Gamble Mill Inn - Bellefonte
Just went last weekend and was thoroughly warned that things had slipped. Our experience was totally wonderful in every way. I cannot compare to how it was in old ownership, but food was impeccable, adventurous but not "out there", important given the local market. Service was seamless and attentive without any pushiness or smothering. Space was beautiful, staff was obviously thoroughly trained. We had several courses and all were top notch. WIne and beer selection were quite good and cocktails, as the new owners can always do well, were of excellent quality, strength, and value.
Had such a good time that as we walked back home, we left the premises only to be welcomed by a broad smiling gentleman who thought we were such a happy couple that he couldn't help commenting on it. He was sort of embarrassed but alas we must have had a good time in there!
Have been there twice in the last three weeks for dinner, it was okay but not thrilling.
Under previous owners, service had slipped a little and the menu was somewhat stagnant, but two or three years ago they regained their focus a bit and upgraded the consistency and ambitions of the kitchen. Food was prepared with a little more care in execution and some nice updating, and they were on a rebound.
Several differences noted in the recent visits. The decor is plainer, less artwork, and seating service was less prompt and friendly.
Several items were carried over from the old menu, including seafood strudel, duck confit, and butternut squash ravioli. A couple of appetizers appear brought over from Zola menu.
Both parties ordered a variety of items, nothing really stood out as especially fine presentations or executions. Good food for Bellefonte, but price/value would be questionable in Harrisburg or Lancaster markets. Salmon was overcooked and over salted, braised short ribs quite ordinary, duck breast with leg confit was decent but uninspired.
Service was unfortunate, rather slow and not anticipating our group's needs, although water glasses were well looked after. Wine list is a condensed Zola selection.
Service overall reminded me of the unfortunate period under prior ownership, not how they were ten years ago and at the very end of their ownership.
Despite some disappointments, Gamble Mill is still one of the better options in the State College and Bellefonte areas.
I too, would love to hear someone's opinions. I grew up in Bellefonte, and I was offered a belated birthday dinner there the next time I go home to visit family. I have not been there in years, and I hope the new owners will keep the same feel, yet perhaps keep the menu offerings interesting and fresh.
My usual favorite for a celebration dinner was Schnitzel's Tavern, but that has not been an option since the tragic Bush House fire several years ago.
We haven't been to Bellefonte since we had our wedding there in 2005 (reception at the Gamble Mill Inn, in fact), but my husband still mourns the loss of Schnitzel's Tavern. We had a wonderful meal there the day before our wedding. Does anyone know if they might open in a new location? We would definitely roadtrip back to State College if they did.
I wish I could comment if there are any plans to re-open Schnitzel's somewhere else, but so far I have heard nothing to that effect. I know the Kemptons, owners of Schnitzel's, have opened the Olde New York Restaurant in State College, and have carried over some of the German favorites to that menu. They opened last year I believe, and I enjoyed the meal I had there, but the ambiance is not nearly the cozy basement pub-like experience Schnitzel's was.
Back on the Gamble Mill Subject, glad to hear there are positive reviews regarding the current status. I may very well consider them for a belated Mother's Day celebration.