HopCat craft beer bar and restaurant is coming to Westport

This is a rendering of the new three-story HopCat restaurant and bar, which is scheduled to open later this year at 401 Westport Road.
This is a rendering of the new three-story HopCat restaurant and bar, which is scheduled to open later this year at 401 Westport Road.

Michigan’s BarFly Ventures LLC plans to open a HopCat craft beer bar and restaurant in Westport by the end of the year.

It is taking a 10,000-square-foot-plus space on three levels at 401 Westport Road. It plans a major renovation with the help of the building’s owner, CAD Management, that is expected to cost more than $2.5 million and will include a rooftop deck and bar.

CAD Management, which confirmed the HopCat lease, purchased Westport Square, a group of buildings in the heart of the midtown entertainment district that includes the HopCat space, in late 2015.

This will be the 12th HopCat bar and restaurant, but it will feature a unique design including custom-commissioned artwork and “a few surprises.” A lower-level room will be available for special events.

Starbucks and Peachwave Frozen Yogurt previously had operated in part of the space.

HopCat will offer a selection of at least 30 beers from Missouri and Kansas and 100 rotating taps featuring seasonal selections, hard-to-find beers, HopCat’s exclusive collaborations and other craft selections from around the world.

In addition to draft beers and ciders, HopCat offers a selection of Belgian and specialty bottled beers, signature cocktails and a full bar.

As part of its commitment to craft brewers, HopCat does not serve Miller, Anhueser-Busch or Coors products.

The menu is described as “food your mom would make if she loved craft beer.” It makes the items from scratch, including chicken salad wraps, specialty burgers, pulled pork sandwiches, and fish and chips. Then there’s The Kitchen Sink, a chipotle black bean patty topped with Spanish rice, corn, veggie chili, avocado, pico de gallo and haystack onions, drizzled with avocado ranch dressing, with toasted Italian sourdough bread on the side.

The Westport restaurant and bar will seat about 300 people and have about 130 employees.

BarFly Ventures was founded in 2008 and currently has HopCat restaurants and bars in Ann Arbor, Detroit, East Lansing and Grand Rapids in Michigan; Indianapolis; Madison, Wis.; Lexington, Ky.; and Lincoln, Neb.

Snow & Co. to move

Snow & Co. planned to be on the cusp of a Crossroads Arts District boom when it opened in late 2011.

It was just a couple of blocks from the new Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, and a couple of restaurants were looking to open across the street. The high-quality frozen cocktail concept would complement the neighborhood, offering consumers a place to go before or after a performance or after dinner.

But those restaurants never opened and now Snow & Co.’s owners plan to relocate their Crossroads operation.

On Thursday the owners signed a lease for the former The Union of Westport space at 421 Westport Road. They will have 3,800 square feet altogether on the street level, in the former basement bar space and on an outdoor patio.

“The Crossroads is having an identity crisis right now. It’s not sure what it’s going to be,” said Jerry Nevins, a partner in Snow & Co. with Andy Talbert and Lauren Cloud. “But Westport and the developers over there definitely have a vision and have been revitalizing the area to compete with Power & Light and welcome concepts such as ours, a lot of very unique Kansas City concepts — Ça Va, Julep, the Doughnut Lounge, Beer Kitchen. And now concepts like HopCat coming in.”

Snow & Co. plans to close its current location at 1815 Wyandotte St. in late September and reopen in Westport in early October.

“We may come back to the Crossroads someday if they figure out they want to be an entertainment district,” Nevins said.

Snow & Co. also has a location in Gladstone.

The menu includes frozen cocktails like the Benny & De June with Koval gin and Esprit de June, hot cocktails like Apple Butter Whiskey with Midnight Moon apple pie moonshine, as well as beer, wine and well drinks, flatbread pizzas, cheese trays, Scimeca’s meatball sliders with Tito’s vodka sauce, salads, and hot sandwiches like corned beef and sauerkraut.

Joyce Smith: 816-234-4692, @JoyceKC