The new location is opening this winter, serving island-inspired poke bowls and street food. Hai Poké will occupy the space between Dos Hermanos and Gallo’s Pizzeria on the west side of the building. Founder Nile Woodson said the expansion presents the opportunity to introduce poke to a new audience.
“Bridge Park is so fresh, new, and up and coming,” Woodson said. “There’s so much growth going on there that it’s exciting to be a part of and it’s also a completely different market for us.”
Hai Poké began as a pop-up kitchen in 2015 at Oddfellows Liquor Bar, then became a food truck. In 2017, Woodson opened their first brick-and-mortar location at 674 N. High St. in the Short North. Executive director of the North Market, Rick Wolfe, said he’s known Woodson since the beginning.
“I am so glad we were able to find a home for them in North Market. I’m a big fan of their food and their drive,” Wolfe said.
Construction on Hai Poké’s location in Bridge Park Market began last week, with an exact opening date yet to be determined. Plans call for an expanded kitchen, which Woodson said will allow the team to start incorporating more diverse flavors and Hai Poké’s classic dishes.
One fan-favorite bowl at the Short North location features sticky rice, raw tuna, and crunchy vegetables topped with spicy soy sauce. In terms of new menu items, Woodson said, “everything is on the table.”
Woodson said he is excited to continue building the Hai Poké team and offering unique dishes to customers.
“It has always been in my and Hai Poké’s vision to be a part of the North Market and join our cuisine with that family that brings so much delicious and rich food to Columbus,” Woodson said.
Hai Poké is the second new addition to Bridge Park Market in the past month, along with Cuban eatery Pablo’s Havana Café. The building is home to 14 vendors offering a variety of fresh produce, meat, poultry, seafood, flowers, and more.