New Drinking & Dining Options Enhance Downtown Bellefonte & Nittany Valley

– by Jodie Dello Stritto

Visitors to Bellefonte and surrounding Nittany Valley will be delighted to find new opportunities for dining and enjoying a local beverage.


Much of the excitement is centered around the highly anticipated re-opening of the space at the former Gamble Mill, which has undergone extensive renovations and will host a cocktail bar, a restaurant, and a boutique hotel. In addition, two new spots in Milesburg are perfectly situated to serve visitors.


The Republic, 160 Dunlop Street, Bellefonte

During summer 2021, The Republic put finishing touches on its new space and opened officially in August with a Wednesday-Sunday schedule.

Guests can anticipate a cozy, intimate environment with good, classic cocktails, quality wines, and craft beer, all unique to the area. The Republic is located on the first floor of the historic Gamble Mill on Bellefonte’s beautiful waterfront. With its original stone walls, brick floors and pillars and stunning wood beams, the space truly tells the story of the building’s history. It’s the perfect spot for sharing company and conversation after a stroll through town and along the water during your stay in Happy Valley.

Pine Grove Hall outside
Pine Grove Hall inside
Pine Grove Hall from Route 45 Getaways

Creekside at the Gamble Mill

After a successful soft launch in July, Creekside at the Gamble Mill is serving a menu that’s “locally motivated with global flavors,” with lunch and dinner Wednesday through Friday and brunch, lunch and dinner Saturday and Sunday. Check the website for hours. The beautifully renovated space also offers outdoor seating for up to 40 people.

With a focus on local ingredients, the menu will change both seasonally and biweekly to feature what’s fresh and available, according to Chef Michael Marx who returned with his wife to her hometown of State College to raise their children and contribute to a growing local food community. While his career spans the country and the globe, locals who loved his most recent endeavor, World’s Fare Catering and food truck, are thrilled that he’s created a permanent space at the Gamble Mill.

Creekside also offers a complete bar service, with Pennsylvania craft beers on tap, cocktails featuring Big Spring Spirits and various varieties and vintages of wines.

Happy Dishes 2
Happy Dishes 1

Happy Dishes, 200 Mill Street, Milesburg

After operating as a food truck since 2018, Happy Dishes is excited to bring its unique menu to a permanent dine-in home in Milesburg. Current hours are Wednesday-Saturday Noon-8 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

As a tribute to the many individuals and families who have relocated to Happy Valley, Happy Dishes strives to bring popular flavors and meals from other places, hoping someone might find a favorite childhood meal or a new favorite on their menu.

With many Southern style and BBQ specialties, Happy Dishes owners Michael and Kennita Johnson say its lobster roll and shrimp po' boy are among its most popular menu items. They love their space along the water and say they especially enjoy serving hungry customers who have finished a relaxing float or a kayak trip. It’s a great spot that’s friendly to families and offers plenty of space indoors and on the adorable patio it shares with neighboring restaurant Lupita’s.

Lupita’s Authentic Mexican Food, 200 Mill Street, Milesburg

Lupita’s in Milesburg is the second location for owners Maria Guadalupe and her husband, Emilio Lopez Ramirez, after their original location in State College gained popularity. Authentic is the key word when it comes to flavor; Lupita’s sources many ingredients from Mexico and provides a selection of house-made sauces and salsas that complete every dish. Make sure to add a unique drink with hibiscus sweet tea or sweet rice milk.

Lupita’s is open Sunday through Monday from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11 a.m.- 9 p.m. You’ll love dining outside on the landscaped patio.

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