Can you share a bit about your business and what you do?
My business is called Kona Poke, and we sell Hawaiian style poke here in the Bay Area.
When and why did you decide to start your new business?
I started my business back in July 2020. Like many others, income was shot, and I had a lot of time on my hands. I’ve always loved being in the kitchen and playing with different flavors and dishes.
When I moved back from Oahu in 2019, I didn’t crave poke or Hawaiian food for the longest time. When you get a taste of authentic Hawaiian food, it’s hard to stay away! For those that may not know the difference, in Hawai’i, the fish is marinated and doesn’t have all the toppings that mainland poke shops offer. It may not seem like a big deal, but you can definitely taste the difference! Traditional Hawaiian poke mixes minimal, simple ingredients that help highlight the fish. I wanted to showcase one of my favorite dishes from my time in Hawai’i while also playing in the kitchen with some new flavors. And thus came Kona Poke!
What do you love most about running your own business?
One of the biggest benefits is the flexibility of my schedule. However, I think this business’s greatest reward is the bond I make with my customers, especially those from da aina. When they tell me it reminds them of home, it’s the greatest compliment I could receive! I like to think I run my business with “aloha vibes” with not only the food but the company I keep around me and the way I am with my customers. In the end, we’re all ohana!
What are your overall goals for your business?
It’s still pretty up in the air about the future, but what I know for sure is that I want my place to benefit the community. One of my ideas is to have my own little Hawaiian market where I can sell poke and cooked food, Hawaiian goodies and feature other small, local businesses.
My other idea is to open a Hawaiian restaurant with a bar and live music. I’d love to feature local bands and offer my kitchen to other local businesses to feature their food on the menu. I wouldn’t be where I am right now without the community’s support, and I want to strive to give them back the support they deserve.
What services do you provide for anyone who may want to reach out to you/work with you?
- Able to travel, if needed
- Willing to do collaboration and/or fundraising events