Phoenix, AZ

Local Restaurant Plans Massive Expansion, Opening 300 New Locations

Greyson F

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More poke is coming soon.Andreas Dress/Unsplash

Poke has seen tremendous growth in the restaurant industry, both here in metro Phoenix, and throughout the country over the last few years. Several prominent restaurants have risen, including Koibito Poke, which was started by former Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Todd Stottlemyre. While you might have been forced to drive across town to sample poke from the restaurant, you likely won’t have to travel as far in the coming years. 

Koibito Poke recently signed a franchising agreement with True Capital Partners LLC that will lead to over 300 locations throughout eight states in the next five years. The first 120 stores are already in the world and will open in the next two to three years. The planned states include California, Texas, Washington, Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina, and Idaho. The success of these 120 stores will then dictate not only how the other 200 stores open up, but how franchising may play out in other states as well. 

Other states, including the Southwestern states of Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, and Colorado are not included in the franchising agreement, but new locations are already planned. So while you may be close to one of the four restaurants here in Metro Phoenix, additional destinations will open in the coming years. 

The restaurant offers four starter poke bowls, but it is the “build your own bowl” that is especially popular. Similar experiences are found in all four of the restaurants in The Valley, which include a Chandler location, two in Scottsdale, and one on East Indian School in Phoenix. 

Poke is a Hawaiian meal that pulls heavily on Japanese influences. It, like traditional sushi, begins with raw fish that has been skinned and deboned. The raw fish is then served with seaweed, ground candlenut meat, as well as other vegetables or rice. In many ways, it is Japanese sushi meets Peruvian ceviche. 

While poke does pull on several traditional Japanese flavors, the food itself isn’t all that old. Poke began to pop up around the Hawaiian islands during the 1970s, although it wasn’t until the 2000s that it started to pop up in North America. The food spread mostly thanks to tourists visiting Hawaii that fell in love with the fresh meal. It also helped that sushi had become increasingly popular in the United States, so poke was able to springboard off of the groundwork created by sushi. And now, with Koibito Poke’s recent franchising agreement, the food style of poke will become even more prevalent in the coming years.

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