Michael Holloway

New Poke Restaurant For East Side?

Former Hotch Spot on Kenilworth Pl. about to become poke restaurant, lease shows.

By - Dec 20th, 2017 02:24 pm
1813 E. Kenilworth Pl. Photo from Facebook.

1813 E. Kenilworth Pl. Photo from Facebook.

Founders 3 Real Estate Services has announced a lease for a possible poke restaurant at 1813 E. Kenilworth Pl. The 2,371-square-foot space was leased by Poke Fusion WI, Inc., but the Wisconsin Department of Finances currently has no such business on record, and Poke Fusion WI, Inc. has no pending licenses before the city.

Kristin Godfrey, who leads the East Side’s Business Improvement District, was unable to provide any details about Poke Fusion WI, Inc.’s new business, but said her group is excited about new and unique businesses popping up in the neighborhood.

“I am also proud that we have become a sort of ‘Little Asia’ with the variety of Asian cuisines, making the East Side a one-stop-shop for delicious Asian restaurants of many types and environments,” Godfrey says.

1813 E. Kenilworth Pl. was previously occupied by Hotch Spot, a casual dining and late-night hangout that closed at the end of June. Hotch Spot opened in 2006 under the name Hotch-A-Do and focused on casual dining, breakfast, and brunch, and even hosted shows. In 2012, Hotch-A-Do closed for two months to remodel and it became Hotch Spot, adding a bar and shifting its focus towards a late-night crowd. The closing of Hotch came within the same year as that of many other east side bars, such as BBC, Yield, Hotel Foster, The Eastsider, and Rascals, marking a significant change in the neighborhood as it shifts away from bars aimed at college-age patrons and more towards family friendly restaurants and bars that focus on craft beer and cocktails.

Poke (which is Hawaiian for “to slice or cut” or “to section”) is a traditional raw fish salad that originated in Hawaii but started to garner popularity in mainland United States in 2012 (think deconstructed sushi in a bowl). The opening of a new poke restaurant on the East Side wouldn’t be all that surprising considering the success of Fresh Fin Poke, a build-your-own poke bowl restaurant located across the street from 1813 E. Kenilworth Pl. at 1806 E North Ave. Fresh Fin Poke opened its doors last January, the first of its kind in Milwaukee. After less than a year of business, Freshfin was successful enough to open its second location located in the Third Ward on Nov. 30. Freshfin has announced it will open its third location in Brookfield as part of The Brookfield Corners in the spring of 2018. Chicago-based poke chain Aloha Poke Co. has also announced plans to open two poke restaurants in Milwaukee by the end of 2017, one located at 3116 N. Downer Ave. and another in the Third Ward.

Given how the East Side became saturated with ramen joints after the success of Red Light Ramen, poke may very well become the neighborhood’s next sought after cuisine.

One thought on “New Poke Restaurant For East Side?”

  1. Christina Zawadiwsky says:

    This should be an interesting restaurant!

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