From Designing Menus to Designing Product Experiences

By Bryce Porter, Lead Industrial Designer

Back in January 2008, I was fortunate enough to contribute to the original HopCat opening in Grand Rapids, working alongside founder Mark Sellers, Garry Boyd, Chris Freeman, and others to flip the location at 25 Ionia in an aggressive 60 days. We completely gutted the facility, hired and trained staff, ordered equipment, and wrote menus—even installing a massive Chicago-built custom bar by hand.

HopCat Chef - Bryce Porter - Designing Menus to Product Experiences

At the Kalamazoo opening last week, I had a great time reconnecting with the original crew while sampling a few new offerings and some old favorites. As their founding chef, I helped develop recipes for many of the staple items that live on today. I still love visiting HopCat’s eclectic, welcoming space and feel it’s a fantastic fit for Kalamazoo’s vibrant craft beer and restaurant scene.

When HopCat opened in Grand Rapids eight years ago, I had been in the food industry for 13 years and was already in the process of transitioning my career to industrial design. I see many similarities in creating meaningful experiences around consumer products and menus—and with HopCat’s newest location right here in Kalamazoo, you can expect some exciting Tekna/HopCat collaborations in the near future!

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