Fans of Harrison’s Wine Grill & Catering have something new to look forward to in 2020. The brand is opening a new restaurant in Centre Hall, on the site of the former Mount Nittany Inn, where Above the Valley Event Center is currently operational.
Following the new restaurant’s opening on the top level of the building — perfect for unbeatable views of the agrarian countryside beyond — Above the Valley will remain a two-story event space on the lower two levels. The restaurant is slated to open in time for Valentine’s Day next year.
According to Kit Henshaw, co-founder, Harrison’s Wine Grill & Catering, the new restaurant has been a long time coming. She and co-founder and chef Harrison Schailey have considered adding a restaurant to the event center location since purchasing the property in 2016, but ran into a few difficulties.
“The challenge has been that the weddings and events need to be on the largest floor in order to accommodate the larger groups, and (the largest) floor is on the street level. The upper level was designed without an elevator or lift to make it accessible to all and we had to figure out how to squeeze accessibility into a tricky building design,” Henshaw said.
Their architect has solved the problem, creatively finding a restaurant space that doesn’t disrupt weddings and events and efficiently provides an elevator, Henshaw said. The permitting process is underway, with construction expected to begin in the next few months.
Anyone who has visited either the Mount Nittany Inn or the Above the Valley Event Center can attest to the location’s amazing view, which Henshaw calls “spectacular.” She feels the beautiful setting and menu together will provide a dining experience that’s appealing to all their guests, both those that are already familiar with Harrison’s Wine Grill and those just discovering Harrison’s for the first time.
“The menu (and atmosphere) will have the same feel as the current Harrison’s — with a mix of casual and more upscale dishes,” she says. “Some of the menu items will likely be the same (especially the favorites like mini crab cakes, Caesar salad, goat cheese fritters, fresh scallops and fish and chips), but guests can expect to find some new (selections) that reflect Chef Harrison’s take on more traditional items, like prime rib, smoked meats and BBQ, mashed potatoes and some fun bar foods. The menu is still being created, but we’ll definitely be changing things up for our new location.”
The new restaurant has yet to receive a name, but suggestions are welcomed. The restaurant’s website is currently under construction. For those that want to keep an eye on the restaurant’s progress and be one of the first diners to visit this exciting addition to the Centre County culinary scene, Henshaw recommends signing up for the Harrison’s email list, which provides updates on the brand and menus twice monthly. To do so, visit www.harrisonsmenu.com.