HopCat is sold to former investors in a $17.5M deal

Ned Lidvall will remain CEO, according to the buyers, Congruent and Main Street.
Photo courtesy of HopCat

The nine-unit HopCat gastropub chain and its one-off sister concepts have been sold out of bankruptcy to two of their parent company’s former lenders for $17.5 million.

Included in the sale to Congruent Investment Partners and Main Street Capital are Stella’s Lounge, a bar that also serves food, and Grand Rapids Brewing Co., a brewpub. Congruent and Main Street indicated that they intend to maintain all three concepts and the 11 units they encompass, with industry veteran Ned Lidvall continuing to serve as CEO. The new company is called Project BarFly.

The former owner, BarFly Ventures, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in early June, citing the sales impact of the pandemic. Many of the company’s restaurants were in Michigan, one of the areas hardest hit by the crisis.

Congruent and Main Street, both based in Texas, say they specialize in financing small, growth-oriented companies. The two invested in BarFly in 2015.

“We know the business extremely well from our experiences over the last five years. We strongly believe in each restaurant concept and intend to return the company’s focus to providing a unique, best-in-class customer experience,” Travis Baldwin, Congruent’s founder, said in a statement. “Our goal is to focus efforts around the company’s key markets and ensure HopCat, Stella’s and Grand Rapids Brewing Co.remain a thriving part of these communities.”

HopCat has positioned itself as a haven for serious beer drinkers. Families are welcome during the day and through the evening, but children are not admitted after 9 p.m. because of the concept’s focus on alcohol. Stella’s maintains the same policy.

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