What’s more to love about San Mateo than the many options one has when deciding where to have a delicious meal from the plethora of amazing local options? Now, there’s one more spot to add to your list– the recently opened Pokeatery which we’re thrilled to welcome to the neighborhood.
For those of you who are not familiar with the delicious Hawaiian fare that is all the rage these days, here’s the skinny:
What is Pokeatery?
Pokeatery is a Hawaiian quick serve seafood restaurant specializing in customized poke boxes. The custom poke box includes your choice of a base, 2 sides, and 4 scoops of proteins, along with various mix-ins, sauces, and toppings because it’s always more fun and delicious when you can decide on every ingredient that goes into your box!
What inspired you to open this type of restaurant?
My husband and I went to Kauai for our babymoon, and since I could not eat raw fish at the time, he got to enjoy all the fresh poke that he wanted, while I had to sit and watch him eat it. Not fun. When the baby was 3.5 months old, we went to Maui, and while devouring delicious poke and finally satisfying my craving, I joked around to him that we should open a poke restaurant. He just looked at me like I was crazy because I had a nice comfortable job in finance and he works in tech. After thinking about it some more, however, we decided the Bay Area really did need a place that served great poke. We decided to go all in, and here we are! We love poke, and we are big time foodies, so we knew we would love this. We knew we wanted to do things right—source only the highest quality fish and use the best ingredients, no skimping on quality or quantity.
Is this your first restaurant?
This is our first restaurant on our own, but my family has owned sushi restaurants for as long as I can remember. My parents do not speak English very well, so I helped run the restaurants from a very young age. Even all of my aunts and uncles own sushi restaurants. It’s the family business!
What excites you about downtown San Mateo?
Downtown San Mateo has this wonderful energy about it, and we feel so blessed to be here! It is known for great food, and I love that even SF city dwellers come all the way down here to eat because there are so many options. Downtown San Mateo pretty much has everything you could possibly need. I am always joking with my husband that we never have to leave. It is also a wonderful close-knit community of business owners, and I have met a lot of helpful people. Everyone just wants you to succeed.
There seem to be so many people trying to stay away from gluten. Do you offer gluten-free options?
Absolutely! All of our bases are gluten free, including the kelp noodles, and we offer gluten-free sauce and many gluten-free toppings.
What advice would you give someone wanting to open a restaurant?
My biggest advice would be to make sure it is something you really want to do, because it is going to be a long time before you ever have a day off again!
Besides Pokeatery, do you have any favorite restaurants in San Mateo?
Celebrity you’d like to have dinner with:
No Hollywood celebrities come to mind, but since we live in Silicon Valley, my pick would be Sheryl Sandberg. I’ve been a big fan ever since listening to her speak at Dreamforce a few years ago and reading her book, Lean In.
Favorite cuisine: No favorites here. Love all food!
Favorite technology devise: Apple Watch! It let me run around with a baby in my arms while opening Pokeatery. Without it, I would have missed so many calls and text messages.
3 words to describe San Mateo: Diverse, Unpretentious, Lively
Don’t be discouraged if you go during lunch hours and the line is out the door, it moves pretty quickly and is definitely worth the wait. Read their glowing Yelp reviews here!
Did you know that Bay Meadows is just a five minute walk or bike ride away from Whole Foods, Starbuck, Peets, Chipotle and other great restaurants on 25th Ave. Learn more about all the great walkable amenities that surround Bay Meadows. San Mateo was named the Best Small Town for Food by Rand McNally. You can discover the local eateries in downtown San Mateo here.