to State College for every Wednesday of the school year and added a couple of beer gardens into the mix. Sounds amazing, right? Right.

We’re looking at you, Theresa Lafer.


Wawa > Sheetz. Need any more be said?

Your ad blocker is on.

Please choose an option below.

Sign up for our e-mail newsletter:
Support quality journalism:
Purchase a Subscription!

About the Author

Emma Dieter

Emma is a senior from the ever-popular "right-outside" Philly area studying labor employment relations and PR. She's also the Student Life editor for Onward State. She has been a Penn Stater from cradle and will continue to bleed blue and white, 'til grave. She loves trashy romance novels, watching Netflix, and crying over cute videos of dogs. If you ever want to talk more with her about how great she is, or simply have other inquiries, feel free to email her at [email protected]

Your Guide To Arts Fest 2024

From entertainment to parking restrictions, we compiled everything you need to know before Arts Fest 2024.

Let Erica Dambach Coach The USMNT: An Open Letter To US Soccer

Jurgen Klopp was never the answer. The 2015 College Cup champion, however, is.

Three Penn State Football Players Ranked In Top 100 Of College Football 25

Abdul Carter, KJ Winston, and Nick Singleton all made the cut.