Aloha Poke Co. has opened its ninth restaurant. The upstart chain, credited as the first to make Hawaiian-style raw fish bowls popular in Chicago, has a new location in Old Town at 163 W. North Avenue. While the poke bowls are easily portable, unlike most of their locations which focus on to-go orders, this new location has 20 seats.
Don't panic Old Town, we're open. pic.twitter.com/EHSqCeL86Y— Aloha Poke Co. (@AlohaPokeCo) February 8, 2018
Despite the added seating, visitors to North Avenue Beach should take note. Poke’s portability and the new location’s proximity to the beach may make Aloha a good companion on the sands. While commonly served and found at local grocers on the islands, much of the mainland only recently became familiar poke (marinated fish, often tuna). On the mainland, it often comes on a bed of rice or greens. Aloha Poke opened its first location two years ago at Chicago’s French Market in the West Loop. Long lunch lines became the norm, and they quickly expanded and grabbed the attention of Levy Family Partners which invested in the chain’s expansion. Aloha founder Zach Friedlander has opened locations in LA, San Diego, and Washington, D.C. Aloha’s success has encouraged more poke shops to open. Some sushi restaurants have also started to offer the items.
Friedlander said they’ve been cautious in their expansion plans, carefully investing in real estate. They don’t want to meet the same fate as FireFin Poke Shop, a competitor chain that closed all five locations back in October. Aloha plans on opening another location in the Loop at 303 W. Madison Avenue in “a couple of weeks.”
Aloha Poke Co., 163 W. North Avenue, open 1 0 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.