Poki Poke set to open in Downtown Berkeley

Zach Ryan/Staff

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In keeping with the growing poke trend, Berkeley will soon be home to a new Downtown eatery, Poki Poke, as first reported by Berkeleyside.

Poki Poke, a Hawaiian restaurant based in Fremont, California, will be located at 1941 University Ave. and is slated to open in December, according to co-owner Hai Tran. Poke is a raw fish salad served as an appetizer in Hawaiian cuisine. The restaurant’s service will be modeled after that of Chipotle, and customers will be able to choose the base, protein and toppings of their poke bowls.

Additionally, Poki Poke will serve musubi — a Hawaiian spam sushi dish — and various teas.

“We believe our bowls are very tasty and will try to cater to our customers by providing them exceptional customer service and quality poke bowls,” said co-owner Phuong Tan in an email.

Poki Poke opened in Fremont in July and was founded by Tan, Tran, and Minh Le. According to Tan, the three traveled to Hawaii and sampled poke spots, eventually deciding to bring it back to the Bay Area.

Poki Poke will join the list of Berkeley poke spots, including Simply Bowl, Poke Parlor and #Poki.

Diana Lee, owner of #Poki, said she “welcomes competition.” #Poki opened a month ago on Telegraph Avenue and, according to Lee, is regularly frequented by both Berkeley residents and business professionals.

“Competition is good, there’s always room for improvement,” Lee said. “We’re not on the same street, so we have different customer bases and different clients. I’m not worried at all.”

In an email, Tan said Poki Poke would aim to feature daily specials in an effort to cater to the student population in Berkeley. Chakshu Hurria, a UC Berkeley freshman, said she looked forward to trying a new style of poke dining.

“I’m actually from Fremont and have never been to Poki Poke, but I’ve heard good things so a branch in Berkeley is something to look forward to,” Hurria said. “I only know about two poke spots around here, so an option with a lot of opportunity for customization sounds exciting.”

Poki Poke is currently undergoing renovations, which are expected to continue for another month.

But this new restaurant isn’t the only change to the Berkeley food scene.

According to Berkeleyside, Anthony’s Cookies, a San Francisco-based bakery, will be opening in Berkeley in the spring at 2575 San Pablo Ave. and will feature ice cream and espresso, in addition to a variety of cookies.

Additionally, Pathos, a Greek restaurant located in Downtown Berkeley, closed after a dispute between the owners and the restaurant’s landlord, Berkeleyside reported in an article Friday. The landlord has asked Pathos to move and is looking for another tenant, according to the article.

Contact Revati Thatte at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @revati_thatte.