Making a splash

Popular New York poke restaurant surges into Austin with 5 new locations

New York poke restaurant surges into Austin with 5 new locations

Linda Pearson
Pokéworks is making a deep dive into the Austin market. YouTube

One of New York’s fastest growing franchises is making a bet that the poke wave hasn't crashed yet. On September 25, popular chain Pokéworks announced it plans to make a major splash in Austin, starting with the Arboretum.

According to a release, the first outpost will debut in the former home of Texadelphia at 9828 Great Hills Trl. #140 in November. Four other shops are in the works, although the locations have yet to be secured.

The chain, founded by college friends Michael Wu, Peter Yang, Kevin Hsu, and Kasper Hsu, has seen rapid growth since debuting in Manhattan in 2015. Over 100 locations have since spread to 20 states, including several in Houston.

The concept will be familiar to anyone who has eaten at one of the Capital City’s many poke eateries (including California-based Pokeatery) with a mixture of composed and custom bowls. Unlike many of its competitors, Pokéworks also offers poke burritos and offers options like tofu and chicken for those who don’t enjoy raw fish.

The signature bowls offer a wide array of protein options including spicy albacore with ponzu and mango; salmon with fresh shiso, cucumber, and edamame; wasabi shrimp and scallops; and ahi tuna with roasted sesame oil and Hawaiian sea salt.

Customers can also build their own with a wide variety of toppings. Bowls, salads, and burritos can be dressed with options like shoyu (Japanese soy sauce), Korean red chili gochujang, and two aiolis: sriracha and wasabi.

Adders cover all the bases from fresh (avocado, green onion, jalapeños) to briny (roe, imitation crab, two varieties of seaweed) and crunchy (toasted rice puffs, lotus chips, macadamia nuts). Spices like a sesame seed blend and furikake (a dry condiment typically made with dried fish and seaweed) are also available.

In addition to Austin and Houston, Pokéworks has set sights on new locations in San Antonio, College Station, and the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.