Husband and wife team, Jason McVearry and Trisha Fortuna developed the unique made-to-order style of Poke-Poke, reflective of traditional Hawaiian poke, as Jason experienced during his days living on Oahu.
While chatting with owner McVearry, we discovered that he spent many years in Oahu, surfing and living off a diet of almost entirely poke. After a long day on the waves, he would often go into the small, quirky town of Kaimuki and visit Tamura’s, where they had a traditional poke bar.
When Jason moved to Venice Beach, he and his wife decided to bring this Hawaiian dish to the boardwalk in 2010. They were one of the first to bring poke inland, and since then, it has become a popular dish coast to coast.
Journey To Austin
While no longer present in Venice Beach, now with three locations in Austin, Poke-Poke continues to thrive in its new environment; and so do Jason and Trisha, as the restaurant is still 100% family-owned and operated. They opened in Austin in 2014, and now have locations on the ever-growing South Congress, on Hancock Drive, and in Shady Hollow on Brodie Lane, which is the one we visited. And while they love Austin, the family makes it a point to visit Oahu often.
“Modern” poke is often served up in an “assembly-line” style, but Poke-Poke commits to sticking to the authentic poke experience, and wants to make sure every bowl is perfected. Traditional Hawaiian poke is 100% fish-focused, and Poke-Poke sticks to that, though they accommodate vegetarians/vegans with a tofu dish. McVearry even let us in on his plans to possibly have the poke in the refrigerated display case, just like it was at Tamura’s in Hawaii.
The Poke-Poke Process
You have endless options at Poke-Poke, as bowls are completely customizable. You start by choosing a base. You can pick from brown or sushi rice, kale, seaweed salad, edamame or pickled cucumber salad. Then, you pick your protein. Your options are Ahi poke, Salmon poke, or a mix of the two. After that, you can choose any add-ons and modifications, where toppings like avocado, ginger, carrots and much more are offered. If you are like me and indecisive, don’t worry, because they also have special poke bowl recipes that McVearry and Fortuna developed. “T’s Tofu” is what I got, a vegan recipe by Fortuna, and it was very delicious, as was the side kale salad. The “Yowza Yuzu” also stands out because it is the only poke recipe in the U.S. that incorporates Yuzu Kosho, which is a citrusy and spicy Japanese condiment, according to the Poke-Poke website. They also sell a special spam musubi, a Hawaiian favorite.
Visit in person at the Brodie Lane location to experience the laid-back bar, play shuffleboard, and hang out for a while, or you can even order online from any of their locations. Happy hour is daily from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., and during this time, beer, wine and sake are two dollars off and poke is 10% off. Poke-Poke has lots of drink options like local favorite, Austin Eastciders, and many more.
Address: 9911 Brodie Ln #800, Austin, TX 78748
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Cover Photo by Gracie Watt
Gracie Watt is a contributor to Texas Lifestyle Magazine and a graduate of St. Edward’s University in Austin, with a degree in Journalism. Watt is also a Lifestyle Producer at NBC-affiliate KXAN’s Studio 512. When she’s not writing, Watt enjoys singing, playing the guitar and doing volunteer work.