‘One-of-a kind’ food on the menu of new State College eatery

Little Food Court will open at 250 E. Calder Way in State College, where Rotelli was previously located.
Little Food Court will open at 250 E. Calder Way in State College, where Rotelli was previously located.

A new restaurant is planning to open in the former home of Rotelli in downtown State College.

Little Food Court, located at 250 E. Calder Way, will offer a wide variety of Asian-American-style fare in a fast-casual setting, owner Ken Ngan said. True to its name, he added, it will be set up food-court style, and offer everything from congee and Hong Kong-style noodles to Malaysian and Taiwanese crushed ice, bubble tea and smoothies.

Plans, originally, were to open at the end of February. Ngan said the date has been pushed back, and he expects to open later in March.

“There will be something for everybody,” said Ngan, whose family also owns the popular Little Szechuan in State College.

Ngan said he wanted to bring quick, affordable and tasty food to the town, but also fare that is hard to find elsewhere. For instance, congee, a popular rice porridge dish in China, is simple to make and can be made in many ways.

“If you want to have something soft or light, that’s what it’s good for,” he said. “This food will be one-of-a-kind.”

Ngan, who has more than 20 years in the restaurant industry, said he’s had the idea for the eatery since his family opened up Little Szechuan in 2013. The eatery will also feature milkshakes and a hot and cold bar.

Rotelli closed in October after more than a decade in business.

Qdoba to open North Atherton location in State College

Qdoba Mexican Eats, a Tex-Mex-style fast-casual chain, plans on opening a location in State College on March 7, a company spokesperson said. Located at 1908 N. Atherton St., the restaurant is part of the quickly developing site across from Trader Joe’s Plaza.

“The restaurant’s location is centered off of Atherton Street. and very visible to the main road,” a Qdoba spokesperson said in a statement. “We hope local residents will come in and try our mouthwatering burritos and bowls, cheesy quesadillas, bold Loaded Tortilla Soup, smoky Habanero BBQ Brisket and more.”

The company-owned location joins a franchised location, located at 208 W. College Ave., in downtown State College.

The North Atherton location features 110 seats. While there’s no drive-thru, the brand has made its mark with quick service of its bowls and burritos, adding about 300 franchises in the past decade.

The North Atherton location is in the process of hiring and plans on carrying about 20 or more employees.

The restaurant’s projected hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.

State College store to close after about 30 years in business

A long-time State College store is planning to close its doors.

The Granary Natural and Ethnic Foods, located at 2766 W. College Ave., will close on April 14, owner Leena Scholten said, after about 30 years in business. Scholten, who is retiring, opened the shop in May 1988.

“It’s been a good run,” she said. “I’m very gratified that I have been able to do it for such a long time.”

Besides natural supplements, the store carries “only the least processed forms of food,” according to its website. The Helsinki, Finland, native spent childhood summers on her great aunt’s farm and grew up with a love of natural foods.

She attended Penn State to study business. When she heard the local natural foods store was closing back in 1988, she decided to open her own.

“The part I’m going to miss is the people I see every day,” she said. “It really is the most enjoyable part.”

About three decades and countless customer interactions later, she’s ready to move onto the next chapter, she said.

The store’s goods will be on sale beginning in March.

Scholten said she’s looking forward to spending more time with friends and family.

“It’s a little bit bittersweet,” she said. “But I’ll just be happy to be at home and relax and see my friends for the immediate future.”

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