‘So many wonderful memories.’ Dante’s Restaurants closes State College pizza pub, bar

A State College restaurant company with deep roots downtown has closed a pizza pub and basement bar, with the the owners directing customers to a nearby location and hinting at something new.

HiWay Pizza Pub and The Saloon at the corner of East College Avenue and Hiester Street closed “in an abrupt and unforeseen change of plans,” according to a Monday press release from Dante’s Restaurant’s & Nightlife. A sign on HiWay Pizza Pub’s door states the restaurant “moved a few blocks away,” to 1301 W. College Ave., State College, where another HiWay Pizza has been located since 2017.

“Along with my father Andy and mother Cathy, I would like to express how truly grateful we are for the support and patronage we have received from downtown community, students, and returning alumni over the years,” Jennifer Zangrilli, director of Dante’s Restaurants & Nightlife, said in a written statement. “While we are sad to say goodbye to our downtown locations, we are enthusiastic about the future and opportunities for growth that lie ahead for us.”

In the press release, the company urged people to “stay tuned for updates on our exciting transition, upcoming renovations, and our soon to be announced 60th anniversary celebration.”

“There are many chapters in our story from the past 60 years and we are already hard at work writing the next pages that will carry us forward for many years to come. We look forward to continuing to serve this community we have been so fortunate to raise our family in and call home,” Zangrilli said.

The downtown HiWay Pizza location opened in 1976, though between 2008-2019 was Inferno Brick Oven Pizza. HiWay Pizza Pub’s menu features pizza, calzones, pasta, sandwiches, salads and other dishes. The eatery prides itself on unique, house-made pizza doughs and Italian sauces.

Delivery service of the full HiWay Pizza menu will continue from the West College Avenue location, according to the press release. Employees from the downtown locations have been offered employment opportunities at that location.

And for those wondering, Dante’s Restaurants Director J.P. Mills said that the Saloon’s signature “Monkey Boy” cocktail will also move to HiWay West.

“We have enjoyed a very, very long run downtown are fortunate to have so many wonderful memories and loyal customers over the years. We would like to thank all of our past employees, customers, and friends for their hard work, patronage, and support,” Mills said in a written statement. “We invite everyone to keep the good times rolling with us just 15 blocks away at HiWay West. We are excited for the future and can’t wait to show you what we are planning next.”

Former Dante’s locations downtown include The Deli Restaurant and Z Bar, Crowbar and Liberty Craft House.