Terça-feira, 21/5/2019 | : : UTC-4
The Reflection

Hopcat’s crack fries never fail to addict

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On October eleventh, Hopcat received a warm welcome downtown Kalamazoo at 300 East Water Street in the renovated northern portion of the train depot next to a Maru Sushi and Grill.

Based on the town each resides, Mark Sellers, the founder of Hopcat, tries to create a different ambiance at every establishment. Hopcat currently has 14 locations, and he jokes that they’re an “anti-chain chain.” The restaurants also aim to get as many products as they can locally. Downtown Kalamazoo was an ideal location since it is known for being a well-known beertown, an environment Hopcat thrives in since they often boast about their variety and quality of brews.

Although each location comes with its own unique atmosphere, what the chain keeps consistent is their waste reduction program. The chain recycles or composts around 90 percent of the waste generated. Not only does this build relationships with local recycling and composting companies, but it also makes it easy for staff and customers to help out with the environment. In its bathrooms, there were two waste bins–one only for the biodegradable paper towels and another for landfill.

HopCat is a family-friendly, no-smoking brew pub. Its hours are 11 a.m. to 2 a.m, so customers who want lunch to late night snacks are ready to go. Most people spend around one to two hours in the restaurant. Credit cards are accepted for plastic-paying customers. Casual-dress casual is appreciated attire, and jeans the most common clothing item among customers.

Barzee stuffed burger with crack fries and cheese dipping sauce. Photo courtesy of Malissa Howe.

Frozen pumpkin pie with whipped cream. Photo courtesy of Malissa Howe.

As for the menu, the stuffed Bar Zee is a solid choice. It’s a delicious burger with crack fries to compliment. The only complaint was that it’s not as stuffed with cheese as expected, but nevertheless, it came with cheese on it as well. The seasonal dessert was frozen pumpkin pie with whipped cream which was excellent. The frozen aspect gave the classic dessert a twist that brought out the pumpkin softened with the whipped cream.

One way Hopcat keeps ahead of the curve is its No Wait app. The No Wait app is downloadable to Apple and Samsung phones. Once downloaded, you can put in your location and see what restaurants are nearby that are on the app and get in line before you get to the restaurant. Once you arrive at the restaurant, you can show the hostess you’re on the No Wait app to sign in. It saves time and tells you how long your wait will be and what time will be optimal to come in.

Another nice feature is the CatPack Loyalty program. There are three different options all with different levels of perks: AlleyCat (free), Fat Cat ($19.95/year) and HepCat ($99.95/year). Each option includes a card, free birthday meal and the opportunity to earn points. Points can be redeemed for free food, clothes and even a trip to Belgium (50,000 points within five years). Customers can earn double their points on Mondays with food purchases.

Painting of David Bowie in Hopcat. Photo courtesy of Malissa Howe.

This HopCat has two rooms and a patio. There are vibrant pictures of certain pop culture figures, such as David Bowie and John Lennon with guitars hanging on the brick walls. Wooden decorations adorn the restaurant giving it a rustic vibe. Romantic lighting met with natural the lighting of the big windows overlooking the street. Green booths lined the walls and windows. The bar is in the middle of the room and has TVs playing various sports games. Wooden tables with shiny red chairs fill the rest of the space.

Sometimes there are live performances, but other times music is played. It can get loud with all the customers and can be hard to hear.

The restaurant offers free wi-fi with a login.

The menu is black, white and yellow with subtle cat pictures and punny references throughout. Living up to its brewpub genre, it consists of mainly pizza, burgers, sandwiches, Mac n Cheese, and their famous crack fries.

The staff was friendly and attentive to the needs of the customer. Refills happened when necessary, and the food came at a reasonable time.

The bathrooms are decorated and clean. All of the doors and locks were functional and the stalls were more spacious than the average and the door gap was minimal, always an appreciated feature. Everything seemed to be stocked with more available from the toilet paper to soap. The toilet, sink, soap and paper towels were automatic.

There is a parking lot for the restaurant, but during its high time sometimes that can get full and overflow to the street.

Their weekly specials include: Monday & Thursday 3-6 p.m.: $5 off burgers & pizza; Sunday & Wednesday 10 p.m. to close: Half off apps & Crack Fries; Monday 3 p.m. to close: Half off apps & Crack Fries

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Hey, I’m Malissa Howe. I’m a sophomore and this is my first year in Newspaper. I plan on being a journalist after college and hopefully, this year is a chance to expand on my writing styles.


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