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McKinney Roe closes after 3 years as fancy bistro, Irish pub in East Town

The lunch crowd at McKinney Roe

The lunch crowd at McKinney Roe Leila Navidi / Star Tribune

McKinney Roe was a few things during its three-year run in Minneapolis’ East Town neighborhood—but now it’s none.

The restaurant has closed, the Star Tribune reports

Back when it initially opened, City Pages’ critic suggested McKinney Roe offered “few surprises but decent eats” in an upscale setting. The still fledgling neighborhood on downtown Minneapolis' east side never quite knew what to do with the establishment, especially beyond the lunch hour, or in pro football's off-season. 

To combat this skittish reception from the neighborhood, the bistro rebranded entirelyand briefly invested in ice bars last winter. As it took on a new form, the name McKinney Roe stayed, but management ditched what CP’s critic had once referred to as a “shiny and new, but also hollow and cold” aesthetic, in favor of becoming... an Irish pub. 

Though warmer and different, it seems that change still wasn’t enough. 

As the curtain fell on the Vikes’ 2020 playoff dreams, McKinney Roe owner Dermot Cowley saw the writing on the wall and emailed staff informing them of the closure. In it, his heart seemed palpably heavy. 

After Erik the Red announced a closure-move for south Minneapolis come spring, McKinney Roe folding makes the second restaurant this month to depart for shores beyond the East Town neighborhood, one that is predicated on… what, exactly, beyond event traffic

And honestly, if we say "East Town neighborhood" one more time will it make the name more real, or help it lose all meaning completely?