The Red Oak Restaurant on Front Street in Binghamton - which closed three years ago - is expected to make a comeback.

The iconic diner had been operated by Julianne Ludka and Michael Kapogiannatos for about 35 years.

The Red Oak served its last customers in October 2020 after the partners decided to retire. Kapogiannatos died the following July.

The closed Red Oak restaurant building on October 30, 2023. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)
The closed Red Oak restaurant building on October 30, 2023. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)
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Ludka and her daughter, Maria Olsen, opened a smaller restaurant called The Little Oak in Conklin last April.

In the meantime, the family continued to seek a buyer for the former Red Oak site in Binghamton. But Ludka told WNBF News the decision was made to take the property off the market.

Ludka said "we were right to the point of answering to an offer" but Peter Kapogiannatos - who had managed the Red Oak for several years - "just couldn't let it go."

A large "DINER" sign still points the way to the Red Oak restaurant on Front Street in Binghamton. Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News
A large "DINER" sign still points the way to the Red Oak restaurant on Front Street in Binghamton. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)
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Ludka said Peter is planning to reopen the restaurant, although there's no timetable for when operations will resume. She said she's "thrilled" and "excited" by his decision.

Ludka stressed her son's move to reopen the Red Oak won't change the operation of the Little Oak Neighborhood Bistro & Bakery" on Conklin Road. She said she and her daughter "are too far invested in that to do anything else."

Ludka said they "love the folks in Conklin who have welcomed us with open arms."

VIDEO: Relive some memories in this WNBF News visit to the famous Red Oak restaurant building on Front Street.

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Contact WNBF News reporter Bob Joseph: bob@wnbf.com. For breaking news and updates on developing stories, follow @BinghamtonNow on Twitter.

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