Here’s some delicious news for residents of Livonia, Northville and surrounding communities craving Hopcat’s Cosmik Fries and double smash burgers: The popular restaurant is just weeks away from swinging open its doors at 17800 Haggerty Road in Livonia.
The Hopcat team has almost completely renovated the former site of the Claddagh Irish Pub, transforming it into a welcoming space for customers who appreciate a vast variety of locally-brewed craft beers, iconic menu items and a cool atmosphere that is heightened by slick decor.
A variety of craft beer tap handles serve as a partition on the north end of the 9,200-square -foot restaurant, while its northeast wall is decorated with a compelling mural made up of famous (and not-so-famous) album covers, including southeast-Michigan natives Eminem and Marvin Gaye.
A rear section of the Claddagh — set off by a stone-framed entrance — was preserved for a special-event space that can be rented out beginning in late-July.
A rarity these days in the construction business, the Livonia Hopcat is scheduled to open approximately one month before its original grand-opening date — a scenario made possible by the work of Grand Rapids-based Kozak Construction.
If you’re a stranger to the Grand Rapids-based restaurant chain, here’s a phrase on its website that sums up what Hopcat is all about:
“At HopCat you’ll be welcomed by beer enthusiasts and a curated list of local beers, accompanied by food that your mom would make if they loved craft beer, in an energetic, one-of-a-kind space that engages all 5 senses.”
Location has a lot of appeal
A multitude of features attracted Hopcat to the Haggerty Road building, revealed Michele Ary, a brand manager for Barfly, the parent company of Hopcat.
“The Claddagh Pub was a beautiful space, so we’re excited to take it over, come in here and make it our own,” said Ary.
“Whenever we make a decision to open a new site, we listen to our fans. A lot of our original customers have families now and they’ve moved from the big cities to metro areas like Livonia.
“With this location, we’re providing — among other things — a craft beer experience people can’t get anywhere else on this stretch of Haggerty Road.”
While the Haggerty Hopcat will feature decor consistent with the franchise’s 10 other locations — including spacious booth seating — every site is unique in its own way, Ary explained.
“The 50 taps of craft beer we offer are different at every location,” Ary said. “And except for the section of the Claddagh we kept in the rear, we re-did this space from the studs up.”
Hopcat has earned nationwide accolades since opening its first restaurant in Grand Rapids in 2008, including awards from RateBeer.com. It was also rated No. 3 on BeerAdvocate.com’s list of “Best Beer Bars on Planet Earth”.
Ary said Hopcat emphasizes connecting to the communities it does business in through charitable causes.
While its recently reopened Royal Oak location has partnered with the Detroit Zoo for charitable causes, the Livonia site has connected with the Livonia Public Schools’ Project Learn This Way.
“We’re proud to announce we will host fundraisers that will benefit the school district’s K-4 STEM program,” Ary said.
While acknowledging that the Haggerty Road corridor is populated by several first-class eateries, Ary said Hopcat embraces the challenge the competition brings.
“We work hard to create an amazing environment with great food, drink and atmosphere,” she said. “We understand if we can’t harvest the craft-beer fans and people who love our iconic food, then others will.”
A room dedicated to arcade-type games will be equipped with up to 10 machines, Ary said.
“Being so close to Schoolcraft and the athletic dome, we’re hoping people stop by in between games — or before or after — and check us out,” she said.
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