Good Life

A taste of Italy coming to Centre Hall

Royal Garden Italian Restaurant will be opening in the old Whistle Stop Restaurant location in Centre Hall.
Royal Garden Italian Restaurant will be opening in the old Whistle Stop Restaurant location in Centre Hall.

The former Whistle Stop is getting a makeover.

Vinnie Castiglia, the owner of Original Italian Pizza in Millheim and Turbotville, plans to open a sit-down restaurant at the former train-station-turned-eatery. Royal Garden Italian Restaurant, located at 104 E. Wilson St. in Centre Hall, will feature a more formal twist on OIP’s fare.

Castiglia, who started OIP more than two decades ago, said he’s targeting to open the first week of February.

“I’m going to try my best to give them something different,” he said. “I know when (former owner) Marcia (Gemperle) had it, everyone liked the place. I’m trying to do the same, but with Italian food.”

Castiglia said his brother is coming from Italy to help with the new restaurant. Some menu items, he said, will be linguine with clams and pasta primavera.

“We’re trying to come up with some basics from Italy,” he said.

Marcia and Ed Gemperle closed the Whistle Stop’s doors near the end of September. Castiglia said he expressed interest in the building the next day.

“I wasted no time,” he said. “I always liked the location.”

Castiglia said while he plans to update the interior, he also wants to hew to the heritage of the historic building, which was built near the end of the 19th century.

He also plans, he said, to maintain the quality of service area residents were accustomed to with the Whistle Stop.

“I’m very excited to open up, and I’m hoping I can give Centre Hall something different,” he said. “I promise, when I go to work in that place, I’ll go work with my heart.”

Mount Nittany Health opens Philipsburg location

Mount Nittany Health has opened a location in Philipsburg at 1061 N. Front St., the health system recently announced.

According to a Mount Nittany Health release, the site features 12 family medicine practice rooms, an outpatient lab and a space for a future radiology suite.

The location will also feature specialty services. Dr. Christopher Yingling, a urologist, will work with the practice.

The site will offer additional specialty services for cardiology, infectious disease, endocrinology and nephrology in the future, according to Mount Nittany Health’s website.

The Philipsburg family medicine practice’s hours are 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Geisinger Health Plan included in state Medicaid negotiations

Illustrating a shift in the delivery of health care, a Pennsylvania provider has been selected to move forward with talks in offering health services through HealthChoices, the state’s medical assistance program.

Geisinger Health Plan is one of six managed care organizations chosen by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, the health system recently announced, under the negotiations.

“We’re excited for the opportunity to continue working with DHS and the HealthChoices program,” GHP CEO Steve Youso said in a release. “Our managed Medicaid plan, GHP Family, helps to ensure that Pennsylvanians have access to quality care, so we’re happy to partner again with DHS and the HealthChoices program.”

Like others, Pennsylvania’s Medicaid system is attempting to move away from a fee-for-service model and more toward a value-based model, the DHS reported.

The DHS selected GHP to offer coverage in the Lehigh and Capital Zone and will continue to offer coverage in HealthChoices’ Northeast Zone, which includes 22 counties.

According to a release, DHS will be finalizing contracts with the chosen care organizations, effective in June.

Messcher is a fan of the Gamecocks, Madonna, and good beer

Roger Van Scyoc: 814-231-4698, @rogervanscy