From humble beginnings…
Established in 1944, Red's is the oldest restaurant in Greene County. By 1952 founder Red Mays had expanded the meager dining area to six times its original size and the kitchen 20 times its original size. Red attributed his success and rapid growth to his famous Shrimp Cocktail, which prompted future generations to refer to Reds as "The House that Shrimp Built." Reds Shrimp Cocktail is the number one selling appetizer to this day. Red Mays believed in providing quality fresh seafood, prepared simply to allow the true flavor of the seafood to come through. Today Red's continues this tradition while also offering new, exciting and creative dishes.
Hans & Freda Bartels purchased the restaurant from Red Mays in the mid 1950's. Although little is known about the Bartels era, we do often have customers point at an area by the kitchen door that they say was where Freda Bartels was often found doing paperwork.
Innovation and Risks Abound
Edward P. Barber was the third independent owner of Reds beginning in 1971. Throughout his 28 year reign, Ed and his wife Cathy implemented many innovative ideas including the Reds Blimp. Ed was also ahead of the curve when he created the Reds Frequent Diner Program in the mid 1980's. It was the first of its kind and Ed was recognized in national magazines for his forward thinking in developing the program. (Although rewards programs are everywhere now, they were non-existent back then.)
In the mid 1980's the Barbers made the bold decision to paint Reds grey. The community and long time customers were not only shocked, they voiced their dismay openly. The Barbers eventually compromised and painted the door red.
Where we are today?
In 1999 Joe and Kate Konopka became the fourth independent owners of this local landmark. The first thing on their agenda was to restore the exterior to its original red and white color palate which immediately put them in the good graces of their loyal customer base. They then proceeded to implement many new and innovative ideas of their own while remaining true to the history of this restaurant that has been a part of their lives for nearly four decades now.
After the hype of potential Y2K catastrophies passed, the first Reds website was launched in the year 2000. Over the next two decades many new events and traditions have become synonymous with the Konopka era, including Chef Joe's annual Wine Dinner Event, Sunday Brunch with Santa & Mrs. Claus, Dinner Theaters, Jazz Brunches, Classic Car Cruise-in, theme parties and more. Perhaps the most original idea and most proud acheivement of the Konopkas was their refurbishing of a 1940's boat into what is now known as the Reds Fish Fry Boat, serving classic fried seafood rolls right off the boat every summer season in the north parking lot.
In 2018 the main dining room received a much needed face lift, creating a more updated look and feel while respecting the long history of the restaurant. At the same time, the menu was refreshed to include more modern preparations using more locally sourced ingredients.
Kate & Joe Konopka, Owners