A national chain of restaurants slinging poke bowls and sushi burritos will expand its local presence: Pokéworks will open its third regional location at Watertown’s Arsenal Yards in 2019, joining forthcoming Shake Shack and City Works Eatery & Pour House locations, developers Boylston Properties and the Wilder Companies announced today.
Pokéworks adds to a growing list of vendors for the expansive Arsenal Yards development, which will be a town center of sorts, with a Roche Brothers grocery store, a movie theater, office space, a hotel, residences, and retail, in addition to the restaurants.
Pokéworks was founded in 2015 in New York City and rapidly began expanding across the country, and it has two local locations in Somerville’s Davis Square and Cambridge’s Harvard Square, which opened in late 2016 and early 2018 respectively. The chain focuses on Hawaiian poke dishes, featuring raw seafood options like tuna and salmon, along with cooked chicken, shrimp, scallops, and tofu. Diners can order their poke in the form of rice bowls, salad bowls, or wrapped up in seaweed as sushi burritos. Menu items are customizable with vegetables, toppings, and dressings.
The Arsenal Yards restaurant design will include natural wood accents and bright colors, similar to the existing designs in Somerville and Cambridge. The expansion to Watertown coincides with even more nationwide growth for Pokéworks, which has more than 100 new locations in development, even as the “trend” of fast-casual poke on the mainland — which has been a staple of Hawaiian cuisine for centuries — may be dying down.
Stay tuned for more details on an opening timeline for the restaurant. In addition to the existing and forthcoming Pokéworks locations, the Boston area continues to ride the poke train with other independent restaurants and chains as well.
Recent openings include Hooked Fish Shop at Somerville’s Bow Market, which serves a poke bowl among other items featuring local seafood, and two locations of Legal Fish Bowl, a fast-casual, poke-inspired offshoot from Legal Sea Foods. Plus, a sushi, poke, and juice bar called Waikiki may eventually open on the former site of Johnny D’s in Somerville’s Davis Square; an Atlanta-based spot called Poke Burri has declared its intention to open somewhere in Boston, serving everything from poke bowls to “sushi doughnuts” and “sushi pizza”; and a place called Poke Bar & Kitchen is apparently in the works near Northeastern.