Local

An effort is underway to save the Rathskeller and Spats. Can they do it?

The chances of saving the Rathskeller from closing might not be visible under a microscope.

But that doesn’t mean its admirers can’t try.

A petition on change.org was launched Monday night by Dave Cole in response to the news that the Rathskeller and Spats Cafe will be evicted and new tenant will take their places. The petition had more than 1,400 of its 1,500 signature goal as of 10 p.m.

The Herlocher family bought the property where the restaurants are located in July for more than $6.5 million, and a new lease agreement could not be reached by the Herlocher family and the Gastiger family, who own the businesses. The Herlochers said they made an offer to purchase the eateries, but were turned down and signed a new undisclosed tenant to a lease. The Gastigers must close and move out of the space by the end of February.

If divine intervention occurs, it would likely have to be in the form of the new tenant being willing to back out and the Gastigers agreeing to pay a higher monthly rent to stay. Or the new tenants could purchase the businesses from the Gastigers.

The scenarios seem unrealistic at best, likely leaving the Gastigers with no choice but to close the Rathskeller after 85 years in business and Spats after 30 years of existence. They will consider reopening Spats, but said the Rathskeller wouldn’t be the same in a different location. The Gastigers will open ReFarm Cafe in Patton Township in the summer of 2018.

For more information, learn about the Gastiger’s perspective of the situation and the Herlocher’s take on what happened.

Shawn Annarelli: 814-235-3928, @Shawn_Annarelli

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