HopCat opens outdoor dining on busy Heartside corner

By: Deborah Johnson Wood

On one of the busiest corners in Grand Rapids’ growing entertainment district, HopCat may well be the trendsetter for expansion: expanded outdoor dining, expanded hours and an expanded selection of brews gives patrons expanded options for frequenting the popular eaterie.

The pub/restaurant at Weston and Ionia SW specializes in craft beers—handcrafted beer from smaller breweries around the globe—with an emphasis on well-made Michigan brews.

HopCat opened last January, and has begun its first summer by tripling the outdoor dining space, adding lunch hours, and will soon feature live brewing demonstrations by guest brew masters from local breweries and brewing guilds, and even some celebrity brewers of local fame.

“This month the brewing equipment arrives, and we’ll brew five to seven kegs at a time,” says Gary Boyd, manager. A glass wall at the rear of the restaurant separates the brewery from the dining room.

“The first beer will be a cooperation between us and New Holland Brewing Company,” Boyd adds. “By the beginning of June we’ll have the first batch available, probably an ale.”

The new patio offers seating at traditional picnic tables, cushy loveseats and couches with low tables, sun-filled spaces and shady spaces created by a large black canopy and table umbrellas.

“I describe the atmosphere as sort of Chicago meets Prague, Big City meets Catacomb,” Boyd says with his dry humor, gesturing at the dark walls and the 48 shining taps along the length of the polished wood bar.

“We’re not about that whole bar atmosphere and selling beer cheap—we’ve got a real selection of drafts,” he adds. “We’re going for the audience who’s interested in craft beer.”

Source: Gary Boyd, HopCat

Photo by Brian Kelly

Deborah Johnson Wood is the development news editor for Rapid Growth Media. She can be contacted at [email protected].

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