Downtown Bloomington restaurant closing

2012-11-09T15:11:00Z 2012-11-09T15:19:40Z Downtown Bloomington restaurant closingBy Karina Gonzalez |

BLOOMINGTON — A downtown eatery, The Red Oak Comfort Food and Pie Co., closed its doors Friday.

The restaurant, 405 N. Main St., also offered take-out and delivery of pies and casseroles since it opened in the Twin Cities in early 2011. The business first began operation in 1970.

“After 40 years of continuous service, we’re sorry to say we’re closing our doors,” owner Trisha Nusbaum said in a brief statement. “We want to thank people who loved The Red Oak.”

Red Oak originally opened a restaurant in 1970 in Bishop Hill, a historic northwestern Illinois community. The Bishop Hill location closed before the Bloomington location opened. And until recently, Bishop Hill still served as the primary production facility for the restaurant’s local pick-up, shipping and delivery service.

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(38) Comments

  1. twsmith315
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    twsmith315 - February 02, 2013 7:36 am
    Well said ......
  2. earnshaw
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    earnshaw - January 04, 2013 6:58 pm
    They had great food,large servings. If you want more go to a buffet.
  3. earnshaw
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    earnshaw - January 04, 2013 6:53 pm
    Wei monseur.
  4. Pd off
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    Pd off - December 13, 2012 8:31 am
    Yep, those seem to be somewhat successful...oh yeah they serve that "legal" stuff called alcohol !!
  5. melric
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    melric - November 29, 2012 8:57 am
    I'm curious (and this is a GENUINE question, not trying to bait you) whether you feel the parking situation is equally bad in Uptown Normal? I think the proximity of their parking decks is similar to Bloomington's, and on-street parking may actually accommodate FEWER (parallel park vs. angled in) but I don't hear nearly as much complaining about Uptown being too annoying to frequent. It's a constant refrain for Bloomington, tho. Do you avoid both, or is Downtown worse?
  6. melric
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    melric - November 29, 2012 8:53 am
    very true. I was super surprised they didn't make the effort to stay open thru holidays at least. That's gotta be a big season for them!! Maybe there's more at going on here than we know.
  7. melric
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    melric - November 29, 2012 8:52 am
    are you actually relegating ALL downtown or locally-owned restaurants to 'not worth the money and time' because you've had bad experiences at places like BOO-BOO's?? really?? What a shame. You are missing out on some amazing food and atmosphere because you are lumping great restaurants in with a lowest common denominator place!
  8. melric
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    melric - November 29, 2012 8:48 am
    they were only open for about a year here in Bloomington/Normal. If you read the article again you'll see the original Red Oak opened in Bishop Hill in 1972... which is near the Quad Cities. So, for a small biz -- in the overlooked downtown -- open for just a year, it's not unusual that you may not have known about it.

    but for others who have posted here about shoddy service or food at downtown restaurants, I HEARTILY encourage you to try some semi-recent additions (or, for some of you who never come downtown, even well-established places may be 'new' to you, LOL) For starters:
    Lancasters -- in October they started serving lunches for $7-$9 per plate and the selection and quality of food is AMAZING. Try the crab cake sandwich: holy cow!!
    A.Renee -- totally homecooked food for people who want to try some fantastic flavors. Their lunch 'trio' lets you choose soup, sandwich and salad combos for a flat $10 (tax included). The ambiance is wonderful, and I've never been disappointed in the food OR service.
    Kelly's Bakery & Cafe -- these guys just celebrated their 8th year downtown, so if you haven't heard of them I simply can't help you! Their all-you-can-eat Soup & Salad night on Mondays for $12 is darn nice, and lunchtime options any day are varied and tasty!
    Rosie's -- another veteran of downtown, so if you don't know about their great food, it's not THEIR fault. Get out more! Their sandwiches are fantastic (particularly the ones on pretzel rolls. yum) and their coconut shrimp salad rocks.
    Station 220 -- open for dinner only, but their seasonal farm-to-fork menu is always mindblowing. Yeah, you can go for the pricey 'tasting menu' for about $45, but a bowl of their amazing soup and a sandwich may be the best you'll ever eat and will only set you back like $10. And their service/staff is exceptional.
    All I'm saying is, sometimes you need to get out of your comfort zone of restaurants on the Veteran's strip and SEEK OUT good/new/interesting places. Yes, you may have to walk a block (gasp)... just count it towards your gym workout! Sometimes really good experiences are worth a little extra effort. Driving thru McDonald's takes NO effort... :)
  9. Martin
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    Martin - November 20, 2012 4:26 pm
    I say it was victim of "Market Day Pie Sales" by the schools. When Baker's Square was run out what could these people have been thinking? I think their pies were the best around, the problem is you need to sell enough of them, and this community was not big enough to support that specialty market of gourmet pies etc. They just didn't have a enough sophisticated tastes in the area for fine things. I bought 17 "Market Day" related pie through area schools. I only bought pies at Baker's Square for Holiday dinners. Now, thanks to "Market Day" pressure I have pies up the ying yang.
  10. earlyriser54
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    earlyriser54 - November 18, 2012 10:28 am
    Guess Trish saw you coming.
  11. Schleswig-Holstein
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    Schleswig-Holstein - November 14, 2012 5:59 pm
    une belle tranche de tarte aux pommes chaude
  12. booyaa
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    booyaa - November 14, 2012 1:05 pm
    Wow, I am shocked it took that long to close this place.

    I am not being mean to be mean but I must say that the amount of food you got for the price was ridiculous. The food was simply okay and they fed you just enough to take the edge off and keep you hungry so they could sell you "The Pie".

    Tsk, tsk, tsk, that is not what we come to a local eatery for... we come to get satisfied and take care of our lunchtime hunger pains.

    I do not wish a business closing on anyone but this has been brewing at that location for awhile with that formula.

    And the casseroles? Really, if I wanted a tater tot casserole, I would make one... this was not good take home food either... at least not to a person that is accustomed to "home cooking".

    Good luck to those that worked there and owned the establishment (sincerely).

  13. CottonCandi
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    CottonCandi - November 14, 2012 8:37 am
    Me, too...we've lived in B-N for many years, and never ever heard of this place, nor have I ever heard anyone speak of it.
  14. Crybaby
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    Crybaby - November 14, 2012 4:39 am
    'Mousy': Oui, Oui: 'Sosu'=sauce. Just trying to have a little fun here. I figured that one good non sequitur deserved another. With a little imagination: ' Let the sauce be with you.'

  15. thoughts a million
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    thoughts a million - November 13, 2012 8:27 pm
    It's more than just the parking. I try to conserve gas by doing errands together. I live on the NE corner of Bloomington and have easy access to everything from the mall north. There has to be a real convincing reason for me to go downtown, and it usually doesn't exist. I was familiar with this restaurant through word-of-mouth, but never went.
  16. Euler 314
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    Euler 314 - November 13, 2012 5:45 pm
    If you're back by Friday, she just might. We delivered another 25 pounds to your house.

    Good luck, and stay safe! Any word yet? (Check your e-mail!!)
  17. Jose
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    Jose - November 13, 2012 5:32 pm
    Sad to hear the news...perhaps, after 40 years, the owner just wanted a break. Or maybe there were issues with the production facility. Whatever the case, those were some tasty apple pies!

    I wish I could join in on the French, but I only know "Qui sème bon grain recueille bon pain." But that adage is certainly true! My wife makes a crusty whole grain loaf from local wheat that is to die for...mmmmmmm...
  18. Euler 314
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    Euler 314 - November 13, 2012 4:02 pm
    Is that Turkish? I apologize -- never learned much of it beyond "balagan" (or "baraka" or "baranga"), none of which, I'm sure, applies to your phrases. "Sosu" is a cognate for sauce, however, isn't it? If so, havyar (cognate to "caviar") might be construed as a bit salty for consumption.
  19. Euler 314
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    Euler 314 - November 13, 2012 3:20 pm
    C’est grande peine d’avoir du pain et de n’avoir point de dents. ;-)
  20. Crybaby
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    Crybaby - November 13, 2012 3:06 pm
    Bu çok eğlenceli. Burada olmayan başka tutarsızlıkta bulunuyor: 'sosu seninle olsun.'
  21. Crybaby
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    Crybaby - November 13, 2012 2:39 pm
    Laissez-les manger le gâteau et les petits pains de chacun.
  22. Schleswig-Holstein
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    Schleswig-Holstein - November 13, 2012 12:18 pm
    Enfin je me rappelai le pis-aller d’une grande princesse à qui l’on disait que les paysans n’avaient pas de pain, et qui répondit : Qu’ils mangent de la brioche
  23. Snert
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    Snert - November 13, 2012 11:46 am
    Never heard of your place, and I've lived here all my life. No wonder you're closing.
  24. crunch-o-matic
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    crunch-o-matic - November 13, 2012 6:14 am
    40 years? how is youve been around for 40 years and the first time i hear about you is when you close?
  25. tcubbies23
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    tcubbies23 - November 12, 2012 6:13 pm
    This is the first I've heard of this place and I've been in town since 1972! Guess they should have advertised.
  26. Alli
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    Alli - November 12, 2012 3:10 pm
    Had such poor quality control with several downtown eateries that never even was tempted to try Red Oak. Boo Boo's closed no loss there. I'm tired of spending my money and time for orders to be wrong or meat being on only half the sandwich. You would think locally owned would care more but they are no better than chains.
  27. stats13579
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    stats13579 - November 12, 2012 2:39 pm
    there are two parking garages downtown. I live by one that I have never seen fill up. I guess people are too accustomed to parking in front of a place and can't handle walking?
  28. Cane34
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    Cane34 - November 12, 2012 8:46 am
    This is very disappointing news, considering Trish just recently sold me a gift certificate. How could someone sell a gift certificate in good conscious if there was even the slightest possibility of closing in the near future? The fact that she didn't even give her loyal customers any notice is also disappointing.
  29. cdawg
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    cdawg - November 11, 2012 6:12 am
    Really sad about this; I was going to order pies for Thanksgiving this year!
  30. ChubbyAlaskaGriz
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    ChubbyAlaskaGriz - November 11, 2012 4:29 am
    Same here. Loved the lasagna and pies. And the beef/noodle casserole. And glad they had delivery as there was almost never close parking available. Love downtown- but parking is the one negative. Hard for downtown locations to compete w/ contemporary strip mall culture these days... I wonder if in 100 years when life evolves yet again, folks will look back and sadly, longingly lament those charming bygone strip malls and gas station mini-marts?
  31. calvin
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    calvin - November 10, 2012 11:04 am
    I'm sorry to hear this as our family really enjoyed their casseroles and pies. That being said, we only ordered for delivery because of the downtown location. Had they been in a better spot (more centralized, no issues with parking), we would have stopped in to eat or gone in to spontaneously carry out meals. But for us, the downtown location was a huge negative factor of an otherwise great business.
  32. tony
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    tony - November 10, 2012 7:10 am
    no more pot roast lunches for me, i would suggest city take a look at how downtown delray beach fl., has alternating blocks of meters and 2 hours signs, this block needs help as i have been campaigning on for 4 years. we paid 200k for a study that confirmed downtown loft livers as well as employees are shuffling around their cars to skate the parking sign system, and it is hurting commercial business, testing meters in this block alone would be well worth the effort. thanks for the smiles and all that great positive energy. this establishment had a very mature demographic that surely couldn't navigate the walks too far to patronize.
  33. mom2aj
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    mom2aj - November 10, 2012 6:54 am
    I was thinking the same thing about the Facebook post from yesterday. Now I can't even find their facebook page!
  34. Swthart81
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    Swthart81 - November 09, 2012 8:18 pm
    Funny thing is I work downtown & didn't know it was there!
  35. joedmo
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    joedmo - November 09, 2012 8:08 pm
    That's totally not what their Facebook page said yesterday!
  36. coldfiltered
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    coldfiltered - November 09, 2012 7:35 pm
    That would make a great place for a tavern or college bar offering $ 1 shots etc.
  37. Report Abuse
    - November 09, 2012 7:24 pm
    To Swthart81 .... Don't get out much .... let alone downtown Bloomington.
  38. Swthart81
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    Swthart81 - November 09, 2012 3:39 pm
    Hmm it closed? Never knew it opened, maybe that's the problem.
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