PokéOno Opens at Southside Marketplace

| December 17, 2018 | 0 Comments

Fast-casual poké restaurant PokéOno opened this past Saturday at 849 E. Fort Ave. in Southside Marketplace in Riverside/Locust Point. The approximately 900 sq. ft. space was formerly Hunan Empire before it closed in 2015.

PokéOno is currently in a soft opening. It will host its grand opening on Saturday, December 22nd offering a buy one, get one poké bowl special.

PokéOno customers can build their own bowl choosing from brown rice, white rice, or a mixed greens base; a protein of ahi tuna, raw salmon, shrimp, or tofu; sauces that include shoyou, spicy aioli, wasabi shoyou, and citrus ponzi; and toppings such as veggies, crispy onions, wasabi peas, avocado, kimchi, and herbs and spices. Customer can also order a featured bowl. Bowls come in two sizes and range in price from $7.95 to $13.95.

All the fish will be brought in fresh daily and the sauces will be homemade.

The restaurant will also offer homemade chips, passion green tea, coconut water, and Hawaiian canned juices.

PokéOno will be open daily from 11am to 9pm.

The PokéOno location at Southside Marketplace is owned by Salisbury University graduates Andrew Danieli and Joshua Kachura.

PokéOno started when Danieli began selling poké bowls at events and farmers markets in New York City. Poké is a Hawaiian dish that became popular with fishermen on the Pacific islands.

Poké became of favorite dish of Danieli’s when he would visit his New Jersey surfing friends who had moved to the North Shore of Oahu. He decided he wanted to bring the dish to the East Coast and did “crazy research” talking to chefs all over Hawaii.

Danieli got tired of the high rents in New York City and decided to look to Philadelphia for his first brick-and-mortar restaurant. He opened the first PokéOno in Ardmore, PA just outside Philadelphia.

Kachura, who met Danieli in college, got involved in the business in 2017 to lead the search for—and opening of—a Baltimore area location. Kachura grew up outside Baltimore in Anne Arundel County.

The search for a new location took a while, but the team found what they were looking for at Southside Marketplace. “It’s right up our alley with the younger, more modern, and adventurous eaters in the area who are used to eating sushi,” said Kachura. “It’s also a huge plus that there are no parking issues at this location. For fast casual, we thought that would be perfect.”

Kachura noted he is also excited about all the new developments and large businesses already in the area.

PokéOno was first announced in June. Danieli and Kachura were hoping to open in early Fall, but the permitting process for the build-out took longer than expected.

The interior features polished concrete floors, tall exposed ceilings, refinished wood pallets filled with herbs, an ordering counter with all the ingredients, and several tables for dining in. PokéOno will play modern and vintage surf videos on a projector screen. On the exterior, a new PokéOno sign was installed with a surf board as the background.

Scott Herman, who represents Southside Marketplace with H & R Retail, told SouthBMore.com, “We think this concept adds to the millennial-driven food scene, and adds to South Baltimore’s overall continued growth.”

PokéOno also recently announced it will open another location outside Philadelphia in Consohocken, PA.

Andrew Danieli and Joshua Kachura

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About the Author:

Founder and Publisher of SouthBmore.com, longtime resident of South Baltimore, and a graduate of Towson University. Diehard Ravens and O's fan, father of three, amateur pizza chef, skateboarder, and "bar food" foodie. Email me at Kevin@InceptMM.com and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.