A taste of Hawaii is coming to the Windermere area.
Poke Hana is slated to open up in the Windermere Village shopping center at 5845 Winter Garden Vineland Road, Suite 150, in early 2020. As the name suggests, the restaurant specializes in poke bowls, which is a dish consisting of raw, marinated fish served over rice and an array of vegetables and other toppings. Guests can choose from a selection of signature poke bowls or build their own custom poke bowl with whatever toppings they want.
“In Hawaii, basically, that (is) their staple food,” owner Hoi Nguyen said. “Every tourist that came over there and every local (living there), they’re always eating poke. I saw the tourists eating so much poke (in Hawaii) I thought, ‘It’s got to work back home.’”
The Orlando-based restaurant also specializes in serving Hawaiian cuisine, as well as acai bowls and crispy rice tacos.
“What sets us apart from almost every other poke restaurant is we serve Hawaiian food,” Nguyen said. “We don’t just serve poke. We have the rice plates, we have hula chicken, Spam musubi, we have kalua pork, we do garlic shrimp and something that’s new that we offer … is our rice tacos. They’re made from a crispy rice paper shell.”
A trip to Hawaii with his wife a few years ago is what inspired Nguyen to open Poke Hana. While he was there, he frequently dined on the local cuisine and fell in love with eating poke bowls along the way.
“I think I spent the whole time out there eating Hawaiian food and poke, and I was so obsessed with it, I was like, ‘We need something like this back home,’” Nguyen said.
“What makes our poke so different is that we actually source our ingredients from Hawaii,” Nguyen later added. “The salt and the seaweed, we get it imported from Hawaii because those are probably two of the main ingredients that people skip out on and don’t add to their poke.”
Nguyen said that the original location of Poke Hana in the Mills 50 area of Orlando has been open for a year, and he opened the restaurant with the help of some business partners and family members. He added that he chose to open the second location for his restaurant in the Windermere area because of its demographic of individuals who crave healthy options for their meals and the lack of poke restaurants in the area.