Champs Sports Grill’s new downtown location opens in time for Santa Crawl

Champs Sports Grill opened its 139 S. Allen St. location on Saturday.
Champs Sports Grill opened its 139 S. Allen St. location on Saturday. Centre Daily Times, file

Christmas came early for downtown State College bar hoppers.

Champs opened its third location Saturday, debuting its new space at 139 S. Allen St.

It is not known if the bar and grill is open just for the Santa Crawl or if it will remain open, because employees declined comment.

A downtown Champs Sports Grill was rumored to be in the works since March, and the North Atherton Street Champs’ general manager Brandon Yocum confirmed in July what the rumor mill said all along.

“The deal has gone through,” Yocum told the Centre Daily Times in July. “It’s a great opportunity to expand, and it goes hand in hand with the State College town.”

Employees at the eatery declined comment Saturday and co-owner Scott Lucchesi could not be reached.

The new Champs is where Chili’s operated for 21 years. Champs also operates in Altoona.

Yocum could not say how many people would be employed at the downtown location, though Champs began advertising open interviews at the restaurant this week.

“It’s going to be a wonder for all of the students living downtown to be in walking distance of a Champs,” Yocum told the CDT. “It’s a move to expand the business, and we’re extremely excited to have the opportunity to be there.”

Champs opened its downtown location for the annual State College Santa Crawl.

“I’ve had plenty of people ask me about a bar special, so I’ve lined one up for you — and it’s literally a bar special, not a drink,” a post on the Santa Crawl website said Friday. “Champs Downtown will be opening their doors for the very first time at 5 p.m. tomorrow, just in time to become the 18th bar on the Santa Crawl. Officially, they will join the Allen Street Grill, Zeno’s, and Pickle’s in the 10-11 p.m. slot. That said, I fully expect a good number of people to swing by early.”

Champs employees, according to the post, hauled tail to get things ready.

“A very big thank you to all the Champs crew who have been busting (butt) the last few weeks in order to be open for the Crawl,” it said. “Thanks guys.”

The business is conducting open interviews 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. Monday and Tuesday.

Shawn Annarelli: 814-235-3928, @Shawn_Annarelli