State College mayor-elect Don Hahn weighed in on the impending closure of The Rathskeller and Spats Café this morning on Facebook after former College Democrats secretary Luis Rolfo asked him about his position on the matter.
“My hope when the Herlochers purchased the building turned to profound disappointment when I heard that they were evicting both businesses,” Hahn wrote. “I understand that their property rights give the Herlochers the power to pursue a course which is so damaging to our town.”
Hahn also said he would be “very interested” in persuading the Herlochers to change their plans, suggesting a “public appeal to their sense of community.”
We’re not sure exactly what a public appeal might look like in this case, but if the support shown by thousands of alumni signing a petition to save the Skeller carries through to action, it seems this could be a feasible option.
Duke and Monica Gastinger, owners of the Skeller and Spats, announced Monday both establishments will close after the owners of the building, the Herlochers, chose not to renew their lease.
The Herlochers released a statement later Monday night after outrage from thousands of Penn State alumni, saying, “We are committed to maintaining the character of the location that was founded in 1933 by Pop Flood as the Rathskeller and Gardens until 1934 when Doggie Alexander named it The All-American Rathskeller.” The family has not yet responded to a request for further comment.
You can read Hahn’s full statement below:
The Rathskeller is a State College institution which I had frequented in my younger days, and Spats has been one of my favorite restaurants for years. My hope when the Herlochers purchased the building turned to profound disappointment when I heard that they were evicting both businesses. I understand that their property rights give the Herlochers the power to pursue a course which is so damaging to our town. Of course, if there is a way to persuade the Herlochers to change their plans, perhaps a public appeal to their sense of community, I would be very interested. If not, I WILL be frequenting the Gastigers’ next restaurant venture, even if it is in the townships or Bellefonte. I pray that the new tenants are not another chain.