After some delays, Royal Oak’s HopCat is gearing up to reopen next month.
According to the company, construction issues have pushed back the public grand opening to 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 11.
As an act of goodwill, the company is promising free Cosmik Fries for one year to the first 100 guests in line, along with HopCat swag and other giveaways.
The new restaurant is located at 430 S. Main St. in a space formerly occupied by Noodles & Co., Gamestop, and BD’s Mongolian Grill. HopCat previously opened a Royal Oak location in 2017 at 208 5th Ave., but it closed in 2020 due to a landlord dispute. (That building now houses Pastaio, a Florida-based Italian chain.)
“We’re thrilled to be back in the vibrancy of Royal Oak,” said Ned Lidvall, CEO of parent company Project BarFly. “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.’”
HopCat’s new 11,300 square-foot Royal Oak restaurant will have 60 local beers on tap and can accommodate 266 diners, the company says. The beer tap system was repurposed from the original Royal Oak location, and a second kitchen will serve off-premise customers, including carry-out, third-party delivery service, and catering, a company first.
“As the dining landscape has changed so much, HopCat decided to open with a second off premise kitchen in our building,” HopCat Royal Oak general manager Kinnewu Pulford said. “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.”
The decor echoes the music-themed design of other HopCat locations, including a wall of classic vinyl record covers.
The restaurant will also have garage doors that can be rolled up in the warmer months, and a dog-friendly patio located along W. Main Street and Fifth Avenue that can accommodate about 100 diners and their furry friends.
HopCat will also participate in Royal Oak’s social district, a pandemic-era policy that allows guests to enjoy to-go beverages from establishments from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week.
The company says it will also offer special invite-only dinner seatings to raise money and awareness for the tigers and lions at the Detroit Zoo.
“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.”
HopCat is now hiring for the Royal Oak location. The Grand Rapids-based beer bar chain has 10 locations, mostly in Michigan.
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