WALLINGFORD — A new restaurant will be moving into Lowe’s plaza next to Chipotle.
Pokémoto Hawaiian Poké has almost a dozen locations in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Georgia. The Wallingford location is one of three opening in Connecticut, according to the franchise’s website. The others are in Manchester and Glastonbury.
Poké is raw fish that can be served as either an appetizer or main course dish. It is one of the main dishes of Hawaiian cuisine.
Owner Lisa Bok said she expects to open in early March.
“There are many locations and they’ve been a hit everywhere,” Bok said. “We’ve been getting so many requests from people like ‘can you open here? can you open there?’”
Pokémoto Hawaiian Poké will be moving into a storefront that was previously home to Smashburger, which closed in August 2019. It began in 2017 as a family-owned business.
“When we first opened a few years ago, a lot of people didn’t know what it was,” Bok said. “The word spread not even through media or advertisements, it spread through word of mouth.”
Pokémoto also offers vegetarian and vegan alternatives and gluten and nut free options. The menu is customizable with options to create your own bowl, wrap or salad including your choice of protein, condiments and various toppings.
Greg Holmess, a Granby resident, usually stops in the Middletown location for lunch. He typically builds his own rice bowl.
“I like the fruity things like the mangoes and also the shrimp,” Holmess said.
“I’ve worked here for a while, and I can honestly say I never get tired of the bowls,” said Sofia Drewiany, an employee at the Pokemoto Middletown location.
Pokémoto also has miso soup and dole whip, a popular dairy free dessert.
Opening during the pandemic doesn’t worry Bok because people are still eating out and there have been so many requests for Pokémoto in the Wallingford area.
“From a business standpoint, it’s a busy, popular street,” Bok said. “It’s easy access, and the visibility is good. You can’t just open one anywhere, you have to find a good location.”
The Hawaiian eatery offers delivery through Grub Hub, Uber Eats and Door Dash. Customers can also dine in or call orders in for take out.
Pokémoto Hawaiian Poké will be located in the Lowe’s plaza, 1094 N. Colony Rd. between Chipotle and Panera Bread.