Originally from South Louisiana, Poké Fish owner Brad Matherne developed an early passion for food. “My grandma ran a bed and breakfast and is famous for her food,” he says. “Even if you weren’t hungry, she was going to feed you something delicious that she made on the fly. I carry that same passion with me.”
How did you get into the restaurant business?
I’ve been in the franchise business for a long time, so I have an understanding of the restaurant business and in particular, the fast-casual health space. I was sitting on an empty space about to do another healthy concept I had drawn up when I coincidentally had my first experience with poké while I was visiting back home in New Orleans. I fell in love with it and immediately transitioned to creating my own poke concept. I was already passionate about seafood but really connected with the bright vibrant colors and unique flavor profiles you can create with poké bowls, so I decided to bring it to Tampa. I traveled to New York and some other major cities doing research and seeing what I liked best from each of the different locations.
What is your favorite small plate from another restaurant?
The Columbia’s 1905 salad.
I love the sense of community the tableside preparation brings. I could put that dressing on everything. The Worcestershire gives it a kick, but the lemon and garlic even it all out, and it’s perfectly distributed across the meat, cheese and olives.
Why do you think poké has become so popular? People care what they put into their bodies and they want convenience, so it is a healthier alternative [to fast food]. At Poké Fish, you can create something different every time using different sauces or toppings. It never gets old. people. It’s also the generation of content creation and nothing is more, sorry for the millennial term, but “Instagram-worthy” then a beautiful poké bowl.
What sets Poké Fish apart?
Well going back to the above, I put a lot of thought into creating a clean brand and a laid-back vibe so that and the bright colors of the bowls (which you can order in an actual pineapple). Most importantly, I take great pride in my quality and cleanliness. I will never sacrifice the quality of my fish despite the cost and cleanliness and the freshness of our ingredients is absolutely the most important thing for us.
What should a first-time visitor try?
We have a few bowls on the menu that are staples, so those are good options. Our seaweed salad is made in house and is free of dyes and sugars. Our menu is very versatile. Guests have different proteins to choose from, homemade sauces, tons of toppings and everything is completely fresh.
2117 E. 7th Ave.
4424 W. Kennedy Blvd.