The Bar and Grill: Federal Taphouse Review

Federal Taphouse Margherita Pizza - Photo Credits to Massimo Ragonese
Federal Taphouse Margherita Pizza – Photo Credits to Massimo Ragonese

The Federal Taphouse is a Bar and Grill located at 130 S Fraser St Suite 200, State College, PA. The location feels very central, with a view of the Penn State Campus and Martin Luther King Plaza. It is built with a connection to Hyatt Place and Target, though that doesn’t detract from or speak to the quality.

The atmosphere is very nice. The design and architecture were very modern and polished, the design labeling itself as a “bar and grill”. The food itself ranges from $10-30 per dish. Their menu was centered around seven sections: Appetizers, “Fed Fries”, Tacos, Sandwiches, Greens, artificial pizzas, and Entrees.


Potato and Cheddar Pierogies – Photo Credits to Massimo Ragonese

Their Appetizers range from simple pretzels to Crab Mac & Cheese. Of the appetizers, the potato and cheddar pierogies and pulled pork sliders stood out the most.

The Potato and Cheddar Pierogies were served with bacon and chive creme fraiche. For a $13 appetizer, the pierogies were not up to par. The plating itself needed to be better coordinated. The offerings of only 5 pierogies felt like being sold short. On the other hand, bacon and chive creme fraiche elevated the neutral flavoring of the pierogies. 

The Pulled Pork sliders were served with smoked cheddar and crispy onions. The plating was expected: three sliders, each showcasing their contents. For the price, the dish made sense. The pork itself was not too cooked or juicy. The cheddar, while undercooked, added a difference to the simple flavoring usually offered with a slider. The crispy onions added a welcomed crunchiness to the dish. 

Fed Fries

Aioli Fed Fries – Photo Credits to Massimo Ragonese

Their “Fed Fries” is a plating of their Rosemary seasoned house fries with a dipping sauce (Aioli, Poutine, and Crab). Of the house fries, the Aioli Fed Fries were recommended. 

While it was meant to be a fry-centric dish, the number of fries given when ordering the Aioli Fed Fries was surprising. They were solid on all fronts: they were fried uniformly, salted enough to enhance the flavoring, and were not too soggy or crispy. While the Aioli sauce left something to be desired flavor-wise, they were able to compliment the fries in some capacity. 


Char Siu Chicken Sandwich – Photo Credits to Massimo Ragonese

The Sandwiches section is primarily burgers. Within the section, the Char Siu Chicken Sandwich and the Salmon Burger were the most appealing.

The Char Siu Chicken Sandwich was a marinated and grilled chicken thigh, served with pickled carrots, cilantro, and Gochujang aioli. The chicken was cooked through and had a strong flavor pairing with the Gochujang aioli. The chips did take over the dish and eclipsed the burger in terms of plate space, going for both the Chicken Sandwich and the Salmon Burger. A large problem with the chips was their rigidity. The chips were thick enough to stay together, but not crispy enough to be able to chew easily. This resulted in an unfulfilling experience with the dishes.

Salmon Burger – Photo Credits to Massimo Ragonese

The Salmon Burger was glazed with Teriyaki and was served with pineapple salsa, lettuce, and sriracha aioli. The salmon was overcooked and didn’t hold its structure well enough to function as a proper sandwich.

Artisanal Pizzas

The Artisanal Pizzas is the most nontraditional of the sections. The offerings ranged from a simple Margherita to more abstract pizzas. This included their “Brisket Pizza” (topped with barbecue sauce, brisket, and jalapenos), their “Fireside Pizza” (topped with butternut squash, shaved brussel sprouts, and shredded pork), and “The Green Mountain” (topped with apples, bacon, spinach, and a maple drizzle). Of the Artisanal Pizzas, the Margherita pizza was the first choice, though their Roasted Mushroom pizza, with pesto, burrata, and balsamic, was also considered.

The Margherita Pizza was the highlight of the dinner. In general, it is difficult to mess up a Margherita Pizza, and Federal Taphouse does it well. It is thin enough to be digestible, but not too much as to break. It isn’t too greasy and has little charring. 

Greens and Entrees

The Greens is one of the only Vegetarian-centric sections, as well as serving as one of the smallest sections. This means a house salad, Caesar salad, kale salad, and a grain bowl. The section that stood out as the smallest was the Entrees section. It was easily the most expensive section on the menu, going as far as $38 with their NY Strip Steak.


As a Bar and Grill, Federal Taphouse is really good. While the food isn’t that shocking or high in quality, the market for good “bar food” isn’t particularly large and it makes sense that Federal Taphouse is a location for people to go watch sports and grab a pizza.





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