Poké Factory expands UB’s culinary scene

New restaurant in UB Commons includes vegetarian and vegan options for students

poke

While students were off on spring break, UB welcomed Poké Factory as the newest addition to its culinary scene. It fills the space in the Commons previously occupied by Marco’s Italian Deli, which closed last year.

The restaurant serves its namesake dish, poké, the Hawaiian-inspired fish salad, among other healthy items like smoothies and acai bowls.

Hiring manager Tim Sit described poké as having the “same elements as sushi,” but much more customizable.

“You are never going to eat something else and say ‘this is just like poké.’ It’s very unique and I think that’s something else that makes it so grand and special,” Sit said.

A regular-sized bowl of poké costs $8.99 and a large-sized bowl costs $10.99, according to the menu. Customers can choose the type of rice, protein, sauce and garnish to add to their bowl, and they can also add toppings such as avocado, edamame and kimchi. Toppings cost up to $1.25 each.

The menu includes gluten-free and vegan options “available on request.”

“On this campus, I have a lot of vegan friends and they have a lot of difficulty getting food, so that’s one thing this store focuses on, providing food for everyone,” said operating manager Zahid Rahim.

Rahim said the store decided to add acai bowls and smoothies on their menu to offer more healthy options on campus.

“We also focus on students who work out and probably need a shake right afterwards,” Rahim said. “So we give them smoothies where they can add protein, creatine, flaxseed and all that other stuff that’s good for you.”

Joanne Lau, a sophomore accounting major, said she noticed poké becoming popular in New York City one or two years ago and now sees more poké restaurants opening in other locations.

The owner of The Poké Factory noticed there were no poké restaurants in the Buffalo area and wanted to introduce something new, Sit said.

Lau said poké can be a healthy option, and she could probably see herself coming to eat at The Poké Factory often because “the prices are not too bad either.”

Jun Jie Zheng, a junior marketing major, said the food tastes “good,” but the preparation of the food takes a long time.

“I waited 15 to 17 minutes yesterday, but it’s really refreshing to eat,” Zheng said.

Haruka Kosugi is the assistant news editor and can be reached at haruka.kosugi@ubspectrum.com and @kosugispec.