Miyako Poké Bowl brings popular food trend to Lexington


Miyako Poke Bowl employee Aria Alimarda (right), Co-Owner David Zheng, and employees Ayden Shephard and Kyra Donahue wait on customers on Sunday, January 21, 2018. Miyako Poke Bowl opened January 12 on South Broadway in Lexington, Ky. Photo By Genna Melendez | Staff

Kennedy Sabharwal

One of the most famous food trends in places like New York and Los Angeles has arrived in Lexington– poké bowls, a customizable, deconstructed sushi bowl.

Located on South Broadway, Miyako Poké Bowl is in the perfect location to attract hungry college students. Some may recognize the owner, Andy Chi, who also owns the hibachi restaurant, Miyako Sushi & Steakhouse, on Richmond Road. Chi opened his first Miyako location 17 years ago as a sushi chef to make some money, but it soon turned into a place locals loved. Miyako Poké Bowl opened on Jan. 12 at 867 S. Broadway Suite 110, near Jersey Mike’s Subs and Pie Five. 

Chi wanted to open Miyako Poké Bowl as a “fast way to do sushi,” he said. He mentioned that the most popular bowl thus far has been the Crazy Spicy Bowl, which is also the favorite sushi roll at his hibachi location. This bowl includes items like spicy tuna, spicy salmon, spicy crab and spicy mayo for a real kick.

“We are getting better every day. Our traffic continues to increase every day,” Chi said.

Inside the restaurant customers will find only nine wooden tables– four tables with chairs and five tables with booths. Chi said he didn’t want much seating because he wanted the restaurant to have space.

Chi’s image is for half of the orders to be dine-in and half to be take-out. The majority of his excitement comes from the fact that the poke trend will be, “something new, something fast… easy to manage and easy to open more locations.”

After traveling to popular poke restaurants in New York and Chicago, Chi created his menu and decided how he wanted the food to be presented. Being able to view all of the options that can be put into the bowls, burritos or salads was important to Chi. It is easy to add visible sauces, vegetables and extra protein to one’s meal.

Chi said he plans on waiting to see how well this location does within its first month of functioning, then he will decide whether he would like to open another poké bowl restaurant.

A major menu update will also take place in a few months to better cater to the customers and introduce even more poke bowl ingredients.

“This style of restaurant is easy to learn, but we are still learning,” he said.

Going into the future, Chi said he has absolutely no fears.