The word “aloha” holds a variety of meanings in
Hawaiian culture. Aloha could mean “hello,”
“goodbye,”or “love.” For the owners of Aloha Poke,
this commonly used word defines their way of life as
they bring a part of Hawaii to Historic Fairhaven District.
When you enter the environment of Aloha Poke, there’s
nothing that resembles a tacky Waikiki tourist within the
shop. Owners David Jacobsen and Mark Ishijima, who were
both born and raised on the island of Oahu, have established
a location that strives to be as authentic as their home
itself. “Since we’re from Hawaii, we’ll try our best to keep it
Hawaiian style,” Jacobsen said.
The clear glass windows allow natural light to peak in
as you enter to Aloha Poke’s open and clean interior. Local
Hawaiian staples such as Hawaiian jams, jellies, and butters
ornate the store for customers. “We’re going to try to make it
feel like you’re in Hawaii; like you’re at home,” Jacobsen said.
Something new is finally being brought to our menus and
there are so many reasons to become obsessed with not only
its culture but the taste, health benefits, and aesthetic of
delicious poke. Jacobsen and Ishijima mean it when they say
they’re going to be legit.
Peek into the glass display case of their shop and you will
find a multitude of poke options from oyster sauce to ginger
shoyu. Their fish options are Ahi, salmon, and
albacore. They strive to bring Ahi will be brought
in from Hawaii. For a tasty vegetarian option,
Jacobsen has created a ginger soy sauce tofu entrée.
Take a personal trip to the islands when you
bite into Aloha Poke’s concoction called a poke
bowl. The fish, doused in a unique blend of sauces,
is piled onto a bed of homemade sushi rice.
Despite the simplicity of the entrée, customers can
garnish their bowls with additional condiments
such as furikake, a Japanese nori seasoning, avocado,
or spicy mayonnaise better known as dynamite
sauce. To finish off this mouth-watering meal,
eat the side of ginger to clean your palette.
Fish, which is a staple on the Hawaiian Islands,
is more than meets the eye. Jacobsen and his crew
have gained experience from their first restaurant
located on Oahu, The Hibachi. Diana Douglas,
a current employee at Aloha Poke, is in charge
of finely hand-cutting the fish every day after her
experience at The Hibachi back home. It was there
that Jacobsen witnessed Japanese customers creating
their own poke bowls with the side of rice
and their fish without realizing its iconic potential.
“Mark claims that he was the inventor of the poke
bowl,” Douglas said.
As poke bowls are still on the rise in the mainland
states, Jacobsen and Douglas are more stoked
than ever. “We’re just excited that people are
excited. People know what it is,” Jacobsen said.
The minds of Aloha Poke have been anticipating
their legacy of sharing poke for years. Nonetheless,
their timing was impeccable. “Up until now, we
would’ve been the first ones in Washington but
Sam Choy’s beat us,” Douglas said.
The dining scene of Fairhaven is finally diversifying
thanks to Jacobsen, Ishijima and Douglas. Stop by
Fairhaven’s newest addition to taste the aloha.