Eat’n Park-Affiliated Hello Bistro To Open In Former Location Of The Diner
Hello Bistro, a fast-casual restaurant that is part of the Eat’n Park Hospitality Group, will open in the former location of The Diner in State College.
The Diner closed its doors at 126 W. College Ave. in April after nearly 80 years in business under various names, including Ye Olde College Diner. Proprietor Dan Rallis cited skyrocketing rent as the reason for closing.
The same month The Diner closed, property owners Daniel and Farideh Barbet sold the building for $1.5 million to 126 College Ave Partners LLP, of which Eat’n Park CEO Jeffrey Broadhurst is a member, according to documents filed with the Centre County Recorder of Deeds.
Eat’n Park Hospitality Group spokesperson Becky McArdle said an opening date for Hello Bistro has not yet been set and work on the building will begin in the next few weeks.
One of several Eat’n Park brands, the Hello Bistro chain was created in 2012 and its website describes the restaurant as “Eat’n Park’s sassy cousin.” It offers a huge salad bar, burgers, sandwiches, soups and more.
“We’ve always had a strong connection with the State College community, and it’s an environment Hello Bistro has always wanted to be a part of,” McArdle said. “Plus, there aren’t any other concepts like ours around, so we think we’ll appeal to both students and locals.”
The Homestead, Pa.-based Eat’n Park had a presence in State College for more than two decades. The North Atherton Street location of its flagship brand closed in September 2015 after 24 years in business. (Crazy Boil, a Cajun seafood restaurant, is planning to open in the former Eat’n Park building later this year.)
There’s also a personal connection to the Centre Region. Jeffrey Broadhurst’s father, Penn State alumnus Jim Broadhurst, was previously the longtime CEO of Eat’n Park and oversaw significant expansion of the restaurant group. Jim Broadhurst is a past chair of the Penn State Board of Trustees.
McArdle said Hello Bistro’s State College location will employ 45 to 50 people. It will be the ninth Hello Bistro location, with seven others in the Pittsburgh area and one in Ohio.