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Happy Valley Restaurant Week Hopes To Inspire Diners To Eat Out Again

Matt Fern

Nearly two dozen Centre County restaurants are showing off their food and highlighting the region’s culinary scene this week.

Happy Valley Restaurant Week features select restaurants in State College, Bellefonte, Lemont, Pine Grove Mills and Hublersburg. Each participating establishment will offer diners one “extra-special” dish from June 21 to 27.

Maggie Anderson, a writer and marketer who’s organizing the event, said Happy Valley Restaurant Week aims to rejuvenate business in Centre County as the COVID-19 pandemic lightens up.

“Happy Valley Restaurant Week is a weeklong celebration of our creative chefs and culinary artists here in Centre County,” she said. “We’ve asked them all to create one special dish that they’re offering this week and to have fun with it, especially after this past year.”

Participating restaurants cover the bases for plenty of palates. Bill Pickle’s Tap Room in State College, for example, is offering a pulled beef brisket sandwich, while Pine Grove Hall in Pine Grove Mills is showcasing a Vietnamese beef heart tostada.  

Credit Matt Fern
State Burger Co.'s coconut-infused strawberry milkshake is perhaps the sweetest item featured during the event.

Some establishments are also offering drink specials, including cocktail pairings and strawberry milkshakes.

Anderson said she hopes everyone will find something to enjoy throughout the weeklong event.

“When you see this wide variety that we have, I think it almost makes you look at old places in a new light,” she said. “There are a couple of restaurants that opened in the pandemic that people may not have been to at all yet.”

Anderson and business partner Matt Fern, a photographer and designer, worked with the Happy Valley Adventure Bureau to reimagine Happy Valley Culinary Week – a similar event in the region that began about a decade ago.

Happy Valley Culinary Week offered dishes on a limited menu with a fixed price. Anderson hopes this year’s event will offer more flexibility. She said there’s pent-up demand for the restaurant scene now that COVID-19 cases are down and the state has repealed most of its COVID restrictions.

“People are excited that things are reopening, and [restaurants] are ready to serve,” Anderson said. “I’m just excited to see people out and having fun and having a feeling that might’ve been missing for a year or more.”

Happy Valley Restaurant Week is funded in part by a grant sponsored by the Happy Valley Adventure Bureau. Before this summer’s event even began, the grant was renewed, setting the table for another Happy Valley Restaurant Week in 2022.

You can learn more about Happy Valley Restaurant Week by visiting its website.

Editor's Note: Happy Valley Adventure Bureau is a financial supporter of WPSU.