Saying goodbye to your favorite place is tough, and this year, it seemed like a lot of beloved spots closed their doors.
Here are some of the business closings our readers were most disappointed about this year.
The All-American Rathskeller and Spat’s Cafe & Speakeasy
The All-American Rathskeller, 108 S. Pugh St., was open for more than eight decades. It opened three days after Prohibition ended in the United States. It had different owners over the years, most recently Duke and Monica Gastiger, who bought the bar in 1988. They also owned Spats Cafe & Speakeasy for 30 years.
The Gastigers announced in December 2017 that both businesses would be closing, and that it wasn’t their choice.
“It has been a great honor operating these two iconic establishments and serving this community and its many truly wonderful patrons and friends,” Duke Gastiger said in a statement at that time. “We are grateful for the loyalty that people — including our incredible employees — have shown us over the years. We most regret closing with such short notice, but it was unavoidable given the timeline dictated by the new property owners.”
Last call for the bar was Jan. 27.
The basement is now Doggie’s Pub, owned by Tom and Kelley Trosko.
Little Caesars, located at 1712 S. Atherton St., closed in an “abrupt and unexpected” manner in early October. A sign was posted to the pizza shop’s door, which said, in part, “We have approached the end of a 10 year agreement with Little Caesars, and have chosen not to renew — and to allow our neighboring tenant, PA Cyber, assume our business space for expansion.”
Little Caesars had closed in September 2017, but was then reopened the following month under new ownership.
Zola Kitchen and Wine Bar
Zola Kitchen and Wine Bar, 324 W. College Ave., closed on Aug. 25. Robert Hufnagel co-owned the restaurant with his son, Andrew, who was also the chef. The pair relaunched Zola, formerly Zola New World Bistro, in 2015.
“It has been our pleasure to provide fine dining for the State College community for the last four years, but unfortunately our building is going to be torn down to make way for a new apartment building,” Robert Hufnagel said in press release at the time.
The Standard — a 12-story mixed-use high-rise from Collegiate Development Group — is being constructed in their place and will include 48,400 square feet of commercial space on the first two floors, and then 243 residential units on the top 10 floors, according to the State College borough website.
Herwig’s Austrian Bistro
Herwig’s Austrian Bistro had been serving up homestyle Austrian cuisine for more than 15 years when owner Bernd Brandstatter announced the restaurant would be closing. Its final day was May 25.
It was known for being the place where bacon was an herb. You could also expect some light shaming if you didn’t finish your meal — all in good fun, of course.
“Alright everybody, I’ve been dreading this post for a good while. Here it goes,” Brandstatter said in a March Facebook post announcing the impending closure. “Due to my constant sciatica in my left leg from two ruptured discs and declining sales, I’ve decided to close Herwigs as early as June or August. We’ve really enjoyed the last 15 or so years serving up the best Austrian fare. So if you haven’t been in for a while this is your time to enjoy it whilst we are still open. I sure will miss everyone of you. It was always about the personal experience with a side of our Austrian home cooking and a bit of humor mixed in.”
Herwig’s longtime home, 132 W. College Ave., is now occupied by Snap Custom Pizza, which opened in September.
After 24 years in the Nittany Mall, Auntie Anne’s closed on May 27.
Cathy Williamson — who co-owned the operation with her husband, Randy — told the CDT that they simply ran out of money.
“Ever since Sears left, our sales have cut in half,” Williamson said.
The space is now occupied by Chinese Hot Pot (Gudong), which just recently opened.
Ye Olde College Diner
In January, WTAJ reported that Ye Olde College Diner would be closing — unless someone wanted to take it over — because the lease was up in April.
The diner had operated at 126 W. College Ave. since 1929, and Dan Rallis had owned it for 31 years.
Rallis told WTAJ that he planned to continue making grilled stickies.
The property was sold for $1.5 million to 126 College Ave Partners LLC, according to Centre County records. As the CDT previously reported, the space is set to become a Hello Bistro.