INDIANAPOLIS — A restaurant that proudly proclaims itself as "Indiana's Best Beer Bar" on its windows is closing its doors for good at the end of the month.
HopCat announced on social media Thursday that it will close its location at the corner of Broad Ripple Avenue and College Avenue on Jan. 28.
The Michigan-based restaurant posted this statement about the closure:
For the past 10 years, it has been our pleasure to share great craft beer and made-from-scratch food with the Broad Ripple community. It is with regret that we announce the last day of service at HopCat Broad Ripple will be on 1/28/2024.
Please join us in raising a pint to our amazing staff, many of whom have been with us since we opened our doors. We thank you for your support and hope to see you before we close our doors later this month. And if your travels bring you our way, we look forward to serving you at another one of our 10 HopCat locations.
If you have questions, please email Guest Relations at firstname.lastname@example.org.
HopCat employee River Bennett said they and their co-workers suddenly learned about the closure from a human resources professional on Wednesday.
"No one in our store knew," Bennett said. "General manager, assistant general manager...no one knew. We've been booking events for the summer time. We have wedding parties that people scheduled with us that they can't do anymore."
Bennett hoped HopCat executives would have given employees more time to try and find a new job.
"I'm sure the HR person would want a two-week notice from me if I was leaving, but she did let us know she could have told us we're let go by just putting a note on the door," Bennett said.
The small window between the closure announcement and the last day of business allowed customers to come back for one last meal.
"I said, 'I've got to go try it again," said Andrew Larrigan, who said he had eaten at HopCat at least six times over the years. "The fries and the burgers are so good, and so is the beer selection. I'm sad to see it go."
Larrigan dined at HopCat Saturday afternoon and soon realized he was not the only person who wanted a final bite and brew.
"The host said it was an hour wait today, but we lucked out and got a seat at the bar," Larrigan said.
Bennett did not have to wait long for another job opportunity.
"I had 30 to 40 different restaurants reaching out to me to offer me employment, which was wonderful," Bennett said. "I was stressed. I thought I was going to get evicted."
Bennett does not regret working for HopCat, but remains upset about the way it ended.
"A lot of us had put all of our eggs in this basket and a lot of us had families," Bennett said. "They dropped the news on us like it was nothing."
HopCat does not have any other locations in Indiana. Its only other location outside of Michigan is in Lincoln, Nebraska.