The poke craze hitting the country has a new entrant. Poké Bop, located in the Oak Lawn area of Dallas, looks to come out of the starting gate as a ready-to-franchise entry into the rapidly growing market. Take, for example, the menu: Guests build their dishes by choosing, first, a type of rice; second, a protein; third, add-ins from a gridwork of kitchen pans; fourth, their sauces; and fifth, their toppings. There is lots of choice at each stage, and all the actual assembly is done Chipotle-style by Poké Bop employees, goosing the pace and controlling portions. Popular items are the bowls and the doughnut, made of a ring of rice encompassed in slices of fish. Best of all, all of it can be served with Japanese beer or sake.
Then there is the décor. According to the press release, “Poké Bop designed their interior with Instagram in mind. A surfboard (long board) is displayed prominently in the back in keeping with the Hawaiian beach culture, along with the words ‘Live, Wild, Love, Laugh, and Smile’ adorning the restaurant’s white walls. Don’t forget the hashtag ‘#Ilovepokebop.’”
Finally, the team behind the shop has announced their plans. According to a statement, “Poké Bop’s owners plan to open 4 more Dallas-area stores in 2017, and franchise opportunities are available for interested parties.”
An early media event found the place busy at a level other restaurants would kill for at 6:30 p.m. on a Monday. However, according to Marc Mattox, managing partner, it is around 9 or 10 p.m. that the place really hops as late eaters descend en masse. At less than 2,000 square feet of floor space, the restaurant doesn’t have any seating designed to encourage lingering, and the takeout business is huge. The management team includes experienced multi-site operators who started in Arizona with chicken wings.
The numbers must be good, so expect more Poké Bop branches to pop up soon.