STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (WTAJ) — Ever want to have your meal while relaxing in a fancy igloo? Or, have your soup poured by the Grinch? Right now in State College, you can cross off all of those bucket list items.
“Adapt or die. You know, how can we change, kind of be relevant during this time and just have fun,” Curtis Shulman, director of operations at The Corner Room.
Shulman says the Soup Sleigh outside The Corner Room is a new addition this year and is available Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. In addition to traditional take out and retail sales, he says its a fun way for them to interact with the community.
He says the sleigh’s actually an old hot dog cart, run by a family friend for decades.
“We call him Pops. So, Pops’ Hot Dog Cart,” says Shulman. “We had that downstairs so we polished that up and then found some good, fun soups we could make, homemade cookies, coffee, hot chocolate.”
You may even catch Shulman outside (in Grinch form) serving your soup.
Currently, 100% of tips are going to the team The Corner Room had to furlough through the pandemic.
At Gigi’s Southern Table, general manager Kristen Burns says, they’ve been trying to be innovative since March by adding an outdoor patio and putting plexiglass dividers between tables.
Now, they’re introducing their outdoor pods. The pods are heated, can fit up to six people, and are sanitized between each party.
“We’re the only place in town doing this,” says Burns.
Saying innovative, she says, comes with a cost.
“Our owners have spent tens of thousands of dollars at this point,” says Burns.
Though costly, Burns says their phones have been ringing off the hook with customers eager to eat in their igloos. She says, if you want a reservation, act fast, as they’re booked through the new year.
With indoor dining prohibited in Pennsylvania until January 4, Shulman says even small gestures can make a difference for businesses.
“Everyone think that it has to be a big gesture, but it doesn’t. Just coming in and getting a coffee… it’s a great way to help keep us along,” he says.