Thursday, August 25, 2016

Hop Cat - Kalamazoo to open Oct. 8 with salute to Michigan Beer

Written by  Paul Starr
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There will be little that’s ordinary about HopCat – Kalamazoo.
The 11th location for the award-winning restaurant and craft beer bar, 300 E. Water Street, will be housed in a restored train depot and feature: A custom-designed, arch-shaped wooden bar, A four-season beer garden with fire features and heaters, An outdoor bar made from a repurposed Airstream camper, and An installation of Heritage guitars paying tribute to the city’s history as a guitar-making mecca.

Mark Sellers, founder of HopCat and its parent company, BarFly Ventures was born in Kalamazoo and spent the first year of his life in the city before his parents relocated to Grand Rapids.

“I've wanted to do a location in Kalamazoo for years but never found just the right space until now,” Sellers said. “In my 20s I was in a band that regularly played at Club Soda, and we even opened for Blue Oyster Cult at The State Theatre once. More cowbell!"

HopCat – Kalamazoo will open at 11 a.m. Oct. 8 with 100 Michigan-made craft beers on tap. As part of the celebration, the first 200 guests will receive a card good for a free order of HopCat’s famous Crack Fries every week for a year. In fact, everyone who visits on opening day will get a free order of Crack Fries, which Food Network Magazine rates among the 10 Best French Fries in the nation.

HopCat – Kalamazoo will feature 100 varieties of craft beer on tap every day, including dozens of Michigan beers and a full menu of “food your mom would make if she loved craft beer” available every day until close. HopCat’s menu includes signature half-pound burgers, Detroit-style pizza, homemade soups and salads, a variety of homemade shareables and entrees like customizable Killer Mac & Cheese.

HopCat’s hiring center inside the United Building, 242 E. Kalamazoo Ave., is now open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays. HopCat is conducting on-site interviews for servers, bartenders, cooks, bar backs, bussers, dishwashers, hosts and security positions.

Extensive renovations by HopCat and building developer PlazaCorp are expected to result in an investment of more than $3 million and more than 100 new jobs.

HopCat – Kalamazoo will also bring BarFly Ventures’ industry-leading waste reduction program to Kalamazoo. The program has a goal of composting or recycling 90 percent or more of the waste generated at BarFly restaurants.

HopCat has been named a top beer bar in the nation by CraftBeer.com and Draft Magazine, among others.

The opening will come on the heels of the launch of HopCat – Chicago on Sept. 3.

Follow HopCat – Kalamazoo progress on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@HopCatKalamazoo).

About BarFly Ventures/HopCat

Founded in Grand Rapids, Mich., in 2008, BarFly Ventures is the parent company of HopCat, a craft beer bar named “No. 3 Beer Bar on Planet Earth” by Beer Advocate Magazine and “No. 1 Brewpub in the United States” by RateBeer.com. HopCat has locations in Ann Arbor, Detroit, East Lansing and Grand Rapids, Mich.; Indianapolis, Ind., Lexington and Louisville, Ky., Lincoln, Neb. and Madison, Wis. BarFly Ventures also has three other restaurant/bar concepts in Grand Rapids: Stella’s Lounge, a whiskey and retro-arcade bar, Grand Rapids Brewing Company and The Waldron, a special events and private party venue.

Paul Starr

Paul Starr

Paul Starr is the creator of the I'm a Beer Hound and one of the organizer and the driving force behind Art & Craft Beerfest, Lansing Beer Fest, Beerfest at the Ballpark Spring & Fall. When he's not working on Beer Hound he's probably watching the Lions, Tigers or Red Wings. Being a recent new Dad of twins, he doesn't have much extra time these days for mischief.