The owners of the iconic Red Oak Restaurant and Diner in Binghamton have decided to shut down the business.

Julianne Ludka said she and her partner, Michael Kapogiannatos, are retiring after operating the Red Oak for about 35 years. The business was started by Edward Howard in 1976.

The Red Oak was closed for several months this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It reopened in August.

The Red Oak Restaurant and Diner at 305 Front Street opened in late 1976.
(Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)

Ludka told WNBF News business was coming back "little by little" over the past several weeks. But in recent days as infection rates started rising again and people were urged to stay home, "the bottom fell out."

Although the owners had been considering the possibility of retirement, the decision to close didn't come until Saturday.

Speaking at the restaurant on Sunday, Ludka said "this is our last day." She said "we've made so many friends" who were regular customers. She added: "It's a very emotional day."

Julianne Ludka inside the Red Oak Restaurant and Diner on June 20, 2018. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)
Enter your number to get our free mobile app

Contact WNBF News reporter Bob Joseph:

For breaking news and updates on developing stories, follow @BinghamtonNow on Twitter.

FOODIE FRIDAY: Paprika Chocolate Cake