If you’ve been paying attention to food trends lately, then you have definitely heard of poke. No… I’m not talking about poking someone on Facebook or that Pinterest cake where you poke holes in it; I’m talking about raw fish, people! Poke, pronounced po-kay, is a traditional Hawaiian dish that is currently sweeping the food world. Poke means “chunk” in Hawaiian, and generally refers to a raw tuna salad, or sushi in a bowl. Recently, the world of poke has exploded in the US and Columbus, with many variations of this traditional Hawaiian dish.
Some of us Columbus Food Bloggers were lucky enough to get an inside look at the new fast-casual poke restaurant called Poke Bros. near Polaris Fashion Place. We talked with T.J. Wellman, Scott McCarthy, and Xuegong Chen, who are the masterminds behind this wonderful new restaurant. You might know some of their other restaurants: Royal Ginger, Wild Ginger and Typhoon.
If you’re wondering where the idea for Poke Bros. came from, you might not be surprised that it all started from a Facebook post. Scott tagged T.J. in an article about poke and he was so interested that he decided to go to California to learn more. After traveling all around California, T.J. was inspired by a cool food truck, and the sauces that they made. When he came back, he shared the idea with his buddies and after about 3-4 months, Poke Bros. was created!
They know what they are talking about when it comes to fish. Since their background is in sushi, they pride themselves on having only fresh ingredients. They get a shipment of fish every single day, and if something isn’t up to their standards, they modify the menu. “We believe in hardwork and dedication,” says T.J., which is why they traveled all the way to California before starting their restaurant!
Everything is made in house, including their sauces, so if you have any dietary restrictions, or are trying to eat healthier, they are extremely accommodating. They are even adding chicken to their menu for those of you who aren’t fish lovers! They knew when they started this restaurant that they wanted to do something healthy.
Poke Bros. has a great atmosphere, the decor is very bright and welcoming, and I’m sure you want to know what we thought about the food too, right? Personally, I was very impressed. I have tried poke before, and what I especially liked about Poke Bros., was that I was able to choose my own toppings as I walked down the line. I can be kind of particular (aka picky) about vegetables and spicy food, so it was nice to be able to create the bowl just the way I liked it. I also loved the combination of the warm rice and the cold fish and veggies. I’m a baby when it comes to spicy food, so I had the basic soy and sesame-based sauces, but some of the other girls had the more adventurous and spicy ones and enjoyed them on top of their bowls as well.
If you haven’t made your way to Poke Bros. yet, you should definitely check them out!
P.S. They are opening a second Poke Bros. location called “Poke Bros. To-Go” serving only to-go and delivery orders, check them out in a month or so Downtown at 3rd and Gay Street.
And if you’re sitting at work, bored, watching the clock, check out Poke Bros. opening day mannequin challenge on Facebook!
Interested in collaborating on a meetup or becoming a member of the group? Please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Blog Post & Photos by:
Jordan, Midwest Foodfest
Photos also by:
Erin, the Spiffy Cookie