April 22 2013 12:00 AM

City officials dig in for upcoming restaurant’s ceremonial groundbreaking

BarFly management team member Sam Short (third from right) explains the process of planting bines as city officials — and a 5-year-old girl — look on. Allan I. Ross/City Pulse

Monday, April 22 — The planting of ceremonial beer hops marked the construction launch of East Lansing’s upcoming HopCat bar/restaurant today.

The hops will decorate the bar’s mezzanine level when it opens this summer on the first floor of The Residences mixed-use development in downtown Lansing at the corner of Grove Street and Albert Avenue. The event commemorated the next stage in the development of the latest location for Grand Rapids-based BarFly Ventures.

“Planting these hop bines is a symbol of our commitment to local green initiatives,” said Sam Short, BarFly’s director of new projects. “Plus, it’s going to make good beer someday.”

Also on hand from BarFly were owner Mark Sellers and “ringleader” Gary Boyd. They were joined by East Lansing Mayor Diane Goddeeris, Mayor Pro Tem Nathan Triplett, City Manager George Lahanas and Downtown Development Association chair Bill Mansfield.

HopCat will take up the entire 6,500-square-foot space on the main floor. The second floor mezzanine level will give the restaurant 8,400 feet of functional space, and will seat about 300.

Short said HopCat will have 100 beers on tap, “75 percent of which will be from Michigan.”

There will be no brewing on-site. However, he said that BarFly is still looking at Lansing locations for the proposed Lansing Brewing Co., for which the team is still scouting for a possible site. At one time, the Stadium District in downtown Lansing was named as a potential location, but Short said there wasn’t enough space.

Construction on HopCat is projected to be completed by the end of the July for a mid-August grand opening.