State College

State College eatery to treat customers in honor of its 10th anniversary

Are U Hungry in State College is celebrating ten years in business.
Are U Hungry in State College is celebrating ten years in business.

If your stomach growls this week, you might be hungry.

Are U Hungry, at 111 Sowers St., also might have just the 10th anniversary celebration to satisfy your appetite.

The State College business will offer free sandwiches 5-9 p.m. Monday and free combos with the purchase of a sandwich from noon to midnight Tuesday through Friday. The special offers, which will run in conjunction with OrderUp giveaways and prizes at the eatery, are being done as a thank you to customers.

“We made up this place, but the clientele who have visited us here for years have made us who we are,” Are U Hungry co-owner Zahi Elhaj said. “We’ve always appreciated the way we were welcomed into this town.”

Elhaj and two business partners from New Jersey chose State College in 2005 when they could have gone elsewhere.

“Penn State is the biggest and best school around here from the New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania area,” he said. “You can’t find another town and university like this. One thing I can say is that there is opportunity here. I think anyone that comes here, works hard and does a legitimate business will succeed even when there’s a lot of competition, because everyone — the borough, the town, the university, the students — everyone is helpful.”

Elhaj said the business’ reception in State College exceeded their expectations in the first year.

“We knew we were onto something,” he said. “With any business there is calculated risk, and we took a chance when we were all 24-year-olds. For the past 10 years we’ve done it. We’ve gotten more experience, worked on our systems, made operations easier and the menu better.”

With experience, Elhaj said, comes grander plans.

Elhaj and his business partners have considered franchising. He also said it is possible they will expand their original restaurant.

For now, though, those plans are on hold.

“We’re expecting 500 to 700 people tonight,” Elhaj said. “We’ve got to be ready for that.”