See more of the story

A three-year run for McKinney Roe has come to an end.

With the Minnesota Vikings season over, the restaurant neighboring U.S. Bank Stadium closed this past weekend, according to a mournful email sent to employees by owner Dermot Cowley.

“It breaks my heart to have to send out this email,” Cowley wrote.

“As many of you know, it’s been a struggle for the past 3 years to generate enough night time business to keep the restaurant going,” he went on.

(Cowley did not respond to the Star Tribune’s request for comment.)

McKinney Roe had a tumultuous couple of years as it tried to find its footing in the burgeoning neighborhood. The restaurant would fill up on game days, but a regular nighttime crowd never materialized. Last February, Cowley transformed it from a high-end, bistro-style spot to an Irish pub.

“People in the neighborhood thought we were too fancy or too expensive,” he told the Star Tribune at the time.

The remake was supposed to model McKinney Roe on the success of its Irish gastropub sister restaurant in Excelsior, Jake O’Connor’s. Incidentally, that restaurant closed last summer after a 13-year run.

Cowley’s email to employees says the switch to the pub model helped business, and that “a new partner was ready to commit to keeping the pub going, however this deal fell through over the weekend and now we have no choice but to close our doors for good.”

Cowley apologized to staff for the short notice, and signed off, “With great sadness.”

Cowley still owns O’Donovan’s in Minneapolis and Lola’s Lakehouse in Waconia.

This isn’t the first closure of the year for the developing East Town neighborhood, where the Wells Fargo tower that houses McKinney Roe is located. Nearby Vikings bar Erik the Red closed Jan. 1, with an expected move to south Minneapolis this summer.

Sharyn Jackson • 612-673-4853

@SharynJackson