Whole Foods is known for not only being a grocery store, but for having cool kiosks and vendors that you can only find there. It's the perfect one-stop shop for the busy college student, and it's become even more perfect with the opening of Poke Bowl Co., Whole Foods' very first, exclusive poke bowl store.

Poke Bowl Co. is a new poke joint that's trying to bring the poke bowl craze from the West Coast to Chicago. Owner Mookie Lee wanted a "Chipotle-style" design so customers know exactly what goes in their food. He's very proud of the fact that Poke Bowl Co. is up to the same standards of nutrition and freshness as Whole Foods' own produce, and he wants to show it off.

Hannah and I were fortunate enough to experience Mookie's philosophy first-hand at Poke Bowl Co.'s soft opening in early May, and here's what we thought.

The Location

Even before we found the kiosk, we were overwhelmed and ecstatic to get dropped off in perhaps the largest Whole Foods either of us had ever seen. 

"There are two floors," Hannah pointed out, gasping. 

As we walked around, we saw that the Lincoln Park location had a wider selection than the one near our campus in Evanston—and even a self-serve mochi station.

"I'm going back here just to explore this Whole Foods," I said. "And if Poke Bowl Co. is good? Even better."

And was Poke Bowl Co. good.

The Appetizer

Hummus has been one of the hottest trends for, like, ever. And edamame—a protein-rich soybean—is rising in popularity. Naturally, of course, the next step is to combine these two into one dish: edamame hummus.

At first, I was skeptical. I like hummus and I like edamame? But together? It didn't sound particularly appetizing.

How wrong I was.

Poke Bowl Co.'s appetizer just might be the star of its menu. The hummus was perfectly seasoned to accentuate the salty umami flavor of the edamame. Plus, you could tell it was fresh and healthy, which made it that much more addicting.

They sell the stuff by the tub, so if you're not hungry but want a snack for home, definitely grab one. You could also make your own, but I highly doubt that it'll be as good as Poke Bowl Co.'s.

The Bowls

Poke Bowl Co. has three types of signature bowls: tuna, salmon, and vegetarian. Being the foodies we are, we tried all three, and thoroughly enjoyed all of them.


We only tried a sample of the tuna, but we could certainly see why this was the most popular.

"The tuna is so fresh," I said as I bit into the bite-sized portion of tuna, ginger, and rice. Mookie told Hannah and I that he has his protein shipped to the store every day, and you could tell based on how soft and flavorful the tuna was.

"It doesn't taste fishy at all," Hannah added.


Because we wanted to try all that Poke Bowl Co. has to offer, I ordered the salmon bowl and Hannah got the veggie. We split them between us and, suffice to say, we weren't left feeling hungry. With prices ranging between $10-$13, not only was Poke Bowl Co. comparable to other poke places, but with superior quality, it's definitely a deal.

Hannah really loved the spicy mayo ("It complements all the veggies and salmon perfectly") but I was most impressed by the ginger. Ginger, in my opinion, is an acquired taste. I personally am not a huge fan, but Poke Bowl Co. might convert me. It's not as pungent as what I expected, and the spice lingers for longer, adding a dimensionality to the dish.


I am forever thankful that Hannah ordered the veggie bowl, because I otherwise would not have. However, it ended up being our favorite.

"The rice is flavored!" Hannah exclaimed. She scooped up more and tasted it again, savoring it this time. "Coconut."

Being Filipino myself, I am protective over my coconut sticky rice, so don't take it lightly when I say that Poke Bowl Co.'s is some of the best that I've had. It was not too sweet, but you could definitely taste the coconut, which played well with all the veggies.

The crunchy edamame and marinated seaweed blew us away. Everything had a lot of texture and flavor, so whether you're vegan, vegetarian, or anything in between, you're bound to enjoy this bowl.

The Verdict

If you're in the Chicagoland area, you definitely need to give Poke Bowl Co. a try. There's something for everyone; a light snack, a hearty meal, and a vegan option. Plus, with a mission to serve affordable, organic food, you're not only nourishing your body, but you're also supporting sustainable practices. What more could you ask for?