The fond memories of the iconic Red Oak Diner will come back to life for many Binghamton-area residents when the Little Oak restaurant in Conklin opens its doors.
Julianne Ludka and her daughter, Maria Olsen, have spent the last few months setting up the new establishment inside a former pizzeria.
Ludka and her partner, Michael Kapogiannatos, operated the Red Oak on Front Street in Binghamton for more than three decades. The diner closed in October 2020 after struggling to deal with Covid-related challenges. Kapogiannatos died about nine months later.
At one point, Ludka was inclined to reopen the Red Oak but she opted instead to set up a new, smaller eatery in Conklin.
The Little Oak Neighborhood Bistro & Bakery at 1108 Conklin Road is taking shape. The sign for the business was installed a few weeks ago.
Some of the dining room tables and kitchen equipment that were in use at the Red Oak have been moved to the new place.
Ludka and Olsen have been busy preparing for the opening of the Little Oak. They've heard from many of the people who enjoyed the Red Oak who have expressed excitement about the next chapter.
Ludka said the Little Oak will be open every day for dining from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. She plans to offer meals for takeout from 4 to 6 p.m. daily.
The original goal of opening the restaurant by the end of the year won't be met. Ludka said she now is planning to have the Little Oak operational around Valentine's Day.
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