What if the coronavirus came a'knocking at your door, and she happened to appear as a wailing banshee wielding a pizza cutter? Well, that’s (kinda) been the fate for a pair of establishments in near-northeast Minneapolis.
“It is with a heavy heart that we must bid our friends 'slán',” wrote Marty Neumann late Monday afternoon, as he announced that both Keegan’s Irish Pub and Red’s Savoy would be closing forever, effective July 1, 2020.
“We can no longer sustain operations due to the recent pandemic related to COVID-19,” he continued, before thanking, “the staff and all of our patrons that have supported us over the last 18 years.” Fans of the nook-like pub – whose interior was famously built in Waterford, Ireland in 2001 before being transported via train and ship for installation – have until 10 p.m. tonight, June 30, to toss back however many pints of whatever necessary until it's time to totter next door for drunken slices before the perfectly paired shops close for keeps.
With Keegan’s and Red’s Savoy shuttering, only Jimmy John’s and PinKU Japanese Street Food remain open along this once bustling block of University Avenue. Readers may recall that JL Beers kicked the bucket just before New Years, or before that when New Bohemia permanently closed its original location (at 233 E. Hennepin Ave.) back in September. The Fire Barn building, which houses all of the aforementioned restaurants, was sold for $16.4 million in 2018.
City Pages reached out to PinKU Japanese Street Food to touch base about being one of the only establishments left operating on the block.
“We are deeply saddened by the departure of Keegan's and Red Savoy,” Xiaoteng Huang, PinKU’s managing partner told us. “Ever since we opened four years ago, the owner of Keegan's has been a mentor to us, helping us along the way as we navigated through the challenges of opening a brand new concept and learning the Northeast neighborhood."
"Our staff have spent countless nights getting a beer at Keegan's after work and have gotten to know their staff extremely well," he continued. "They're like family to us and we are very sad to see them go.”
Lest that block-wide exodus feel like a pattern, Huang was quick to put those fears to rest: “The past four months have been extremely difficult, but we have stayed open during the pandemic and the protests,” said Huang, praising PinKU's staff for this feat. Anything but throwing in the towel, Huang says the restaurant is looking to hire additional staff as they look to the future. “We look forward to serving our guests for years to come and to keep coming up with weekly specials to showcase the art and rich heritage of Japanese street food.”
*Yes, we understand that Jimmy John’s is still standing. But, Jimmy John’s isn’t a local, small business, and please don’t get us started on ethics.