It has weathered home run blasts off its windows from baseball sluggers Barry Bonds and Carlos Delgado, but the Hard Rock Cafe in the Rogers Centre apparently can’t handle the current economic downturn.

A brief written statement from Hard Rock International yesterday stated the restaurant chain won’t be renewing its lease when it expires Dec. 31.

The strong-windowed restaurant has been a fixture at the Rogers Centre (formerly SkyDome) since it opened 20 years ago, but a late afternoon visit yesterday found far more staff than customers.

The restaurant, originally owned by the Bitove family, drew praise from sports journalists and travel writers, including John Devine of the Monterey County Herald, who wrote in 2003 that the park’s three defining features were its retractable roof, its hotel and the restaurant.

Staff referred an interview request for this article to the head office of the Hard Rock chain. It took five days for the chain to respond.

“Since opening its doors in 1989 ..... Hard Rock has enjoyed a rich history and appreciated the opportunity to serve fans visiting the Rogers Centre,” the announcement stated.

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