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Discover Hawaiian

Lost Gem
Pokeworks 1 Hawaiian Seafood undefined


When I first heard of Pokéworks, I visualized a store for fans of the world-famous video game and TV series, Pokémon. As Managing Partner Kevin told me with an unsurprised chuckle, I was only one of the many misled by the name. “We struggled to find names for our company that a Pokémon spin-off hadn’t already grabbed. ” In reality, Pokéworks has nothing to do with the digital monsters of Pokémon; rather, it is a store dedicated to bringing the Hawaiian dish “poké” to the mainland. Born in Southern California, but always with a passion for Hawaiian comfort food, Kevin opened Pokéworks' first New York City branch with three co-founders in December 2015. The four frequently traveled to Hawaii, returning to the mainland in want of authentic and accessible poké places. Finding few to satisfy their palates, they took it upon themselves to bring the raw-fish-based meal to California and New York. While first-time customers have taken to social media tagging photos of poké as “sushi burritos, ” poké is different in that its ingredients are all pre-flavored while sushi is served plain. With toppings such as spicy ginger, sesame seeds, and sweet chili over a range of proteins (umami aki, tuna, organic tofu, and more), poké wraps and bowls are both nutritious and accessible to customers of all different lifestyles. Kevin asserts that getting poké here is like having “your own personal chef. ”Although one can customize their poké as they wish, the store also maintains a set “signature works” menu that authentically recreates the ingredients of the poké served in Hawaii. A customer at the store who had recently returned from a summer break on the island state informed me that Pokeworks' menu evokes nostalgia for Hawaii in a way that few other places have - there are simply too few poké places on the mainland. It is not hard to see why the line during weekday lunch breaks zigzags out the door and tumbles onto the street. Poké is a healthy, accessible, and flavorful meal, and we only hope to see more people discover this midtown gem.