The following article by Susan George appeared in Seattle Refined on August 13, 2020:
I’ve always struggled with weighing the convenience of fast food with the unhealthy toll it can take on your body. With most restaurants still being restricted due to the pandemic, take out options are more valuable than ever. Luckily, I’ve found one restaurant that combines clean eating and convenience so you can fuel your body well while on the go or stuck at home. Just Poké owners Danny Brawer and Norman Wu are doing everything they can to continue to bring quality, delicious food to the greater Seattle area.
Brawer and Wu have not only been friends since the 4th grade, but they’ve always shared an entrepreneurial spirit – from starting a frozen yogurt business in high school to founding a friend-finding travel app in college, as well as a high-end headhunting and consulting division later in life. Currently, they brought their passion for eating real and wholesome foods packed with nutrients, and created the opportunity for other people to enjoy healthy fats and lean proteins at an affordable price through Just Poké.
“We wanted to have a menu that would be well-received by Seattleites,” says Wu. “Poke started in Hawaii but in the last 5 years has been a very popular trend on the mainland. Our version of Poké is a fusion between traditional Hawaiian, Japanese and West Coast cuisine. We wanted to pick and choose influences from each of the above to create an awesome assortment of choices for our customers.”
“OG” Acai Bowl (Image: Tiffany Z)
The duo both grew up in the Seattle area, and see their community as a home to take care of. From using eco-friendly compostable materials to having a very culturally diverse team, their instilled values are definitely reflected in their business. Just Poké initially had to close about half of their ten locations when COVID hit, but they have since re-opened all but one.
The trend I’ve personally seen in businesses that have been able to stay afloat during this crazy time boils down to one phrase, which just happens to be one of Just Poké’s core values: “People over Profits”.
Brawer and Wu focused not on what would be best for their bottom line, but best for their team and customers by reimagining the ways customers could flow through the store to minimize contact and maximize social distancing, as well as doubling down on online/delivery business efforts.
Danny and Norm – 30 under 30 (Image: 425 Business Magazine)
Just Poké also incorporated everyone’s favorite way to get delicious food conveniently – a food truck!
“We’ve wanted to have a food truck for a little while to park at events and festivals such as Salmon Days, Bumbershoot and Bite of Seattle,” said Wu. “As those events are going to be limited at the moment due to COVID-19, our plan is to park the truck on Mercer Island for the time being [Homegrown & Terra Bella Parking Lot]. Since we both grew up on Mercer Island, we have had lots of friends and family ask when we were going to open up a store on the Island. This is a good way for us to test the market on the Island.”
If you’re unfamiliar with Poké and not sure where to start, Wu and Brawer recommend their Hawaiian Classic Bowl or Spicy Tuna Bowl. Picky eaters need not worry since every bowl is customizable so you can ensure you only get what you love.
In addition to the ten locations in the greater Seattle area plus the food truck, be on the lookout for the dynamic duo’s new Shaved Ice Pop-Up called Waikiki Shave Ice available at their Renton store all summer long.
To see store locations and menu options, visit their website and enjoy nutritious and delicious food on the go!