Taste of the Month: The newly renovated Maine Bay & Berry Café features its well-known fresh seafood – and much more
State College’s newest destination café and market had its grand re-opening in February.
The newly renovated Maine Bay & Berry Café, located at The Barn at Lemont, 201 Elmwood Street, is more than just a place for fresh seafood. A café on the main floor, a tasting room and lounge downstairs with outdoor seating complete with fire pits and Adirondack chairs, and an event venue on the upper floor for special occasions and cooking classes, are just a few of the highlights at the new Maine Bay & Berry Café.
Walking into the main-floor entrance, customers are greeted by a seafood-inspired floor mosaic by Dani Spewak, a recent Penn State grad. Customers can still purchase fresh seafood as well as pork from Soggy Fleece Farms in Spring Mills just as before, but now there is also a butcher hand-cutting dry-aged, locally raised Black Angus beef from Countryside Land & Cattle in Stormstown, and locally brewed and bottled kombucha by Moody Culture Kombucha in State College.
Now serving hot soups and chowders from Maine, paired with freshly baked McBurney Manor breads, on the main floor, customers can enjoy free Wi-Fi in the café area overlooking the beautiful view of the flowing creek below. There are 12 different soups, including haddock chowder, seafood chowder, lobster bisque, clam chowder, shrimp-corn, lobster-corn, spicy Cajun chicken, cheddar-broccoli, tomato-lentil and sausage, and a Hungarian mushroom.
Open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sunday 1-5 p.m., Maine Bay & Berry Café still carries Maine-produced merchandise, including jams, syrups, salts, sauces, soaps, wild blueberries, New England bog pies, as well as its private-label line of pickled vegetables.
Special offer: Mention Town&Gown’s Taste of the Month article on Maine Bay & Berry Café to receive 10 percent off a cup of soup!
“We partnered with some of our providers to put our labels on some high-end products like pasta sauces, stuffed olives, and quail eggs,” explains owner Shaun Knight. “We will also be extending our hours on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings in the coming months with plans for live music. We want it to be a destination for locals to bring the kids or have a date-night evening with beer and wine tastings.”
There also will be coffee from Lemont Café and Zen Bear and Honey Tea. Downstairs, Voodoo Brewery of Meadville and Burnt Timbers Winery of Lewistown will be setting up tastings of beer and wine. Voodoo Brewery’s food truck will be parked in the back lot to serve locally sourced food and menu items incorporating some of the seafood and beef sold at Maine Bay & Berry.
Other products available for purchase include Fasta Pasta & Ravioli; crab cakes; clam cakes; alligator from Louisiana; king, snow, and dungeons crab; crab claws; and seafood pâtés.
“We always have 20-25 different types of fish every weekend, two different types of Maine oysters, calamari, fresh clams and mussels, and five different types of shrimp,” says Knight. “Our salmon and sea scallops are always a huge hit, as well as our halibut cheeks and sushi-grade tuna. As we get into grilling season, we will have trout and other grilling fish for sale.”
Knight and Christa Stofferahn have been selling seafood since August 2017, starting out in a shack on Shiloh Road in State College before opening a location at The Barn in Lemont in January 2018. Knight and Stofferahn would make the 12-hour trek to Maine three or four times each month to bring back fresh seafood to State College.
Born and raised in Winter Harbor, Maine, Knight taught in the Smeal College of Business at Penn State for 15 years. Unable to find fresh seafood in landlocked central Pennsylvania, he would make the trek to Maine and bring back lobsters and scallops. Soon, he started a listserv at Penn State, offering to bring back a truck full of seafood for friends and family. It grew to more than 130 people.
“That’s when we knew that we could start a business and since we opened, the response from locals and visitors alike has been incredible,” says Knight. “We looked at expansion and the opportunity came up in October 2018 to take over the whole building at The Barn at Lemont.”
On March 15, from 7:30-10 p.m., join Maine Bay & Berry for its inaugural house concert with 2016 Grammy-nominated Ari Hest for an evening of live music. Tickets are $25 and are available for sale on Maine Bay & Berry’s Facebook page.
For more information, check out mainebayandberry.com or the Facebook page for a complete list of seafood and product offerings, as well as to pre-order steamed lobsters.
Vilma Shu is an editorial consultant for Town&Gown.