New restaurant coming to downtown Bellefonte


PHOTO PROVIDED Dustin Smith, left, and Sean Burke, both of State College, are anticipating opening State Burger Co. around Oct. 16. It will be located at 101 S. Allegheny St., the former site of Courthouse Crepes.

BELLEFONTE — What if you could be as picky as possible in a restaraunt, down to writing out exactly what you wanted on a clipboard?

That is the concept behind State Burger Co., a new restaurant that is opening in mid-October in the heart of downtown Bellefonte.

“I tend to change a lot of things on menus when I’m ordering, so we thought, ‘Okay, what if no one had to do that, what if they just told us what they wanted?'” said co-owner Dustin Smith.

The concept for the restaurant is a culmination of experiences that co-owners Smith and Sean Burke have had from restaurants that they have really enjoyed, along with the customer service environments that they have most appreciated.

Instead of a menu of specific entrees, customers will be able to see lists of burgers and proteins, cheeses, breads, sauces, and toppings. Smith said that each customer will receive a clipboard with both a menu and a blank sheet of paper on which to create their own order form, detailing exactly what they want and how they want it made.

The new restaurant promises a variety of burgers, including beef, chicken and veggie burgers, crab cakes, along with make-your-own salads, specialty mocktail and milkshake drinks, and cookie shooters for dessert.

“We don’t have a liquor license here, so we’re just kind of doing a twist on the soda jerk fountain type thing, so we’re going to offer a menu of different soda creations, along with different milkshake creations,” Smith explained.

Smith said that he and Burke will soon be testing these creations out to help them decide which drinks they will offer once they open.

Despite the restaurant’s logo being a cow in a tuxedo, Smith and Burke are really going for a casual, family-style experience.

“We’re not shirt and tie guys, we’re really about a T-shirt and jeans experience — just relaxing, being comfortable and having a good time — so that’s the environment that we created,” Smith said.

Smith further explained that he created the cow wearing a tuxedo and sunglasses because he thought it was a really fun idea. Despite the customization option, Smith said that customers’ orders can be as simple as they want them to be.

The atmosphere of the restaurant will be very welcoming, too. Smith said that he and Burke are doing the decor themselves, decor that will give the restaurant an industrial, rustic feel.

Running their own restaraunt is something that Smith and Burke have discussed for the past three or four years, but it did not become closer to reality until recent months, when they started seriously looking for a location.

“We were looking around at many different spots and locations and this one just kind of caught our eye,” Burke said.

Smith and Burke come from diverse backgrounds, with the restaurant business running in Smith’s blood.

Smith, who works as a quality manager for a logistics company, said he grew up in the restaurant business since he was 6, . Smith’s parents Kevin and Sallie have owned Kelly’s Scenic View, a family-style restaurant, for the past 38 years.

Burke, who said he worked as a waiter for a couple of summers while he was going to school, runs his own physician practice in Lewistown.

Reactions in the community have been positive about the new restaurant, Smith said.

“They’re excited about a burger place, so it’s been really nice — a lot of feedback and a lot of people stopping by.”