What’s next for the Rathskeller? A contentious legal battle

Couldn’t get in? A look inside the Rathskeller on its last day

Patrons enjoy the Rathskeller on its last day on Jan., 27, 2018.
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Patrons enjoy the Rathskeller on its last day on Jan., 27, 2018.

The Rathskeller saga has continued, though this time away from the public eye and in the court system.

The feud between landlord and tenant has largely played out in the open since December when Rathskeller and Spats owners Duke and Monica Gastiger announced the bar and restaurant would close. The announcement sparked public support for the Gastigers and a tit-for-tat series of statements to try to tell nearly every possible side to what happened.

The Herlochers’ corporation Cornelius LLC recently filed a confession of judgment in Centre County to try to evict the Gastigers. The filing contends that the Gastigers have breached the lease agreement, which ends Feb. 28 and says the tenants cannot make alterations to the space.

The American Rathskeller Inc. responded that the lease has been followed accordingly and that personal property of the Gastigers and their employees are still at the property. The response said that the initial motion was improper and that the Herlochers are only trying to prevent the Gastigers from removing personal belongings like furniture, pictures, food, liquor and payroll checks.

A hearing on the response will be held Wednesday, according to court documents.

Emails reviewed by the Centre Daily Times revealed that the Herlochers’ attorney had requested the space not be trashed, to which the Gastiger’s attorney replied the only trash left after the businesses closed would be the Herlocher family.

It’s unknown how much of the space will be intact when the Gastigers’ lease ends and the lease for Tom and Kelley Trosko begins a day later. Duke Gastiger recently said he would not touch the main bar.

Each side has said they willing to negotiate a deal for the Rathskeller business and liquor license — the Herlochers in October, the Gastigers in December and the Troskos in January — though it is unknown if one is possible.

An offer for at least the liquor license and possibly the business — the Herlochers and Gastigers disagree on the details of only known proposal — went unanswered. Duke Gastiger said that once he realized he would no longer be able to operate the Rathskeller in its original location he had no interest in negotiating with the Herlochers as the middlemen.

The Gastigers and Troskos have never reached out to each other to discuss a possible acquisition.

The future of Rathskeller is unknown, though the Troskos plan to operate the bar with the same environment that generations of State College residents and Penn State alum are accustomed. Spats will continue to operate as part of a new restaurant with the Allen Street Grill above The Corner Room.

Shawn Annarelli: 814-235-3928, @Shawn_Annarelli