Kansas City should get ready to roll with a new poke bowl concept opening in Overland Park next week.

Pokelicious, a new homegrown quick-casual poke restaurant, plans to open in the Rosana Square Shopping Center on Mon., March 25. The restaurant features both signature and build-your-own marinated raw fish and grilled meat bowls, in addition to make-your-own sushi burritos, or "sushirritos."

Owner Jessica Wang decided to open her first poke restaurant after falling in love with the savory raw fish bowls she had in California, where she moved after graduating from Kansas University with a degree in accounting and supply chain management.

Growing up in a restaurant family in Ottawa, Kansas, Wang decided to move back to Kansas City from California to pursue her dream of opening her own restaurant. Her family currently owns and operates Sichuan Dynasty, a Chinese restaurant serving Sichuan-style dishes in the Rosana Square Shopping Center. Pokelicious will open in the same shopping center, but next door to Price Chopper in the former Papa Murphy’s pizza spot.

“I have an entrepreneurial spirit, and I love the process of building a restaurant and a brand from scratch, as well as bringing awesome food to people,” says Wang. “I liked the international diversity of the restaurants already operating in this shopping center. With Black & Veatch and the Sprint campus nearby, it just made good business sense for me to be here.” 

Before deciding to open Pokelicious, Wang traveled to Hawaii to eat poke at all of the most popular places. She wanted to see and taste the difference between traditional poke served in Hawaii and what we call poke bowls in other parts of the country.

“The main difference is that the poke bowls concepts in [other areas of the] United States tend to put raw fish on top of rice or salad greens and then pile on all the toppings and sauce to give it flavor,” says Wang. “In Hawaii, poke is usually raw Ahi tuna or octopus that has been marinated in sauce with only a handful of ingredients, and that is what gives traditional poke all of its flavor.”

Pokelicious will offer six signature poke bowls, including a regular size (with three scoops of fish per bowl for $10.95), and a large bowl (with five scoops of fish for $13.95). The bowls will be built using marinated Ahi tuna, salmon, smoked salmon, albacore and crab and shrimp. There are also four signature grilled bowls with various kinds of cooked protein like Japanese teriyaki chicken, Korean beef bulgogi, spicy Korean pork and a vegetarian tofu teriyaki bowl.

The build-your-own side of the menu offers the same two sizes and prices, but here guests will pick from a poke bowl that has either sushi rice, organic brown rice or green tea soba noodles, or a poke salad made with mixed salad greens or, finally, a "sushirrito" made with sushi rice and nori or seaweed wrap. “From there guests can customize it to their liking with unlimited mix-ins allowed to make your bowl uniquely your own,” says Wang.

The Pokelicious menu was designed by Wang with help from chef Justin Clavin, with daily specials that will be on rotation. In the future, diners can expect to see dishes like fish tacos and Spam musubi (a Hawaiian rice and seaweed sandwich with Spam), as well as more options for vegetarians like a Japanese-inspired falafel bowl. Pokelicious is also planning to add desserts to the menu, including acai bowls and fresh mochi made in house.

To drink, diners can choose from bottled water, coconut water, canned sodas and local Tea-Biotics kombucha on tap. Pokelicious will also carry Hawaiian Sun, a popular tropical fruit juice and tea beverage found in Hawaii, in flavors like Luau Punch, Strawberry Lilikoi, Guava Nectar, Passion Orange and Lilikoi Passion.

With room to seat around 30 people in its colorful dining room, Pokelicious will offer guests a place to stay and enjoy poke bowls and sushirritos, or take them to go.

Editor's Note: This post has been updated with additional information from owner Jessica Wang.

Pokelicious, 7414 W. 119th St., Overland Park, Kansas, 913.291.0005, facebook.com/pg/pokeliciouskc

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Jenny is Feast's contributing editor for Kansas City. She brakes for chef's coats.

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