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State College restaurant closes after 25 years in business

Mario’s Italian Restaurant, located at 1272 N. Atherton St., has closed, according to Dante’s Restaurants, which owns the eatery.
Mario’s Italian Restaurant, located at 1272 N. Atherton St., has closed, according to Dante’s Restaurants, which owns the eatery. Centre Daily Times, file

A longtime State College restaurant has closed, though the owners plan to open a new eatery.

Mario’s Italian Restaurant, located at 1272 N. Atherton St., has closed, according to Dante’s Restaurants, which owns the eatery.

“We have come to the end of our current lease at Mario’s,” Dante’s Restaurants Director JP Mills said. “The lease renewal terms presented a significant rent increase and subsequent increases thereafter. We attempted negotiations to reach amicable terms, but unfortunately, we could not reach an agreement.”

The closure has comes at the same time that Dante’s has announced a new Hi-Way Pizza Pub location at 1301 W. College Ave. to take the place of WestSide Stadium, which closed in December. The eatery will open in the fall.

Mario’s Italian Restaurant opened in 1992 and was originally named Mario’s and Luigi’s. Restaurant employees have been offered employment at other Dante’s Restaurants and Nightlife locations in the State College area, according to the company.

“We have enjoyed a long run at Mario’s and are fortunate to have so many loyal customers,” Director Jennifer Zangrilli said. “We would like to thank them for their patronage and support and we invite them to come say hello to to us at our other locations.”

Scratch-made pastas, sauces and other Italian dishes, which Mario’s was known for, will be available at Hi-Way Pizza Pub and Inferno Brick Oven & Bar. Dante’s has recently planned to reinvest in Hi-Way Pizza Pub, its flagship brand.

“We are super excited to have been working for the past few months on plans to update our Hi-Way Pizza Pub brand,” Mills said. “Hi-Way will be a great place not just to watch sports and have a few drinks, but will have a restaurant section for families and kids. Enhancing the atmosphere and guest experience as well as expanding our food and drink menu is our focus.”

The closing of Mario’s, Mills said, gave the company the ability to “grow our Hi-Way brand and celebrate the pizza that our company was built on.” The original Hi-Way Pizza Pub was opened in State College by Dante’s owner Andy Zangrilli in 1963.

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