- Teresa Gubbins, Culture Map

Poke returns to Uptown Dallas with the opening of Pokeworks, the New York-based fast-casual poke chain, which is opening at 2626 Howell St., #165, on December 11.

The restaurant is going into a former H&R Block office next to WhichWich, at the corner of Howland and Worthington streets, where it will offer fresh Hawaiian-inspired poke bowls and burritos, with a customizable menu and convenient online ordering options for pickup or delivery via web or loyalty app.

For poke fans, it’s a windfall that comes just in time following the news that Malibu Poke closed its location at the McKinney and Olive building, nary a mile away. Praise the Lord, poke is back.

The owners of Pokeworks Uptown are Sam Fawal and Ali Ghandour, longtime friends who’ve worked in the restaurant industry for years and dreamed of opening their own restaurant together.

They’re firm believers in what Pokeworks does, and are already developing a second location in Addison, with more Dallas-Fort Worth locations planned for the next several years.

“Ali and I have always wanted to combine our longstanding restaurant experience and go into business together, but we struggled to find the right fit,” Fawal says in a statement. “When we found Pokeworks, we could tell it had everything we were looking for. From its premium menu offerings to the traditional core values at the center of the brand, we knew that Pokeworks was a natural fit. We cannot wait to share this concept with our friends and neighbors in Dallas, and we look forward to further expanding into the diverse food scene that Dallas has to offer.”

Pokeworks was founded in 2015, with a first location in Manhattan and have since opened locations in 24 states across the U.S., with 17 locations in Texas including Austin, Houston, and DFW, where there are currently three locations at The Hill on Walnut Hill in Dallas, Richardson Restaurant Park, and Southlake.

The chain aspires to the highest quality poke using sustainable, seasonal, and natural ingredients. They also accommodate dietary restrictions, including gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan, as well as cooked or raw protein diets.

Diners can build their own poke bowls, burritos, or salads by selecting from tuna, salmon, chicken, shrimp, or tofu, then adding mix-ins, sauces, and unique crunch toppings for texture.

They’re also one of the places you can get Dole Whip, the delicious frozen soft-serve non-dairy pineapple-flavored ice cream that’s been a trend around Dallas.

“Pokeworks began with nine founders who shared a vision to create a concept that delivers fresh, healthy and delicious poke to all, and have grown from one location in Manhattan to over sixty locations worldwide in just five years,” says Steve Heeley, CEO of Pokeworks, in a statement. “We strive to continue to innovate, grow, and improve our brand vision, and that is why we are thrilled to welcome Sam and Ali to our team to help carry our vision in Uptown Dallas.”

Pokeworks of Uptown Dallas will be open Monday-Saturday 11 am-9 pm and Sunday from 12-8 pm.