NEWPORT NEWS—After a lengthy search, Cups & Claws Café has finally found a home—at least for the next five years—in the space that was previously known as both Mike’s Place and Rick & Libby’s. Located at 11006 Warwick Blvd., Suite 458, in Newport News, the new café will be neighbors with Smoke BBQ Restaurant & Bar and will provide people with a place where they can interact with local rescue cats while having a cup of coffee or a snack, and maybe even adopt a new family member.
Renovation of the space is currently underway, and the owners are hoping to open by mid- to late-July. They are looking to partner with several area animal rescues and are currently navigating through the legal details, but most likely will be working with Poquoson Animal Welfare Sanctuary (PAWS), Pawsitively Precious in Williamsburg, the Peninsula Regional Animal Shelter (PRAS) in Newport News, and several others.
“We have probably six or seven different rescues that are reviewing the policies and procedures right now,” said owner Kim Zettel. “There are lots of things they have to do with their legal teams, but I’m working with as many as I can to help rescue cats find good homes.”
One thing Zettel is adamant about is that the café will not be taking in individual strays that people find on the streets. They need to be aware of the health of customers coming in and the health of the other animals. Stray animals should always be taken to an established rescue organization such as PRAS or the Peninsula SPCA.
Cups & Claws has also joined with Column 15 Coffee in Williamsburg and Rising Tide Bakery in Yorktown to offer beverages and snacks to café visitors, including Nitro Cold Brew and freshly roasted coffees as well as noshes such as cronuts, scones, and quiches. But, according to their website, visiting Cups & Claws Cat Café doesn’t only have to do with drinking coffee and having a snack. It’s about being able to share fun and quality time helping socialize homeless cats looking for their forever homes. Zettel is creating a space where people can come in to relax, study, play games, work, or just cuddle with fuzzy creatures.
“I’m super excited,” said Zettel. “We’ve got this vibe going. I don’t know if you’ve heard of the term boho-chic, but it’s a style of fashion that includes relaxed, comfortable pieces of furniture, funky lights and wallpaper, etc. We’re going to do a quilt-pattern floor with all different kinds of tiles, and it’s just going to be a relaxing place where people can come and hang out.”
The fact that the café’s location has such a great local history was a big selling point for Zettel.
“Mike’s Place and Rick & Libby’s were both staples in Newport News back in the day,” said Zettel. “I’m thinking the fact that so many people know about it, we can make it a hotspot again, revitalize it, and make it into a bright, fun, relaxing environment for the community to enjoy—just on a different level.”
As part of the renovation process, Cups & Claws has purchased a number of ceiling tiles that people can decorate with any kind of artwork they want to show—which does not need to be cat themed—or even to promote their business. Tiles are free and are available on a first come, first served basis. Pickup can be arranged by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. “Once the tiles are out, they’re out,” said Zettel. “But people are welcome to buy their own tiles and bring them in. We probably won’t have enough tiles for everyone who wants to participate, so we’ll probably rotate them out every quarter or so.”
For additional information on Cups & Claws, visit their website or find them on social media channels such as Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram.