Restaurant Poke Bros coming to Palatine

  • Poke Bros, which specializes in serving fresh fish Hawaiian style and a "build your own bowl" model, is coming to Palatine.

      Poke Bros, which specializes in serving fresh fish Hawaiian style and a "build your own bowl" model, is coming to Palatine. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

Updated 6/8/2021 2:09 PM

After landing in the Chicago suburbs two years ago, the fast-casual restaurant chain Poke Bros has expanded rapidly, with the ninth location coming soon to Palatine.

Poke Bros specializes in serving fresh fish Hawaiian style, has a "build your own bowl" model with choices of rice and salad, proteins such as raw and cooked fish, chicken, shrimp and more, and ingredients like edamame, avocado, corn, cucumber, tofu and others. It also serves Japanese-style mochi ice cream.


The eatery has locations in Naperville -- the first one to open -- Oakbrook Terrace, St. Charles, Aurora, Lake in the Hills, Gurnee, Schaumburg and Frankfort.

The Palatine location will be at 789 E. Dundee Road, next to Starbucks, in the space formerly occupied by Menchie's Frozen Yogurt.

Song Chen of Waukegan said he owns the Chicago-area Poke Bros and hopes to open the Palatine location within a month. Former frozen yogurt businesses are the perfect location for Poke Bros, he said.

The village council approved a special use and parking variation for the restaurant Monday night. The space is on the outlot of Deer Grove Centre, which allows overflow parking within the shopping center, said Ben Vyverberg, the village's director of planning and zoning.

Councilman Tim Millar inquired about traffic flow into the shopping center. "It's kind of a challenging spot," he said, because people who are turning left to go into the Starbucks can cause backups.

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Vyverberg said the coffee shop's drive-through has a lot of activity, but the village hasn't received any complaints about it.

Chen said he's owned a Chinese and Thai restaurant in Waukegan for about 12 years.

His brother started Poke Bros in Ohio, then expanded to South Carolina and Delaware. "He invited me to go there (to Delaware) to take a look at the concept. I traveled there and I really liked the concept."

"It's good, fast casual. It has the assembly line that people like," he said. "It's not very expensive compared to sushi but all the stuff is made daily, fresh."

The suburban eateries are "doing phenomenal," Chen said.

As for why he chose Palatine, "one of our real estate agents sent it to us. We wanted to be in a place with a population that is missing a healthy thing."

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