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Claremont jazz lounge, restaurant turns 5

There is something unique about Hip Kitty Jazz and Fondue that has allowed it to stand strong, and even expand, while other Packing House businesses have come and gone. It is one of only a few businesses that have survived since the redevelopment’s opening in the summer of 2007.

Hip Kitty came into fruition as an “alignment of the universe,” owner Nancy Tessier said. Her husband suggested that Claremont needed a jazz lounge and Ms. Tessier immediately “dropped everything and went for it,” even though she already had a stained glass studio in the Pomona Arts Colony. The idea was always on her mind to do something like this, having a jazz musician as a father and a keen business sense.

“I had a very specific idea of what I wanted and the expansion helped. We’re right where I expected to be 5 years later—everything is running smoothly,” she said.

Ms. Tessier believes that Hip Kitty’s success is due to the special niche it fills in Claremont’s nightlife with its “unique cuisine and ‘60s lounge—it’s a special place to hang out—I think people appreciate the aesthetic,” she said.

Patrons can expect even more from the restaurant this summer. “We have bigger and better bands—amazing music any night of the week—and we have a new chef,” Ms. Tessier said.

Chef Christian Moorish has a lot of culinary experience and even a military background, which Ms. Tessier believes makes him focused, motivated and “a positive change to our kitchen and staff,” she said. “We enjoy him very much.”

The staff at Hip Kitty is developing a new drink menu for a sophisticated palate, available this summer.

Ms. Tessier suggests that, “if you’re local, summer is a good time to go to Hip Kitty because the college crowd is out of town” and it’s not as crowded.

As a thank you to locals, Hip Kitty is offering weeklong Facebook friend coupons once a month this summer. Guests who “like” Hip Kitty on Facebook will have access to the digital coupon, which can be redeemed by showing a waiter on a device like a cell phone. This week’s coupon is a grilled cheese sandwich and a bowl of tomato bisque for $1.

“I’m excited to have been here for 5 years and hope to be here for many more,” Ms. Tessier said.

Hip Kitty Jazz and Fondue is open Tuesday through Sunday and is located at the Packing House at 502 W. First St., Claremont.

—Jenelle Rensch