Splashy openings

2 trendy new poke restaurants say aloha to San Antonio

2 trendy new poke restaurants say aloha to San Antonio

Pokéworks is one of two new poke joints that debuted in November. Photo courtesy of Pokeworks

The poke craze may be ebbing nationwide, but it is still going strong in San Antonio. In November, two new eateries serving the Hawaiian favorite debuted in the Alamo City area.

The first of three planned locations for Pokéworks quietly opened at 15900 La Cantera Pkwy. #26180, according to a rep. The New York-based chain features a menu of poke bowls, salads, and burritos using sushi rice and seaweed as the “tortilla.”

Like many poke shops, the new eatery operates as a Chipotle-like assembly line. Guests choose what type of entree they would like, then build their creation from a lineup of proteins (including a vegan option), mix-ins, toppings, and sauces. A wide variety of ingredients are available to handle specialty diets and food allergies.

To celebrate the grand opening on December 8, local franchise operators Dania Sapien and the SVO Group, are offering a buy one, get one free deal the entire day. Prizes will also be given, including a Pokéworks branded coconut for the first 50 guests in line.

Universal City’s Big Aloha’s Ali’i Cove doesn’t do fancy swag, but that didn’t put a damper on demand. The former Hawaiian food truck has had to limit the number of customers it serves during its soft opening period due to heavy interest from the community.

Located at 1210 Pat Booker Rd. Ste. 8, the brick-and-mortar has been only seating 100 guests for lunch and another 100 for dinner since opening on November 29. Owner Kalani Young, who operates Big Aloha with his wife, recommends texting 210-412-8101 to set up a reservation.

In addition to three varieties of poke, the menu also includes a variety of other island treats including spam musubi (a portable rice and seaweed dish similar to sushi); saimin (the Hawaiian version of ramen); chicken katsu; and kalua pig (a slow-cooked pork dish not to be confused with Kahlua).

Young says that currently the restaurant is BYOB. He might keep it that way because the aim is to create a atmosphere that is family oriented.

He does warn that wait lines are longer than normal and some menu items are currently unavailable as the team works out the kinks. Big Aloha will be fully operational for the grand opening on December 15.