EXPANSIONS – HopCat, the Grand Rapids-based craft beer bar, is scoping out its first Illinois location in Chicago’s Lincoln Park. The development comes after last year’s announcement that HopCat’s parent company had plans to expand the bar to more than 30 locations across the Midwest. At present, HopCat is eying a property at 2577 N. Clark in Chicago. [MLive]
THE SHUTTER – Sports bar Albert’s on the Alley has closed its doors, at least for now. A sign on the front door reads "temporarily closed for restaffing and restructure," which could mean big changes for the longstanding concept. The closure could be related to declining revenues, which owner Steve Valenti chalked up to "area bars trying to undercut each other" last year. No word yet on when (or if) Albert’s plans to reopen. [Detroit Free Press]
CHEF SHUFFLES – Former Top of the Pontch chef Justin Vaiciunas is ditching Detroit for Chicago in the coming weeks. This isn't Detroit's first chef loss to Chicago, evidenced by Chef Norman Fenton's departure earlier this year. Fortunately, the road between Chicago and Detroit has also occasionally been a two-way street.