HopCat will be returning to downtown Royal Oak after a two-year absence. It will be located at 430 S. Main St.

HopCat will be returning to downtown Royal Oak after a two-year absence. It will be located at 430 S. Main St.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

HopCat to make return to downtown Royal Oak after 2 years

By: Mike Koury | Royal Oak Review | Published November 21, 2022


ROYAL OAK — After being forced to shut down two years ago, HopCat will be making its return to downtown Royal Oak.

In May 2020, a couple of months after the business had to close due to the pandemic, HopCat closed permanently when its owners weren’t able to come to terms on an agreement with its landlord and were forced to leave the building, located at 208 W. Fifth Ave.

After two years, the business will be making a comeback in a new location at 430 S. Main St. Found at the corner of Fifth Avenue and South Main Street. HopCat will take over spaces formerly occupied by Noodles & Co., GameStop and bd’s Mongolian Grill.

Project BarFly announced at the end of October that it is looking to hire approximately 150 employees at the location, including positions in the front and back of the house, cooks, dishwashers, barbacks, hosts, food runners, servers and bartenders. Project Barfly is a “West Michigan-based hospitality group that oversees operations of HopCat, Grand Rapids Brewing Company and Stella’s Lounge,” a press release states.

“At HopCat, we’re always looking for enthusiastic people to join our team to help us deliver high-quality service to our guests,” BarFly CEO Ned Lidvall said in the press release. “We strive to provide the best work environment, where employees can be themselves, while fostering growth and development, and giving them the opportunity to discover a long-term, rewarding career. We’re excited to return to Royal Oak and look forward to serving both returning and new guests alike.”

HopCat is expected to open in the winter, though an official date was not given. Anyone looking to apply for a job can do so at www.barflyjobs.com, in-person at the Detroit HopCat restaurant located at 4265 Woodward Ave. and by texting BarFly at 85000.

HopCat originally opened in its three-story Fifth Avenue location in May 2017 and was a popular spot for locals during that time.

Royal Oak City Manager Paul Brake said he couldn’t say for sure if the loss of HopCat for the last two years had any financial impact, but he said that “certainly” the city didn’t want to have a vacant building in the downtown.

“That was a popular venue in the past, and so we’re pleased to have them back,” he said. “It gives one additional choice for individuals that are going out for socializing or for a meal or whatever. So we’re thrilled to have that as part of our downtown choices.”

HopCat’s former site was redeveloped as Pastaio Handmade Pasta & Pizza, which held its grand opening Aug. 3.