The old wooden floors that creak, the rustic nature of the building — fabled by some to house ghostly residents — and the friendly, effervescent employees that greet you. Welcome to Cafe Lemont, home to the historic Village of Lemont’s tried and true neighborhood cafe.
As soon as you enter through the door, the camaraderie and fun is on display. The staff is talking to regulars and working hard on creating a meal, snack or coffee. It’s clear Cafe Lemont is a community hub: artwork is showcased and for sale by local artists, locally-made Moody Culture Kombucha is available by the can in a cooler, and the parking lot is always packed. It’s a staple meeting place for all walks of life — from Penn State professors, out-of-towners visiting for a football Saturday, and of course, the passionate and devoted residents of Lemont.
Cafe Lemont is a coffee shop and cafe in The Lemont House, nestled on the corner of Pike Street and Boalsburg Road in Lemont. Although it opened in 2010, I didn’t have the opportunity to visit until I moved back to State College in 2021. When I did, I quickly learned that it is one of the top-tier cafes in the area, namely, in my opinion, because of their breakfast sandwich and long list of fun lattes.
I’ll admit that I was a bit overwhelmed the first time I saw their drink list online. They offer coffee (hot, iced and cold brew), lattes, matcha, cappuccino, mocha, espresso, teas and Italian soda, just to name a few. They have so many flavors you can add to lattes (or their Italian sodas), plus they offer a whole list of cool specialty lattes like Dragon’s Breath, Nutty Irishman and Cinnamon Roll.
My go-to is the Chocolate Rose latte. I typically get it hot — with whipped cream — but it’s also great iced on a hot summer day.
The coffee is organic and roasted on-site, and the teas are local, some of which come from BellaDonna Herbs next door. This down-to-earth cafe truly embraces all the local businesses and groups that inhabit Lemont, creating a symphony of tastes that the small but mighty village has to offer.
Food wise, they serve breakfast all day. A local favorite is the quiche, which changes every week. The quiche and other items, like soup and chili, are made in house. They offer vegan and vegetarian options, as well.
But for me, the real star of the show is their classic sausage, egg and cheese on an English muffin. I’m never going to be in a situation where I don’t want a breakfast sandwich, so I’ve spent a lot of time (and money) trying them at different places in Happy Valley. Although I love the creative spins some places put on them — like My Cafe Buzz’s “aromatic,” which is egg, ham, grilled pineapple and spicy mustard aioli on a toasted English muffin — I always find myself coming back to Cafe Lemont’s good old fashioned sausage, egg and cheese.
I think I find comfort in the simplicity of it. But there’s also a good sausage-to-egg ratio, the muffin is always toasted just right and melted, sharp cheddar cheese tops it off. It tastes and feels homemade in the best way possible.
They do offer their breakfast sandwich with bacon instead of sausage, or with egg, pesto and cream cheese if you’re feeling more adventurous than me.
You can choose your own seat in the large dining area or a more private, smaller room off to the side. There’s even more seating outside with many tables set up on the lawn, but the best seat in the house is on the porch.
I gravitate toward this location, not only because it’s a convenient, close option near my home, but for the sake of their welcoming nature and authenticity the atmosphere of the cafe evokes. There’s no pretentiousness or corporate decor — just me, my chocolate rose latte, the sunshine on the porch, and the visitors and friendly staff who make this place a true hub of community with a plethora of food and drink to enjoy at the bottom of the mountain.
Located at 921 Pike St, Lemont, Cafe Lemont is open 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Sundays and 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Saturday. Parking is in the lot behind the house off Boalsburg Road, or online ordering and to-go is available.