While eating out has never been more popular, for some the cost is becoming more prohibitive. The popularity of celebrity chef shows and, more recently, meal kit services have contributed to the current epicurean zeitgeist: cooking at home.
With the opening of a new State College shop, amateur chefs will have another recipe or two in their book.
The Branch and The Vine, an olive oil and balsamic vinegar tap room, opened at 246 E. Calder Way near the end of October. The oils, which are imported from Italy, span a smorgasbord of flavors, including black truffle, blood orange and lemongrass mint. Samples are available in front of the store’s 10 tanks.
Tom Tate, the general manager, said the shop is looking to sell wine in the future. He is working with University Wine Co. and is targeting early 2017 to get PLCB approval. A bar would be added to the existing store.
Besides its lineup of cooking oils, the store offers a range of imported snacks, including breads, crackers and cookies. Tate said there is also maple bacon onion jam — a customer favorite.
“It’s really addictive,” he said.
The store’s hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. The store offers freebies and discounts on the first Friday of each month, and plans to host an open house on Dec. 2.
“We’re very happy to be open,” Tate said. “I love my store.”