Anticipation growing for HopCat’s February return to Royal Oak

 Anticipation growing for HopCat’s February return to Royal Oak

Royal Oak’s HopCat will be reopening on Main Street in February.

Prepare your tastebuds for a delicious helping of Cosmik Fries and a tall, chilled glass of a curated local craft beer (or any other beverage to your liking).

Yes, HopCat is reopening its popular restaurant in Royal Oak after closing its original eatery on 5th Ave. in the spring of 2020.

Project BarFly, the west Michigan-based hospitality group that oversees operations of HopCat, Grand Rapids Brewing Company and Stella’s Lounge, announced earlier this month the grand opening details for its new HopCat restaurant located at 430 S. Main St. in Royal Oak. The 11,300-square-foot restaurant and beer bar will soft-open to guests beginning at 10 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 6, offering 60 taps of curated local craft beer and its widely-recognized comfort food menu with famous Cosmik Fries.

Beginning at noon on Friday, Feb. 10, HopCat will host an invitation-only ribbon-cutting ceremony with the Royal Oak Restaurant Association, local community and business leaders as well as HopCat leadership, staff and the restaurant’s mascot, Brewce. A public grand opening celebration will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 11, with the first 100 guests in line receiving free Cosmik Fries for one year, HopCat swag and other special giveaways. Lunch and dinner dine-in guests also will receive complimentary Cosmik Fries and swag while supplies last.

‘Thrilled to be back’

“We’re thrilled to be back in the vibrancy of Royal Oak,” said Project BarFly CEO Ned Lidvall. “Given the challenges that the industry as a whole has faced the past couple of years, we are more than ready to hit the ground running. We have assembled a very strong team — led by Kinnewu Pulford — and we’re very excited to be a growth company again, and to continue our focus on craft beer, music, good times and ‘food your mom would make if she loved craft beer’.”

The new HopCat in Royal Oak accommodates 266 guests, featuring three indoor dining areas with hi-top and low-top tables, mafia booths and a two-room private-event space that can be combined into one larger space. The main bar has 30 available seats and a repurposed beer tap system and bar countertop from the original Royal Oak location as sustainability remains a core tenet for the HopCat brand. During warmer months, three roll-up garage doors will create
an open-air dining space while an outdoor dog-friendly patio will offer guests 98 seats located along W. Main St. and Fifth Ave.

The main dining room Album Wall

The restaurant features a state-of-the-art kitchen for dine-in guests as well as the company’s first separate kitchen to service off-premise customers, including carry-out, third-party delivery service and catering. This marks the first time in company history that a second kitchen will be utilized for this purpose, allowing HopCat to better serve all of its guests with timely service.

“As the dining landscape has changed so much, HopCat decided to open with a second off-premise kitchen in our building,” said Pulford, HopCat Royal Oak general manager. “This will ensure that we can execute all of our to-go guests efficiently without compromising our service standards that made us so popular in the area prior. Needless to say, we are very, very excited to be back in the city of Royal Oak.”

Music-themed walls beyond cool

Additionally, the music theme décor is on full display in the new space with a signature wall adorned with classic vinyl record covers and other accent walls featuring oversized famous musical artists and album art. Among other features is HopCat’s participation in Royal Oak’s social district, which allows patrons to enjoy to-go beverages from establishments from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week, providing guests the opportunity to enjoy the HopCat beverage
experience on-the-go.

As part of the grand opening celebration, HopCat named the Detroit Zoological Society as its charity partner and will offer special invite-only dinner seatings to raise money and awareness for the Royal Oak-based nonprofit. HopCat will match up to $5,000 of all monies raised through alcohol sales and charitable donations on these special nights. The donations will directly support the ongoing care of the tigers and lions at the Detroit Zoo.

A basket of Cosmik Fries
A basket of Cosmik Fries

“Two Amur tigers and four African lions call the Detroit Zoo home — and caring for these majestic animals truly is a community effort,” said Dr. Ann Duncan, Associate Vice President of Life Sciences for the Detroit Zoological Society. “The unwavering support we continue to get from our partners, year after year, is incredible — and the fact that HopCat chose the Zoo as its charity partner for its grand reopening speaks volumes. We encourage the greater Royal Oak community to support the grand opening of HopCat, and we are also extremely appreciative of their efforts in supporting the continued, extraordinary care for these lions and tigers.”

Employment opportunities are still available for front-of-the-house and heart-of-the-house positions at HopCat in Royal Oak. Job seekers are encouraged to apply at Applicants also can text BarFly at 85000 to begin the application process.

Thank you to Marx Layne and Michael Odom for contributing this content to, southeast Michigan’s No. 1 source for good-news-only news.

Ed Wright

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