Good Life

Champs downtown nears reopening after renovations

Renovations continue in the Champs on South Allen Street.
Renovations continue in the Champs on South Allen Street.

Champs Sports Grill is set to reopen its 139 S. Allen St. location in early November, according to management. The State College eatery has been closed since the summer for renovations.

“We are very excited to open up a new venue under the Happy Valley Restaurants umbrella,” company representative Dante Lucchesi said in a statement. “We look forward to providing the community with more jobs and more dining and social options downtown.”

The reopening comes in the midst of the NFL and college football season, and just as the NBA and the NHL begin theirs. The downtown sports grill updated its main floor with a rectangular island bar, tiered stadium seating, sky lights and an elevated platform for street-level seating. Lucchesi said the basement area will be available for booking private events once construction is completed.

The main bar will have more than 50 beers on tap. The group is considering adding a rooftop bar in the future, Lucchesi said.

Champs, which also has locations on North Atherton Street and in Altoona, is the fifth brand operated by Happy Valley Restaurants.

Big Bite Wings opens

Zee Elhaj knows his downtown eatery is a staple among the late-night crowd.

“I feel like a lot of people look at Are U Hungry as a late-night spot, so we’re not on their mind during the day,” he said.

But with baskets of wings, tenders and waffle fries, the owner of Are U Hungry is looking to burn more than the midnight oil. He opened Big Bite Wings and More in the same space at 111 Sowers St. in State College on Monday, bringing a slightly different flair from Are U Hungry’s hearty cheesesteaks and burgers.

Besides wings and homemade sauces, Big Bite features wraps and an assortment from the lunch-sandwich canon: BLTs, chicken-bacon-ranch and egg-and-bacon sandwiches are just a few examples.

“The idea behind Big Bite was to do something to complement Are U Hungry,” Elhaj said. “Basically because we felt like we could do better business at lunch time so we’re focusing on the wraps on that part, and so far we’re getting great feedback from everyone that has come in this week and over the past few months.”

Big Bite held a soft opening in June. With its grand opening, it is currently holding several specials. More details are on its Facebook page.

Big Bite’s and Are U Hungry’s hours are 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday through Wednesday and 11 a.m. to 3:30 a.m. Thursday through Saturday.

Central Pa. Community Action holds grand reopening

Central Pennsylvania Community Action held a grand reopening of its Bellefonte office on Saturday. The location had been closed for renovations for several months before reopening in September.

According to a release, the Bellefonte office will be the site for CPCA Works, the agency’s new workforce development program set to begin in January. The program provides training to unemployed community members in Centre County.

The anti-poverty agency has served Centre and Clearfield counties for about 50 years, helping with affordable housing, rental and utility assistance, food pantries, medical transportation and workforce training.

Roger Van Scyoc: 814-231-4698, @rogervanscy