[UPDATE] Somerville Gets Two Poké Stops This Winter

Fast-growing chain Pokéworks opens tonight in Davis Square, and Manoa Poke Shop is coming soon.

Josiah Bonsey (foreground) and Eric Mercado assemble bowls during a product testing session at Manoa Poke Shop

Josiah Bonsey (foreground) and Eric Mercado assemble bowls during a product testing session at Manoa Poke Shop. / Photo by Mark Ingber & Mandy Giampaolo provided

UPDATE, Friday, January 6, 3 p.m.: Manoa Poke Shop is officially open on Saturday, January 7. Check out the debut menu over at Eater Boston. The new dining option will start slow, serving 5-9 p.m. tomorrow, noon-9 p.m. on Sunday, and 5-9 p.m. January 9-13. “Our hours will expand to both lunch and dinner soon,” the team says, so keep an eye on Facebook.


With crudo menus nearly ubiquitous at Boston-area restaurants, and unique poké bowls available everywhere from Blue Ginger to Little Donkey to Dig Inn, it was only matter of time before we got our own poké-specific fast-casual spot. In fact, this month, Somerville is getting two.

Today Pokéworks softly opens in Davis Square, and by the end of the year, Manoa Poke Shop will debut near Porter Square.

Pokéworks has four locations in California, Washington, and New York City, and eight more on the way, including spots in Chicago, Houston, and Washington, D.C. The company sources seafood sustainably to create its customizeable ahi, albacore, Atlantic salmon, and shrimp bowls, salads, and oh-so-Instagrammable sushi burritos. It also has tofu options, hot miso soup, and bottled drinks, like Hawaiian Sun.

A photo posted by Pokéworks (@pokeworksco) on

Tonight’s soft opening hours are 5-10 p.m. Lunch is coming soon, once the shop is fully staffed up, says manager Josh Cast. Eventually, the hours will be 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, and 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Just about a mile away, Manoa Poke Shop is getting ready to hang its sign on Beacon Street. James Acer says he and partner Josiah Bonsey have some pieces of equipment to upgrade, some decor to display, staff to continue training, and a health inspection to pass before opening the doors.

“The hope for us is to be able to get our kitchen up and running some point next week, and if all goes well, open to the public within a week after that,” Acer says, but he’ll make no promises. “I will say I’ll be sad if we don’t open before the holidays.”

Manoa, which recently caused a line down a block of Cambridge Street when it popped up at Lamplighter Brewing Co., is also fueling its Hawaiian-style menu with sustainable, often local, seafood. There are six different pokés, which come with either rice or greens, plus house-made toppings like kimchi-style cucumber, and papaya salad. Guests can also choose among toppings like avocado, and macadamia nuts.

Beyond raw seafood and marinated tofu bowls, Manoa will also offer kalua pig (like Hawaiian pulled pork, Acer says), mochiko fried chicken, Hawaiian-style chili with chorizo, and kale salad with apple, beet, cucumber, and macadamia. To sip, Manoa is bringing in Aloha Maid sodas, and is making juices and infused iced teas in house, like a “citrusade,” and hibiscus blackberry iced tea.

Eventually, the menu will grow to include more snacks, as well as blended fruit smoothies, Acer says. Obtaining a liquor license isn’t a priority at this point, but it’s something the team is considering down the road, he adds.

So, as the cold descends on Somerville, warm up knowing that the fresh, bright flavors of Hawaii will be easy to come by.

Pokéworks, 261 Elm St., Davis Square, Somerville, 617-996-1198, pokeworks.com.

Manoa Poke Shop, coming soon to 300 Beacon St., Somerville, manoa.fish.

Manoa Poke Shop's Ahi Classic bowl

Manoa Poke Shop’s Ahi Classic bowl. / Photo provided