ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — After 77 years St. Paul is saying goodbye to O’Gara’s for good. The O’Gara family says it’s a decision they didn’t take lightly.
The owner tells WCCO how they made the touch decision and why all isn’t lost for O’Gara’s customers.
O’Gara’s opened in March of 1941.
Jalayne Negley works at the Neighborhood Cafe next door.
“To me, it’s like a landmark,” Negley said. “It’s a staple of St. Paul, so it’s really weird to hear they are not going to be there anymore.”
Word spread down Selby Avenue that the World War II, three-generation business that Charles Schultz family once lived above is closing. Brian Loomis works close by.
“It’s too bad its gone,” Loomis said. “People were relying on it to come back.”
And the hope was to come back. The bar was torn down in 2018 with a vision to return — a vision the family announced Monday is no longer an option.
“This has been very difficult and obviously something that we didn’t take lightly,” Dan O’Gara said Monday. “If this was strictly a business decision, I would have made it a year ago.”
O’Gara says competition from craft breweries, as well as an impending minimum wage and paid leave law, has his hands tied.
“I think over the next three to five years, it’s going to be very difficult for a single operator to succeed,” he said.
The bar will be closed, but the business will live on at the Minnesota State Fair.
“We just really want to thank everyone for generations of love and friendship,” O’Gara said.
O’Gara’s says it hopes to help find 50 people who worked for them new employment.
Aside from the fair, O’Gara’s will have a stand at the auto show and continue to cater during the summer months.