State College Borough Council members discuss possible new restaurant
New Zealand-themed restaurant Queenstown — whose liquor license was the subject of debate in State College Borough Council — is moving forward with the final land development plan it submitted to the State College Planning Commission.
Queenstown, planned for 142 E. College Ave. in the former Spats Cafe and Speakeasy building, is owned by Martin and Deanna Gillespie, who own five similar restaurants in San Diego. The couple graduated from Penn State and Deanna Gillespie grew up in State College, while Martin spent part of his youth in Centre County.
Final design plans for the restaurant show renovations to the properties at the corner of South Pugh Street and East College Avenue, including expansion into the former Family Clothesline store and adjacent Homarella Building, above Sadie’s Waffles. Plans call for enclosing the entrance of the old clothing store, a mechanical equipment platform and a covered outdoor walkway that connects to the Homarella Building.
Speaking to Borough Council and the Centre Daily Times in July, Martin Gillespie said the restaurant would have New Zealand-inspired cuisine — common offerings like burgers and steak and potatoes with different sauces and preparation. He said he envisioned the restaurant as high-end but casual.
“I want to bring a concept that you can have family there, you can have adult fun ... and serve some really cool food, and have a great place to be,” he told the CDT in July.
By adding 541 square feet from renovations, the new restaurant will have about 3,500 square feet of space that will hold space for 225 indoors and over 50 outdoors.
State College architect Al Drobka said during the borough planning commission meeting Wednesday that the interior layout of the restaurant will include dining areas on both sides when customers walk in, a backward C-shaped main bar, an enclosed platform that leads to the Homarella building, restrooms and a private dining area in the back. The plans also call for two outdoor dining areas — one at the lower level above the Doggie’s Pub entrance, and the other above the walk-in cooler that’s part of the Doggie’s outdoor beer garden, he said.
In the former Spats building, “we’re going to reconfigure the interior of the building, they’re expanding into the old (Family) Clothesline building. We’re going to keep the existing entrance where it is,” he said.
Demolition has already begun in the former Spats building and Homarella building, and Family Clothesline is moving into the storefront where Apple Tree was located on East College Avenue.
Since the Spats building was not ADA accessible, Drobka said they are adding a ramp on the East College Avenue side and designing the restrooms to comply with ADA.
The Pugh Street side of the restaurant will feature painted vinyl siding on the exterior and an opened up first floor with added windows for “more connectivity” between patrons and those walking by on the street, he said.