By George Slaughter
The Katy location of Pokeworks, a Hawaiian cuisine restaurant, is celebrating its one-year anniversary July 27.
The restaurant is at 21788 Katy Freeway, between Westgreen and Mason. Its anniversary comes at a time when the Katy area is growing and new restaurants are providing variety to local residents and their families.
The July 27 celebration will feature buy-one-get-one-free bowls in addition to giveaways.
Pokeworks focuses on Hawaiian dishes. One challenge in establishing the restaurant was educating the public about what’s on the menu.
The standard dish, called a Hawaiian Classic, features ahi tuna, green and sweet onion, Ogo seaweed, cucumber, chili flakes, sesame seeds, roasted sesame oil, Hawaiian salt, and Pokeworks classic sauce.
“That’s a fan favorite,” Christopher Lav, who owns the restaurant along with his younger brother Henry, said. “It gets you off on the right foot. I think the menu is fresh, sustainable, and flavorful.”
While this particular dish features those items, Lav said diners can remove or add other items to the dish to suit their tastes, just as with the other dishes on the menu. Some of the other delicacies include albacore tuna, Atlantic salmon, chicken, and shrimp, served over rice or salad.
The restaurant is also known for its sushi burrito machine, which applies a rice base to the seaweed before restaurant staff prepare the sushi.
The restaurant sponsored a booth at the recent Katy Sip ‘n Stroll, among other events, to give people a taste. Lav said a lot of people waited to try the food at that event, and they sold out.
“We try to do these events to get more people interested,” Lav said. “It gives people more exposure to the Hawaiian cuisine. Once they try it, they really like it, and our business has been growing ever since then.”
Lav entered the restaurant business about 12 years ago after working in the automobile business. He and his brother had exposure to the restaurant business before that, however. Their parents fled the genocide that occurred in the late 1970s in Cambodia. The family moved to Thailand, and then to the United States, where they got involved in the restaurant business. Eventually they moved from California to Texas.
The brothers also own Shipley Donuts and Hartz Chicken franchises in the Houston area. Lav said they were ready to expand with a new franchise and learned of Pokeworks. The goal was to diversify their holdings.
“We knew this was a really healthy concept,” Lav said.
They did their due diligence, liked what they saw, and became a franchisee.
The Katy restaurant is one of three that the family owns. The other two restaurants are in the Galleria and Montrose.
The brothers expect to open two more restaurant later this year. The first restaurant will be on South Main Street, near NRG Park. The second will be near Greenway Plaza.
The chain, headquartered in Irvine, Calif., began in 2015. Its first restaurant opened in New York City. Today the chain has restaurants in California, Connecticut, Illinois, New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.
For more information, visit the website at www.pokeworks.com.