Grand Rapids tiki bar owner files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A Grand Rapids tiki bar recently dubbed the best new restaurant in West Michigan is now facing Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Mark Sellers, former owner of HopCat, filed a debt restructuring request for Max’s South Seas Hideaway on Wednesday.

In the federal court documents, Sellers said the company he co-owns, Authentiki, needs to make the move to pay off its debts for remodeling the restaurant space at 58 Ionia Avenue SW and nearly $77,000 in back rent.

Sellers said the temporary state order banning dining and in bars and restaurants dramatically reduced the tiki bar’s income. Despite approximately $650,000 in loans and a slow return to profitability, Max’s gains haven’t been fast enough to pay off outstanding bills, according to Sellers.

In the filing, Sellers said Chapter 11 bankruptcy is necessary to keep the business operating, the restaurant’s 55 workers employed, and retain the trust of patrons by honoring roughly $32,000 in gift cards already purchased.

Sellers’ BarFly Ventures, which operated HopCat, Stella’s Lounge and Grand Rapids Brewing Company, was one of the first restaurant owners in the area to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in June. At that time, Sellers told News 8 he anticipated “a wave” of restaurants following suit because of the pandemic’s impact.

A day before Sellers filed for bankruptcy with Max’s South Seas Hideaway, Project Barfly LLC announced it had bought HopCat’s remaining 11 locations, as well as Stella’s and Grand Rapids Brewing Company.

In Wednesday’s court filing, Sellers said he lost his job at Barfly Ventures with the sale.

Max’s South Seas Hideaway opened in October 2019. Revue Magazine readers named it the “Best New Restaurant in West Michigan” in July.