Signature French fries — served with a drug reference — are getting a name change at gastropub Hopcat's 17 locations.
"While the name Crack Fries was intended to be tongue-in-cheek, drug addiction is not a joke," Mark Gray, CEO of BarFly Ventures, HopCat's parent company, said Monday in a Youtube video and blog post. "The drug crack has devastated many of the communities that we serve."
Menus, signs and posters are being redesigned, with a yet-to-be announced name change in January. The more-than 11-year-old recipe for the beer-battered fries, with salt and pepper among a secret blend of seasonings, is to remain intact.
Besides tap lists ranging to more than 100 different curated beers, Crack Fries are what HopCat is known for. When it opens a restaurant, HopCat has a tradition of offering many of its first customers free Crack Fries for a year. Food Network named them one of "America's 10 Best French Fries."
"People love Crack Fries, a lot of people love the name, but we thought it was time to make a change," BarFly Ventures spokesman Chris Knape said. "Frankly, I've been thinking about it for years and getting different feedback through the years — including through some of our partners in Detroit."
He said they're making sure the new name doesn't cause any trademark issues, and the change is expected to be made in time for HopCat's anniversary fry-eating contest in January.
HopCat's footprint has grown with the rise of craft beer, as its locations offer beers from smaller, more local breweries on a menu offering a wide range of styles from across the country and world. The first location opened in January 2008 in downtown Grand Rapids, and HopCat now has seven Michigan locations, including one that opened in Midtown Detroit in 2014 and another in Royal Oak in 2017. Other HopCats are in Florida, Kentucky, Chicago, St. Louis and more.
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