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Primanti Bros. Prepares for Opening Later This Month

by and on January 19, 2015 3:30 PM

On a frigid afternoon, workers inside the new Primanti Bros. in downtown State College hustled as they put finishing touches on the restaurant, which is scheduled to open later this month.

Signage was being hung, the bar was being set up and the final pieces of kitchen equipment were being put in place.

For fans of the popular Pittsburgh-based restaurant, it won't be long.

"We got some great news (recently) — sign off on our health permit, sign off on our liquor license," says Mike Mitcham, operations director for Primanti Bros. "We've just got to bring the people in and train them how to serve Primanti sandwiches."

Training is a critical part of the process, Mitcham says. Primanti Bros. holds itself to a high standard, so everyone has to be on the same page before the doors can open.

Primanti Bros. is located at 130 Heister St. in downtown State College. It's at the former site of The Gingerbread Man.

According to Mitcham, using an already existing structure has both positives and negatives.

"With it being an existing building, you always run into construction issues. We ran into that at the beginning, but everything seemed to go pretty smoothly after that. There were some sewer lines that we needed to re-construct and there were some drain lines from the roof that we needed to fix, which we did. Everything was fine after that," Mitcham says.

Mitcham says everyone at Primanti Bros. is excited to get the State College location up and running.

Happy Valley has always been on the Primanti Bros. radar, he says.

"We've literally been trying to come to the State College market for 15 years or more. The stars aligned and this property became available. We're more than happy about it ... to be immersed in the State College area. I think we'll do really well," Mitcham says.

The first Primanti Bros. restaurant opened in Pittsburgh's Strip District. It's known for sandwiches stuffed with french fries and coleslaw.

But if you're expecting to find all Pittsburgh memorabilia on the walls, don't. Primanti Bros. realizes that the décor has to change with each market. With that in mind, restaurant-goers will find a plethora of Penn State memorabilia along with some Pittsburgh and Philadelphia items.

Running the State College Primanti Bros. is Greg DuBois. He's the head coach — Primanti Bros. doesn't use terms like manager — in State College.

As DuBois sat on a stool and talked about the new location, he grinned from ear to ear.

"I feel like every day is another Christmas morning for me. I turn around and I see something else that I'm amazed with. Excitement is an understatement. I'm thrilled. The support we're getting from the locals and the community is overwhelming. The anticipation keeps me awake at night," DuBois says.

DuBois knows the history of the location. It's not the G-man anymore. He says it's better.

"I feel like this is the perfect venue to be an amazing restaurant and an amazing late-night spot for the students. It's going to be the best of both worlds. An amazing restaurant and an amazing bar at the same time. I'm going to embrace everything," DuBois says.

But DuBois hasn't forgotten what the building was before Primanti Bros. arrived.

"There's so much culture and there's history in this building," DuBois says. "This is going to be something this side of town, the downtown market hasn't seen before. We're going to be a great addition."

Mitcham and DuBois wouldn't reveal an opening day, but say it's coming soon.

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This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.

Chris Morelli is the managing editor of The Centre County Gazette.
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