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Staff Picks: Downtown Restaurants We Miss Dearly

As the great Bob Dylan once said, “The times they are a-changin’.” 

The restaurant landscape in downtown State College has changed a lot over the past few years, especially amid the coronavirus pandemic. Despite being introduced to new places to grab food such as Hello Bistro and Snap Pizza, it’s easy to miss some of the State College staples and favorites that have closed over the years.

Our staffers reflected on some of the downtown restaurants they miss the most.

Frankie Marzano: Taco Bell

Very few things satisfied my hunger more than going to Taco Bell on College Ave. at 2 a.m. Whether you were coming back from the library or a night out, you were always destined to get a great meal at this fine establishment. Unfortunately, you don’t appreciate what you have until it’s gone.

Even though Yallah Taco now occupies its former location, nothing will ever beat the classic Taco Bell chain. On the bright side, we still got to send Taco Bell off properly with a candlelight vigil.

Colleen Nersten: Baby’s

As a sophomore, beloved downtown spots like Spats Cafe and Herwig’s Austrian Bistro are nothing more to me than an old legend former managing editor Anthony Colucci mentioned in a post last year. But I’ve been here long enough to know that Baby’s really was a downtown landmark. While there were alleged plans to reopen under a new owner, it appears it may be gone forever, and that is really sad.

The iconic 50s-style diner was not only a place to get huge greasy portions, but it was somewhere you’d show off to your friends from home and an easy Friday night option since it’s a short walk from campus. The interior design was picture-perfect and the place to be on a football weekend. While nicer restaurants are great for alumni, Baby’s felt geared toward students, and I really miss that.

Ryen Gailey: Qdoba

I really miss the Qdoba downtown location that used to be open right next to Cafe 210. Ever since it closed, I honestly find myself ordering delivery a lot more often since I don’t have a car to drive to the off-campus location. The problem with that is I’m paying significantly more money now to get Qdoba with all the delivery fees than I would if I could just walk downtown to get my food myself. The staff at the Qdoba on College Ave was always really friendly and the service was incredibly quick and helpful. Now, if I want Qdoba, it needs to be planned out.

Qdoba was also fairly quiet and empty at times, so when I would go downtown to eat, I felt totally comfortable eating alone inside if I wanted to. It was cheap, it was close, and the food was so damn good. Now, every time I walk past the closed location, I shed a tear.

Connor Donohue: Ye Olde College Diner

Before my time at Penn State, this was the go-to stop whenever my family and I would make the trip up to State College. As a native of New Jersey, I know a good diner when I see one. This place wasn’t one of those good diners. The food wasn’t good, and it was overpriced. But I miss it for the memories created there, and I wish it was still there because I bet the food would taste a million times better when I would be hungover. Still, RIP Ye Old College Diner. You kinda sucked, but I still miss you.

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Posts from the all-student staff of Onward State.


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