Looking for something new to try in State College? Maybe some octopus will satisfy the exotic craving.
Two new dining options are set to open up right on College Avenue – Little Szechuan, 228 W. College Ave., next to Five Guys and Starbucks, and Tadashi Japanese Restaurant, 206 W. College Ave., by Qdoba and 2000 Degrees.
Kevin Kassab, supervisor of inspection and health officer in the State College borough, said Little Szechuan owner Yean Ngan has created a small restaurant with 20 booths and seven barstools, with a full service dine in and take out options.
Kassab said at this point, the owners will submit their plans and then the health department will approve them and do a final inspection once everything is in place. The license will then be issued, Kassab said.
“We have a big family, so we think this might be good for us to try,” Ngan said via email.
He said the restaurant has a large menu and will be serving some American-Chinese food, as well as authentic Szechuan food.
Ngan said he isn’t sure when he will open Little Szechuan, as he is still waiting for the city to approve his permit.
“We don’t joke around because this is a family business; we serve the best we can to all our customers,” Ngan said.
Tadashi Japanese Restaurant is of similar size to Little Szechuan, but has very different food options.
Nick-named after owner Jerry Gau, this new restaurant will be serving traditional Japanese food, Eleven Gau, wife of Jerry Gau, said.
Eleven Gau said the menu hasn’t been fully developed yet, but will include yakitori, traditional appetizers, teas, Hirata buns and every college student’s favorite, ramen. Yakitori is composed of all grilled chicken, while the Hirata buns are steamed buns with pork, original spicy sauce and mayonnaise sauce, Gau said.
She said that while they won’t be serving sushi just yet, takoyaki, a fried dough ball with octopus in the middle, red ginger, scallions and tempura scraps with takoyaki sauce, will be an option. Eleven Gau said takoyaki is a very common appetizer in Japan.
“My husband has more than nine years of experience working at a variety of authentic Japanese restaurants,” Eleven Gau said via email. “He is an excellent chef and most importantly he loves to cook.”
She said that she hopes Tadashi will give the State College area a bigger picture of what Japanese food is all about.
“We used to live in New York, and Japanese cuisine is very popular, especially around college/university areas,” Eleven Gau said. “And of course we are confident that State College students and new friends will love Tadashi food.”
Eleven Gau said they are getting prepared for the opening and are very happy with it so far. She said they hope to have a grand opening at the end of December after all of the inspections have been passed.
Harry Zhang, owner of Yummy Café, 320 E. Calder Way, another Chinese restaurant in the area, said he’s not concerned about similar establishments opening up nearby.
“I’m not worried, business is good,” Zhang said. “We get plenty of students to come in.”
Megan Wesley can be reached at (814) 865-1828.