Show of hands—how many of you Penn Staters from the east have been to Boalsburg? I do not mean driving through on 322, I mean actually going into town. Okay, how many of you have been to Duffy’s Tavern in Boalsburg? No, not the Boalsburg Steak House (now Kelly’s) with the cow on the roof. I mean Duffy’s Tavern just off the square in the sweet little town of Boalsburg. I will admit—until recently this writer is guilty of having never set foot (or car) in Boalsburg proper.
Passing though and meeting a friend for lunch. Didn’t feel like dealing with the traffic and weather of downtown State College. I said I felt like “tavern food,” friend Patty said “Duffy’s in Boalsburg.” (She’s been there but then again she’s local.)
The building has been around since the early 1800s (history here) and was actually owned by a Duffy at one time (extra points for any readers who know the radio show of the same name!). After a devastating fire in the 1930s, the new owners salvaged what they could of the original to use in the rebuild. Today Duffy’s is a classic Pennsylvania tavern, warm and comfortable, yet with a few surprises.
Winter means soup, right? Crab bisque for me and chicken corn chowder (soup of the day) for Patty. Sandwiches: I had a hankering for grilled cheese and Duffy’s answered with quite the combination: white cheddar cheese, very thinly sliced Granny Smith apples, thick bacon, and Dijon aioli on sourdough bread. Delicious as that was, however, Patty’s sandwich was the star of the meal: she had a chivito. What, you’ve never heard of the national sandwich of Uruguay? Shaved beef, cucumber, onion, bell pepper, lettuce, tomato, and chipotle mayonnaise on a ciabatta. We could not quite figure out how the beef was seasoned but it was delicious.
You don’t dine with Patty without going full Monty—meaning dessert. Lemon cream cake? Or how about a little bourbon bundt cake? Oh no, I couldn’t! Well, maybe a little . . .
It should be no surprise that Duffy’s is now on my permanent list of options for dining in the area. I even took a little stroll in Riley on Main, a lovely home décor and gift shop right next door to Duffy’s. Don’t know why I missed Boalsburg all these years but I won’t anymore.