Prospector’s Mount Nittany Rib Company opened its doors on last week and co-owner Marc Fetters said the latest incarnation of the barbecue restaurant will be “fast-casual.”
Fetters initially went to Penn State University to pursue an engineering degree, but that wasn’t working. Instead, he turned his attention toward Jethro’s, where he worked as the general manager and discovered his barbecue passion.
“Barbecue happened because my first general manager’s position was with Jethro’s,” Fetters said Monday. “Then I went off on my own — from Jethro’s to Damon’s and after Damon’s we brought back Prospector’s in the old Jethro’s building.”
He founded Prospector’s in 1996 and the restaurant had a home on Cato Avenue in Ferguson Township until the lease ended in 2011. And while Fetters continued the company’s catering and concessions business after the storefront closed, he was still looking for a new storefront.
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The “perfect” space at 333 Benner Pike was available after Dickey’s Barbecue Pit closed in October 2017. Fetters pounced on the opportunity, expanded the size of the kitchen and brought a “fast-casual concept” along with him.
“This is a different approach,” Fetters said. “This is a faster pace. Geared to get you in and out kind of like a Panera Bread or a Chipotle. Same thing only with barbecue.”
Fetters said the restaurant will continue to serve its “famous” ribs, but will also introduce wood-fired beef brisket, barbecue chicken and wings. The restaurant’s hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Saturday and noon to 9 p.m. Sunday.
“We’re very excited about it. People have been waiting and waiting. We introduced the fact that this was going to be here about a year ago and the excitement in the town — I can’t even explain how much there’s been. We’ve got nothing but positive feedback.”
“It’s gonna be a fun theme. We’ve got a lot of TVs, but we’re designed to get you in and out,” Fetters said. “It’s the same great food we had at Prospector’s restaurant. We’re excited to bring that to the State College market.”