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OS Reviews: State College Ghost Kitchens

In the middle of a global pandemic, restaurants have been forced to get creative in their marketing efforts, and the State College food scene is no exception.

Lately, “ghost kitchens” have been popping up on local food delivery apps. The concept is an entirely delivery-only restaurant sold on apps such as DoorDash and Uber Eats with no physical storefront. The catch is that it is often food from a known restaurant, rebranded under trendy, celebrity-tied names and packaging.

That rings true in State College, as well. The three most common ghost kitchens in State College are MrBeast Burger, Hotbox by Wiz Khalifa, and Tyga Bites, all named after celebrities.

Naturally, our hungriest and most hip staffers set out to see what the hype was all about. Here are their thoughts:

Hotbox By Wiz Khalifa

Colleen Nersten: Blazed Mac & Cheese

I can’t say I’m surprised that Wiz Khalifa launched a trendy, munchie-style menu. He’s a man of many talents! I was intrigued by the hot Cheetos dust and honestly just thought it was funny to call the mac and cheese “blazed.”

I was immediately nervous when I opened up the packaging. It looked pretty unappealing, but it wasn’t as terrible as I expected! The Cheetos dust was weird, but the mac and cheese was fine enough. You have to be really bad to mess up noodles and cheese, I decided. I spent $5 for about seven bites of food, so I can’t see myself purchasing it again. Overall, it was a fun experience, and I can’t stop wondering what restaurant actually prepared the food.

Charles Reinert: So Baked Hybrid Cookie

I had a sweet tooth today, so I went with the dessert option offered at Hotbox by Wiz. It was supposedly a brownie mixed with a cookie with some sea-salt caramel drizzled on top. I am a fan of the brookies offered at Domino’s, so I figured it was a good choice to go with. But I gotta say, I was pretty disappointed with my experience overall.

First, the final product looked nothing like the picture on the website. The website picture depicted an actual fuse between a brownie and cookie, but this was just a crushed up cookie with some brownies on top of it. The second thing about this was the price. As a broke college student, the $7 price tag for this was definitely not worth it, and that’s before the delivery fees and a nice tip for the delivery driver. After all the fees, this crushed cookie with brownies on it cost me $13, which is much more than I’m willing to pay.

I’m not sure if in-store pickup is available for Hotbox by Wiz, which would absolutely help with the price, but I think even $7 is too much for this. All in all, the product itself is passable (I mean, it is brownies and a cookie after all). But in my humble and unimportant opinion, the price does not make this an experience worth your time.

MrBeast Burger

Gabe Angieri: Chandler Style Burger

Overall, I would say I had a pleasant experience ordering from MrBeast Burger. I got a double-stacked burger with cheese and lettuce, as well as a side of fries. As a big fan of hamburgers, this one definitely didn’t disappoint. I wouldn’t say it was anything special, but it was a quality burger that I would certainly have again.

As far as the fries are concerned, they really tasted like normal fries I could cook myself in the oven. However, that’s not a bad thing necessarily, as they did the job. There was a small little piece of my bun missing, which threw me off for a few minutes. I’m not sure if my dasher got hungry or if the piece just fell off. I guess I’ll never know.

Tyga Bites

Hope Damato: Rolling Solo Pack w/ Buffalo & Tamarind Chipotle Sauce

Honestly, the peri peri dusted chicken bites weren’t that bad. I mean, you could definitely tell that these were previously frozen chicken nuggets you would find at the grocery store, but the spices were good.

I got peri peri because it sounded spicy, and I got buffalo sauce to match. I also got peri peri tater tots that were soggy, but as soon as I dipped them in buffalo sauce, they were revived. I probably wouldn’t eat this again since my total came out to be TWENTY-FIVE DOLLARS for freezer-burnt chicken via DoorDash.

Mackenzie Cullen: Sweet Potato Tyga Tots w/ Mango Habanero Sauce

Whenever I order food, 99% of the time I’ll add tater tots to my meal. So when I saw that Tyga Bites had tater tots on its menu, it was a no-brainer for me. There were technically two options you could choose from: regular Tyga Tots or sweet potato Tyga Tots. I picked the sweet potato Tyga Tots and, unfortunately, I was very disappointed by them.

As someone who religiously watches the Food Network, I’d like to think of myself as someone who’s an expert judge of food-tasting. What these Tyga Tots lacked were flavor and seasoning. They tasted like they were pulled right out of a freezer. Honestly, 1/10, would not recommend.

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