Kona Poké to Open Delivery-Only Restaurant in Miami

Poke and more from Kona Poké.EXPAND
Poke and more from Kona Poké.
Kona Poké
Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Miami and help keep the future of New Times free.

Hawaiian-style poke will find a new home in Miami this spring when Central Florida's Kona Poké debuts in Brickell. The new spot, set to open in May, will offer delivery exclusively.

A fast-casual concept, Kona Poké has been serving Hawaii's version of ceviche in Lake Mary since January of last year. Poke traditionally mixes the flavors and textures of diced raw fish, vegetables, seasonings, and sauces in a bowl.

"Poke is essentially a repackaging and extension of sushi with a lot more variety, better price point, and faster delivery since diners don't have to wait for the chef to roll their food," says Ernie Falco III, who founded the concept with Matthew Ting, co-owner of several Tijuana Flats locations in Daytona Beach and Orange City. "Our product is simple to make, and it travels well in bowls with sealed lids, tamper-resistant containers, or bags. Our prep time is five minutes, and generally we get food to clients under 15 minutes."

Launching a project during a nationwide shutdown seems counterintuitive, but Falco and his team are confident. "For big square-footage players and people who were already having a hard time, this epidemic was the nail in the coffin for them," he says. "Those persisting are having to do more with less and learning to leverage systems to gain a foothold in the takeout market, but to our advantage, we already have a successful delivery-business operation. We feel like this is a good time to maximize our model."

Meanwhile, Kona Poké's outposts in Lake Mary, Sanford, and Satellite Beach are operating at 75 percent capacity with the addition of an online market offering fresh meats, produce, dry goods, beer, and wine. A video on the concept's Facebook page educates viewers about the company's contact-free food preparation and delivery guidelines.

For Falco and Ting's virtual project in Miami, the duo has partnered with Reef Kitchens, which will prepare meals at a commercial space in Brickell. The delivery-only service will offer the concept's menu created by James Beard Award-nominated chef Henry Moso, who owns Kabooki Sushi in Orlando.

Poke bowls include the Salmon Lover, assembled with spicy seaweed salad, cucumber, edamame, and onion crisps over rice and then topped with a lemon tartar sauce ($12); and Birds of Paradise, a vegetarian bowl of tofu marinated in house ginger dressing that also includes sweet onions, edamame, cucumber, avocado, green onions, mango, and sesame seeds over sushi rice splashed with sweet heat sauce ($10.50). Build-your-own poke bowls, with more than 40 ingredients to choose from, will start at $11.25. Kona Poké will also offer kids' bowls with tuna ($6) or chicken ($5).

Falco says the goal is to reach 100 locations nationwide in the next few years. "We keep our business simple and want to scale it. It took a sizable financial and personal investment to get where we are now. We have paused on brick-and-mortar for now, but despite what's going on, it is essential for us to keep momentum."

Kona Poké delivery will be offered through third-party services, including Uber Eats, Postmates, and Grubbub.

Kona Poké. 155 SW Third St., Miami; konapokebowls.com. Opening slated for mid-May.

Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.