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Mayor-Elect Hahn Disappointed in Eviction of Rathskeller, Spats

by on December 05, 2017 9:52 AM

State College mayor-elect Don Hahn gave his thoughts on the impending closure of The Rathskeller and Spats Café on Tuesday morning on Facebook after former Penn State College Democrats secretary Luis Rolfo asked him about his position on the matter.

“My hope when the Herlochers purchased the building turned to profound disappointment when I heard that they were evicting both businesses,” Hahn wrote. “I understand that their property rights give the Herlochers the power to pursue a course which is so damaging to our town.”

Hahn also said he would be “very interested” in persuading the Herlochers to change their plans, suggesting a “public appeal to their sense of community.” 

Many have already begun that public appeal. A Change.org petition to save the Skeller and Spats had nearly 5,000 signatures on Tuesday morning.

Duke and Monica Gastinger, owners of the Skeller and Spats, announced Monday both establishments will close after the owners of the building, State College businessmen Chuck and Neil Herlocher, chose not to renew their lease. 

The Herlochers released a statement later Monday night after outrage from thousands of residents and Penn Staters, saying, “We are committed to maintaining the character of the location that was founded in 1933 by Pop Flood as the Rathskeller and Gardens until 1934 when Doggie Alexander named it The All-American Rathskeller.” The family has not yet responded to a request for further comment.

A new tenant has signed a lease but has not been announced. The Herlochers said the new operators would soon announced their vision for the establishments.

Hahn’s full statement is  below:

The Rathskeller is a State College institution which I had frequented in my younger days, and Spats has been one of my favorite restaurants for years. My hope when the Herlochers purchased the building turned to profound disappointment when I heard that they were evicting both businesses. I understand that their property rights give the Herlochers the power to pursue a course which is so damaging to our town. Of course, if there is a way to persuade the Herlochers to change their plans, perhaps a public appeal to their sense of community, I would be very interested. If not, I WILL be frequenting the Gastigers’ next restaurant venture, even if it is in the townships or Bellefonte. I pray that the new tenants are not another chain.

 



Elissa Hill is an associate editor for Onward State.
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