Plan the party & let the region’s chefs cook

– by Heather Longley

What is your party hungry for? These Happy Valley cuisine-art establishments literally cater to their customers’ taste buds—whether that vision is large-scale hoe-down backyard barbecue, a long work lunch or a private sit-down menu tasting.

Nittany Catering Crostinis

- Photo courtesy of Nittany Catering

These catering establishments aim to use fresh, local and seasonal ingredients whenever possible and offer gluten-free and/or vegan options.

Brown Dog Catering
112 E. Pine St.

Brown Dog Catering co-owner and chef William DeBoer said he and his crew are as comfortable adding an elegant touch to a backyard barbeque as they are when asked to stretch their culinary limits—“like when we had a French bride ask for a croquembouche to stand in for a wedding cake.”

While the “super creative” or “super simple” menu creation is ultimately up to the customer, he said he likes to work with the client to build an experience around specific tastes, seasons, needs, budgets and type of party.

“We do everything from burgers and dogs at backyard parties to full-on sit-down dinners with all-out china plates and wine glasses,” he said.

Good Day Café
286 W. Hamilton Ave.
State College

The casual coffeehouse and lunch destination Good Day Café is popular for its Signature Box Lunch, which includes an entree wrap or sandwich, a side of chips and a choice supersized homemade cookie.

Most of the pastries are made in-house, as well as their tomato pesto aioli, white bean filling and tomato jam for the wraps.

“We recently started offering delivery of 10 or more bottled lattes for special times of the year, like teacher appreciation or employee appreciation,” said Katie Feliz, social enterprise operations and development specialist at Strawberry Fields.

Feliz said every purchase at Good Day Café helps it to empower its staff members of diverse abilities through meaningful employment.

Chef Paul Kendeffy

- Photo courtesy of Chef Paul Kendeffy

Harrison’s Eat Well Catering
559 N. Pennsylvania Ave.
Centre Hall

Chef Harrison Schailey and spouse and partner Kit Henshaw have cooked themselves up a Happy Valley foodie and catering destination. What started with a carryout deli-style establishment Harrison’s To-Go has since grown into Eat Well Catering and Mount Nittany Overlook event center. The Harrison’s event center nestled atop the peak heading into Centre Hall offers full-service and highly detailed catering options.

The extensive sample menus feature, but are not limited to, mini crab cakes with dill aioli, marinated mushrooms, shawarma chicken, kitchen-crafted seasonal soups and grilled platter selections. stuffed filo cups, and the chef’s sweet-and-savory rosemary chicken salad.

Hoag’s Catering
3500 E. College Ave.
Suite 1150
State College

Owner-operator Ashley Huey-McMurtrie describes her setup as “every person’s caterer.”

“We can provide a simple continental breakfast or a formal dinner buffet,” with popular selections including carved prime rib, honey mustard pork loin, grilled portabella and cheesy potato casserole.

She said her team has a mobile kitchen, which makes it easy to grill and prep on-site.

Nittany Catering Charcuterie

- Photo courtesy of Nittany Catering

Paul’s Provisions
128 McAllister St.
State College

Chef Paul Madrid said his crew will work with each client for their special luncheon, barbecue, reception or high-end, multi-course meal. Flavors the chefs have conjured in the past include braised boneless beef short ribs with red wine au jus, roasted corn maque choux, fried chicken and waffle skewers and potato “mac” and cheese.

Every meal is a little different, but he said they “have a lot of fun with Southern California-style Mexican food.”

“We love any event where the client has a passion for food like we do,” Madrid said.

Nittany Catering
3208 Benner Pike
Suite 111

Nittany Catering offers high-quality, homemade meal prep featuring seasonal ingredients as well as a convenient pour service. Everything is made to order fresh, in house.

Popular hors d’oeuvres include mini beef Wellington, and a house-roasted tomato crostini with a balsamic reduction sauce, while customer favorites include chicken in sun-dried tomato cream sauce and walnut and quinoa-stuffed peppers.

Chef Paul Kendeffy
State College

If you like to host at your home, Chef Paul Kendeffy is ready to serve. Using the freshest ingredients of the customer’s preference, the longtime Centre County cuisine artist (Zola, Carnegie House) said every menu is custom-created by request, and he will prepare food to accommodate any health concern.

His party specialty is passed and displayed hand-crafted appetizers, but he also offers private full-menu, sit-down tasting and private cooking classes.

The Happy Valley Adventure Bureau publishes up-to-date event information at