Andrew Danieli, PokéOno's owner, was inspired to bring this dish composed of marinated fresh fish to Pennsylvania from his several visits to Hawaii. With fish sourced every day from South Philly, PokéOno offers ahi tuna, salmon, shrimp, tofu and octopus.
Andrew and his friend, now store manager, Eric Seabrook, grew up near Atlantic City surfing together and clearly brought the chill vibes back with them. Right when you enter you feel like you're walking off the beach and as if you could be wearing flip flops, a swimsuit, or no shirt and be perfectly fine.
At around $10 for a bowl, it's perfect for the adventurous college student looking to try something unique. As Eric says “it’s healthy, it’s fresh, it’s tasty, you can’t beat it”.
As you walk through the base, protein, and topping selections laid out in a manner similar to Chipotle, you choose between legitimate options like shredded nori, furikake, wonton crisps, and seaweed salad.
If you freak out at the prospect of choosing between infinite food combos, don't worry. PokéOno also has featured bowls like Spicy Tuna, Shoyu Classic, or Californication that are listed on Andrew's old surfboard hung on the wall above the counter.
That, along with the projector perpetually showing surf films, are more reminders of the island vibes that Andrew brought from Hawaii to Ardmore.
Eric wants people to "feel comfortable, enjoy what they’re doing, enjoy the food obviously, and the experience”. Fresh fish is an essential component of the taste and their dedication is evident in the fish that is cut every day. More often than not, no fish you eat will have been cut more than six hours ago.
PokéOno started as a pop up idea, but Andrew hopes to continue expanding, and is in the process of opening up a second location in Philly. You can keep up with them on social media by following them on Facebook.