New Benner Township restaurant in former showroom shows off

A restaurant that opened last week comes with convenience and a little history for owners Travis Fischer and his wife, Melissa.

Fischer said that TJ Colts, 2904 Benner Pike, Bellefonte, is a family diner with a rustic flair.

“We specialize in home-cooked, traditional meals with a variety on our menu,” Fischer said.

The menu includes home-style favorites such as roasted turkey, meatloaf and steak, and salads and sandwiches.

About two years ago, Joel Confer, of Confer Ford, 2892 Rolling Ridge Drive, Bellefonte, offered the Fischers space at a nearby facility that he owned. After about five months of renovations, the 6,000-square-foot facility seats about 100 and currently employs 14 people. The goal, Fischer said, is to employ between 16 and 25 people. The TJ Colts logo includes a stallion.

The eatery is next door to the Confer dealership.

“I didn’t want to pass up that opportunity,” Fischer said. “We were looking for something that was easily accessible from State College and Bellefonte, and we found it.”

The space was formerly a showroom that was built in 1999. But it also comes with family ties, Fischer said.

Harold Flick, Travis Fischer’s late grandfather, was a salesman for Dunlop Ford, which stood on the same grounds as the restaurant.

“There is just a little bit of irony here,” Fischer said.

Fischer has been in the restaurant business for more than 20 years. He and his wife have been managing the Mountain Valley Diner in Wingate, which is owned by Fischer’s mother.

The Fischers, parents of five, said that at anytime, their children are also a part of the restaurant, making it family-run.

The restaurant offers dine-in and drive-through options. Fischer’s first and middle names, Travis John Colt, served as inspiration for the restaurant name.

“The idea came from Melissa when we were brainstorming names,” Fischer said.

The restaurant is open 10:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. every day. The drive-through is open at 6 a.m. for breakfast every morning.