A poke battle has ignited on Belmont in Lakeview as FireFin Poke Shop has opened a location at Belmont and Halsted. It’s the mini-chain’s fifth location, and the restaurant is just 400 feet east of rival Aloha Poke Co.’s first standalone location. FireFin is from the company behind Furious Spoon, and ownership plans to open a neighboring ramen shop in December, according to a spokeswoman. The restaurants stand on the 800 block of West Belmont Avenue at the former Spin nightclub space. It’s quite a change, as the club was known as a gateway to Boystown, Chicago’s largest gay community.
FireFin debuted last year in the Loop with a now-familiar lineup of Hawaiian-inspired raw fish bowls that are customizable. The Boystown location seats 40 within a 1,000-square-foot space. The fast-causal spots are gaining popularity after Aloha Poke opened Chicago’s first poke spot in March 2016 at Chicago’s French Market. The poke rivalry is fierce as the two fish spots have competed for real estate to open new locations in their quests for expansion.
While there may never be a victor in the poke competition, the Lakeview/Boystown FireFin is close enough to Wrigley Field where the restaurant could draw Cubs fans. FireFin also has two locations in the Loop, and restaurants in the West Loop and Wicker Park.
Poke fans now have a choice along Belmont. FireFin Poke Shop’s fifth location is open.
FireFin Poke Shop, 802 W. Belmont Avenue, (773) 698-6141, open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday through Sunday.