Photo: General Manager and part owner Cyndi Lin with a freshly created Poke bowl. Photo by Kathy Feist

By Kathy Feist

Right about now you may wish you were in Hawaii and not in the bitter cold Midwest. The popularity of Hawaiian food, known as Poke (pronounced poke ay), can certainly help take the edge off.

In time for winter and the busy holidays, Pokeloha has opened at 8827 State Line Rd, located at the south entrance to Ward Parkway Shopping Center, where a Smoothie King and Mattress Firm also share space. 

Pokeloha offers poke bowls, sushi burritos, ramen bowls, Boba tea and mochi ice cream. Poke is the Hawaiian word for a dish made of chunks of meat served over rice or salad. Customers choose their own protein, vegetable, sauce and toppings to create their own dish, similar to the popular Chipotle set up. Pokehola boasts quality ingredients. 

This is the second Pokeloha location for General Manager and part owner Cyndi Lin. The first is in Lawrence, Ks., where Lin graduated with a degree in economics. She now lives in the south Kansas City area along with her husband. Lin says it is because of her husband’s interest in fusion food that she invested in Pokeloha. The restaurant is part of a franchise out of Florida called Poke Point. 

The space, which sat empty for 15 years, required a complete rebuild, according to Lin. A nearly eight-month reconstruction produced a beautiful modern interior featuring  light oak paneling and table tops, white aluminum chairs, and lots of sunlight. “Most people say it has a clean vibe…and very bright,” says Lin. 

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Hot ramen bowls. Photo Pokeloha.

Lin says the sushi burritos are very popular. The ramen bowls are unique to this location and are not available at the Lawrence one. 

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Sushi burrito in the works. Photo Pokeloha.

Pokeloha opened October 21. Hours are 11 am to 9:30 pm Sunday through Tuesday, and 11 am to 10 pm Wednesday through Saturday. For more information call 816-214-6844 or check out the website at pokeloha.com. 

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