Whistle Stop closes, new restaurant interested in space

A former train station turned restaurant will undergo another makeover.

Opened in 1991, the Whistle Stop closed near the end of September. Ed and Marcia Gemperle owned the popular Centre Hall restaurant since 2005 and have been in the restaurant industry for decades.

“It’s probably going to be leased to another restaurant, but a totally different concept of what we were doing,” Marcia Gemperle said.

Located at 104 E. Wilson St., the eatery combined a small-town feel with old-fashioned homestyle cooking. The Gemperles, who split duties managing the front and the back of the house, got to know their customers and employees on a personal basis, Marcia said.

“The people I’ve gotten to know over the years, I miss them already,” she said. “That’s what I’m going to miss the most, I’m sure.”

But the demands of owning a small business became wearing. Keeping staff, managing the kitchen, the daily grind — with a small staff and a management team of two, Marcia said, it was time to move on.

“The older you get, the harder it is to try and do it all yourself,” she said.

But though it’s harder to do it all as the years progress, their sense of humor has remained spry.

“We’ve decided after 25 years,” she said, laughing, “things hurt now that we never expected to hurt 25 years ago at the end of the day.”

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