Best Places to Eat in University Park, Pennsylvania
Penn State University rests on a rectangular shaped-slice of land that is tilted a bit eastward, and a large and well-kept campus is alive with activity during every Saturday in the fall when the Nittany Lions football team is in town. Beaver Stadium lies on the northern outskirts of campus and is surrounded by fields and parking lots. An epicenter of food can be found near the southeastern edge of campus, and we have visited the region and conducted extensive research in order to come up with a short list of the best places to eat every meal of the day.
Breakfast – Waffle Shop
It is true that this place only accepts cash, but that might be because they are absolutely “money” when it comes to everything from timely service to tasty food. A line that weaves out of the door of the relatively small establishment is a testament to its popularity, and students, alumni and locals alike enjoy filling up their bellies with down-home egg combinations, waffles, tasty ham and a variety of other early morning staples.
Lunch – Café 210
With two separate high profile outdoor dining areas and dozens of comfortable places to plant yourself before, during or after a Penn State football game on a Saturday, Café 210 is correct in calling itself the place to be seen near the State College campus. There are not a lot of frills to be found inside this three-story building built about a century ago, but the food and drinks continue to please the masses. It is an affordable place to fill up on alcohol, cooked meat and a variety of fried foods. Additionally, it has become a bit of a social hotspot, so those who are interested in experiencing a day in the life of Penn State football on the ground level should go ahead and make a visit to the well-known eatery.
Dinner – The Tavern
The Tavern is one of those establishments that re-creates their menu every single day and features a bevy of specials on any given night. Fortunately, they do not have the nose-in-the-air attitude toward the common customer, and they are ready to greet any type of Penn State football fan with open arms. The prime rib they serve up costs nearly $30, but it comes with a slew of sides and is prepared over the course of a few days using crushed peppercorns and a well-honed marinade starring garlic. Lamb, strip steak, veal cutlet and all sorts of fish can be had here. It is the perfect place to visit if you are in town for a weekend and are interested in experiencing the best of the area. The Hickory Grilled Filet Mignon is the equivalent of the most glorious 80-yard touchdown run you have ever seen.
Dessert – Insomnia Cookies
A bevy of instant love, respect and admiration should be given to a desert place that specializes in cookies and delivers them until 3 AM on any given morning. This place is known for a gigantic cookie that comes in a cardboard box normally used for pizza, which is a clear indication of their devotion to an understanding of the common Penn State football fan in the market for a late-night treat. Chocolate chunk cookies and peanut butter cookies are only a few of the highlights, and the only way you can go wrong is to not pay this place a visit next time you’re in town to see a Penn State football game.