New restaurant to bring a taste of Hawaii to Hyde Park

A pedestrian walks by the soon-to-be-occupied storefront of Hyde Park’s newest restaurant, Aloha Poké, 5221 S. Harper Court, Wednesday, May 17. The restaurant is expected to open in June of this year. – Marc Monaghan

Contributing Writer

A restaurant chain with a Hawaiian theme is expected to open a Hyde Park location in June and possibly 13 more Chicago locations by year-end.

Aloha Poke Co., which opened in 2016, is remodeling space at 5221 S. Harper Court, said Zach Friedlander, managing partner with Aloha Poke Co.

“The space is being wrapped up as we speak, so hopefully we can open in June as planned,” Friedlander said. “At least that’s the date we are shooting for right now.”

One reason why Hyde Park was chosen as an expansion site was because of its demographics, Friedlander said.

“Hyde Park has a diverse population of residents and businesses that are attractive to any retail business,” Friedlander said. “The neighbors there [in Hyde Park] are great and having the University of Chicago located there will only add to the foot traffic I expect once we open up.”

A North Side location near Loyola University as well as its first suburban location in Naperville is also planned this year, according to Friedlander, who said he is not concerned about competition.

“I know there are lots of restaurants already in Hyde Park, but that does not scare me,” contends Friedlander. “Competition is the best thing around.”

The menu at Aloha Poke Co., 131 N. Clinton St., offers “a Hawaiian selection but at a fast-food pace,” he added. The menu includes Tofu, salmon or raw tuna served with a variety of sauces and vegetables.

Once the Hyde Park site opens Friedlander said it would be a seven days a week business.

“We are trying to finalize everything as quickly as we can so we can set an opening day,” Friedlander said. “Once we do I expect the new restaurant to do well in Hyde Park.”