Red and Moe Closing

The word around town is that Red and Moe will soon be no more…closing sometime in the next couple of weeks. They had a decent run since opening in September 2010 – interesting, generally good food and much of it locally-sourced. But quirky hours and a difficult-for-Columbia price-point may have doomed them. Best of luck to Trey and the crew in whatever comes next.


Author: Scott

I am a married father of two. I graduated from Rock Bridge High School and then Mizzou before spending six years in the Washington, D.C. area. We returned to Columbia, Missouri in 2006.

11 thoughts

  1. It’s not just a loss for the restaurant scene, it’s a significant loss for all the local farmers Trey supported. R&M was one of the top farm-table places in the city, given how much he purchased at decent prices and given how much work he put into buying produce in-season and preserving it for later. Trey’s patronage helped get us through a crappy market year last year, and we have a lot of crops in the ground or already planned/purchased intended for sale to him throughout the next year.

    For example, we kept our garlic planting the same size despite leaving market in 2012, because Trey would have absorbed most of the excess throughout the year (we were still delivering garlic to him in February). Now we, and every other farmer that sold to him, have to work harder to find new outlets for all the products he used or take the hit of selling it at a loss elsewhere or not selling it.

    Trey called us a couple weeks ago to give us the news, as soon as he heard it from the owner, because he knew how much we had invested in producing for him and wanted to give us as much lead time as possible to adapt. It’s a shame Columbia couldn’t keep this place open despite it adhering to pretty much every quality and ethical standard a good foodie community would want to support. The ripple effects from this, in our local economy, go far beyond one less place to eat out.

  2. The hours were HORRIBLE. They closed at either 9-9:30 on weekends. C’mon that’s just absurd for a downtown restaurant to have such silly hours and expect to succeed.

    Sorry but I’m not going to blame the customers. It’s the ownership (not Trey) who should have been open more DURING THE WEEK and longer evening hours on the weekend if they truly wanted to succeed. Walked by that place around 8:30-9pm several times thinking “nah I don’t want to go in now they’re going to close soon and I don’t want to be “that couple” that keeps everyone late.

    Same problem with Saigon Bistro having those silly early closing hours.

    Lay off the guilt trip about organic local etc. R&M dropped the ball. And the prices were high and in this economy *in this town* (not LA, NYC, Chicago) if you have high prices you have to have a the decor to go with it.

    Plus if you look at the Street Talk piece today in ColTrib today it says owner closed (paraphrasing) “it took to much of my time”. LOL. Said business was actually pretty good. If that’s the case and not just a spin, there’s no need to feel guilty about not going.

  3. Scha,

    No argument on the hours, though even that allows me to tell a story on Trey’s dedication to his sources. They were always closed on Tuesdays, obviously, yet that was our standard delivery day for all other restaurants. So for much of the year, Trey came in to the restaurant to meet me at our scheduled delivery time, to get the produce he wanted. A nice touch from a dedicated chef.

    I’m not arguing with any of the structural choices that might have made a difference. While most of us don’t have access to numbers or business plans, I do wonder whether some of the choices related to attempts to keep costs down to better afford the ingredients they wanted. For example, I’d suspect that the W-Sa hours allowed for one standard set of staff (Trey plus a few) rather than the far more it would take to be open 6 days a week for 12 hours (i.e. 11-11). Same goes for the self-serve structure which I’ve heard bothered some people given the otherwise higher-end nature of the place; it likely again kept staffing costs down and allowed those costs to be reinvested in the quality.

    Or maybe the owner was just cheap; I’m not outright defending them, just thinking through some of the reasons for decisions that could be questioned. I know from our own business there are often good reasons for decisions that aren’t immediately apparent, and am giving the benefit of the doubt for the sake of discussion.

    I think my biggest concern would be lack of advertising and explanation; even walking to the front of the place, there was really no outright explanation of what it was, where it sourced, and why it was different. That makes a big difference but doesn’t cost much to achieve. “Italian quality with Missouri flavors” or something like that…I never saw much effort to really explain how they did things and why. You could figure it out if you wanted to, but that doesn’t draw the casual eater in or bring others back as much.

    As for the relationship between prices and decor, I’m not sure what you mean. If anything, I’ve heard some comments that the decor was TOO fancy for pizza, not that it wasn’t fancy enough. And prices are relative to many things; I certainly didn’t claim this was anywhere but here. What does a slice of pizza or a beer cost at an MU basketball or football game, and how does the quality compare? That’s an honest question, as I’ve never been to an MU event. But of the many sporting events I’ve attended throughout my life, all have had severely overpriced food and beer especially given the quality, and I’ve never heard complaints from fans that stadium food service vendors are snobby. I’m a sports fan too and am not slamming fans; I’m just asking why something like R&M shouldn’t have the same rights to high prices, especially if their quality is far better?

    We can all think of things we’d do differently with someone else’s business. The two complaints I heard most often about R&M were hours & pricing. I agree with the former, and don’t agree with the latter, given the context of what people pay for food in many other contexts in this town.

  4. Wow, this is great news! It will surely give Churchill’s Italiano a run for its money……SARCASTICALLY KIDDING!

    Seriously now, I’m very happy to hear this promising news for the local dining scene.

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