Downtown Minneapolis continues to transform around the Minnesota Vikings’ new U.S. Bank Stadium, and McKinney Roe – which opens to the public at 4 p.m. on Friday – is in many ways the embodiment of those changes.
The two-level space created by Shea Design ( Spoon and Stable, Butcher the Boar, Eastside) sits in the footprint of the new Wells Fargo tower at 530 4th St. S. Its second-story windows peer out across the lot where the old Star Tribune used to sit but now accommodates a park. The stadium, meanwhile, is just a handful of blocks away, perhaps evidenced by the choice to add TVs to the otherwise elegant digs (no complaints here).
A preview of the space, food and cocktails on Thursday revealed a beauty of a space with curved crimson banquettes, a long marble bar, industrial era-esque globe lighting perched from hanging bronze fixtures, and the building’s centerpiece – a spiral staircase at the center of the bar that leads to an extensive wine loft (there are about 3,500 distinct bottles) above.
“We wanted to have a major focal point when you walk in either of the doors (from the front entrance or the Wells Fargo entrance),” proprietor Dermot Cowley said. “Something that made you say ‘I want to have the meeting here instead of a conference room’ or interested you to sit down for a meal.”
Speaking of food, the menu, which Cowley is calling upscale contemporary American, doesn’t stray far from classics. Chef de Cuisine Michael Jost (most recently at Barrio MSP) – under the guidance of culinary director Christian Oxley – will be serving up a double-patty burger, an entrees menu that includes teriyaki Chilean sea bass, a filet au poivre, and a pork shank, a variety of salads and hearty sandwiches and appetizers such as a seafood ceviche with tortilla chips, a charcuterie plate and calamari. (Food pictures courtesy of McKinney Roe.)
“It was important to have a place where you could come and have a five-star meal one night and come back and sit at the bar for a burger and a beer the next,” Cowley said.
Featured cocktails on Thursday included a smoked Old Fashioned – emphasis on the smoke – and McKinney Roe’s Fall Ricky, a refreshing combination of aquavit, lime, soda, honey syrup and mint.
McKinney Roe, named for Cowley’s mother’s maiden name (McKinney) and his wife’s maiden name (Roe) is run by Irish Bron Hospitality, a group that includes restaurants Lola’s Lakehouse in Waconia, Jake O’Connors in Excelsior and O’Donovan’s Irish Pub in downtown Minneapolis. Oxley is the culinary director for all the restaurants.
The restaurant will be open each night from 4 p.m. to 11 starting Nov. 11. Additionally, a daily lunch service (beginning at 11 a.m.) will begin Nov. 16 and weekend brunch (9 a.m. to 2 p.m.), on Nov. 26.