Burger Bracket

HVAB Staff Picks - The Tastiest Burger in Happy Valley

With recent new entrants to the local burger scene joining established favorites, Happy Valley provides burger connoisseurs with plenty of options to satisfy their cravings for the iconic menu item. The Happy Valley Adventure Bureau (HVAB) decided to stage a friendly competition among some of Happy Valley’s most popular restaurants, asking each to provide their best burger for a staff taste test. Burgers were rated based on flavor, quality, the bun and other components.

– by Lesley Kistner

With recent new entrants to the local burger scene joining established favorites, Happy Valley provides burger connoisseurs with plenty of options to satisfy their cravings for the iconic menu item. And let’s face it, Americans are crazy about burgers. We eat 50 billion burgers in a single year, with the average American consuming about 30 pounds annually. A little more research reveals that lined up, that is enough hamburgers to circle the Earth at least 32 times!

Capitalizing on this love for burgers, The Happy Valley Adventure Bureau (HVAB) decided to stage a friendly competition among some of Happy Valley’s most popular restaurants, asking each to provide their best burger for a staff taste test. Burgers were rated based on flavor, quality, the bun and other components.

Meet the Judges

HVAB team members Edward Stoddard, Lesley Kistner, Lori Miller, Andy Rupert, Judy Maurer and John Pratt, and HVAB intern and Penn State University student Nicholas Millspaugh.

Meet the Competition

State Burger Co.: Veggie Burger

We specifically asked the popular downtown Bellefonte eatery to share its best veggie burger. Unlike the latest fast food trend, the restaurant’s goal isn’t to serve a veggie burger that looks, feels or tastes like a beef hamburger. Instead, State Burger’s Veggie Burger is a delicious vegan-friendly blend of grains, mushrooms, onions, roasted red peppers, roasted corn and black beans.

Being “vegan-friendly” shouldn’t deter the most ardent meat eater. The flavorful burger is sure to satisfy traditional burger aficionados as well.

[Taste test confession: the burger was HVAB Communications Director Ed Stoddard’s first-ever veggie burger! He gave it a thumbs up.]

The burger was the top pick for HVAB Public Affairs Director Lesley Kistner thanks to the patty’s winning pairing with house-made garlic aioli, sweet & spicy pickle slaw, red onions, tomato, mozzarella and mixed greens on an oat-topped wheat Kaiser bun.

With more than 70 different options to customize your veggie burger – or beef, salmon, chicken or pork belly patty – State Burger has a menu to please variety of palates…and reasons to keep coming back for more.

Baby's Burger & Shakes: Patty Melt

A State College staple since 1987, Baby’s Burgers & Shakes features a 1950s theme, family friendly atmosphere – kids eat free on Tuesdays – and a variety of delicious burgers. What’s not to love?! The restaurant’s entry was a 6 oz. burger patty with Swiss cheese, grilled onions and 1,000 island dressing on grilled rye bread. The specialty burger is a bit of a Reuben sandwich meats hamburger. The tasty combination is not surprising considering the establishment that also offers a bacon and peanut butter combo (the Brain Fuel burger). The Patty Melt was HVAB Director of Digital Strategy & Metrics Andy Rupert’s top pick. He also gave props to Baby’s for offering the most bang for your buck and good burgers to boot!

The Field Burger & Tap: Field Burger with Bacon

The winner of State College Magazine’s Best of State College 2019 for Best Burger, the Field offered up the classic Field Burger with Lancaster bacon, typically served in the Toftrees Golf Resort restaurant with a side of house-made chips tossed in a signature salt. The burger’s thick, hearty “bacon deliciousness” put it over the top in a competitive race, making it Stoddard’s top pick. The stand-out flavor also comes from a private blend of sirloin, chuck, brisket and short rib that makes up the hand-formed creations.

The Hublersburg Inn: Hubie Burger

The Hublersburg Inn’s famous Hubie (Who-be) Burger is based on the cozy, historic inn’s popular Hotel Salad, which has been on the menu for more than 40 years. The burger is the right amount of juicy with onions caramelized to perfection, French fries and melted provolone cheese on a brioche bun. The hint of flavor and warmth provided by the Hubie’s equally as sought-after spicy garlic ranch sauce proves that SGR is good on more than just wings. The burger – one of six on the menu – was HVAB Membership Director Lori Miller’s favorite. Bonus, its comes with a crisp homemade pickle, the best complement to any great burger!

The overall staff pick is...

The Field Burger

The Field Burger & Tap

We all had our individual favorites, and we enjoyed sampling them all. While all the burgers are winners in our book, there can only be one overall HVAB staff pick for the tastiest burger. So, after the judges consumed every last crumb, tallied up the points for each burger in each category, our pick was The Field Burger & Tap! Congratulations!

We want to know what you think! Try them all and let us know your opinion – or tell us which other of Happy Valley’s amazing dining establishments serve up the best burger. Post your burger photo to Instagram and be sure to include the hashtag #happyvalleypa. Your pic just might end up on the HVAB website, HappyValley.com!

Did you know?

May 28 is National Hamburger Day! We suggest celebrating at your favorite Happy Valley restaurant.

The Happy Valley Adventure Bureau cannot stress enough that we believe in responsible and safe travel. We do encourage visitors planning business or leisure travel to Happy Valley to refer to the following resources for reliable information and updates regarding COVID-19. Please keep in mind that some articles on this blog were written in a different age pre-virus. Please refer to the individual business websites for current status and hours available. HVAB links to business and other appropriate pages at every opportunity.