WILMINGTON — Like a lot of new restaurants, NakedFin Poke Bowl hit its fair share of delays. But its owners say a few extra months were a small price to pay for making sure everything was right.
Owners Alyssa and Ritchie Hart first announced plans for the new restaurant over the summer, describing it as a fast casual restaurant focused on poke bowls.
The Hawaiian specialty, pronounced “poh-kay,” originated with fisherman seasoning and marinating the scrap-cuts of fresh caught fish. Over time, the meal absorbed a heavy Japanese influence, including soy sauce, seaweed salad and nori. It has evolved into something like a deconstructed sushi roll, with sashimi-grade fish served over rice.
After enduring the delays all restauranteurs must deal with, Ritchie Hart said he’s more than ready to open.
“We had inspections, then the holidays, then we lost a whole week buried in snow, but none of that matters now, we’re just excited to open,” Hart said.
Ritchie Hart said he expected to finish inspections and kitchen training next week, and hopes to open around Wednesday, Jan. 24.
Customers aren’t the only ones who might be looking forward to a poke bowl after the long wait.
“Me too,” Hart said. “It’s been a long walk, I’m ready to have one too.”
One delay that didn’t seem to bother the Harts at all was the interior design of NakedFin, custom woodwork and design done by Ryan Byrd – of Byrd’s Custom Renovations –- who also did the design at the Guys Do Nails bar.
“He’s been amazing and has put so much love into Nakedfin. He is great at what he does,” Hart said.
Byrd help realized the look and feel the Harts first dreamed of months ago, from the custom surfboard dining table to the floor, designed to imitate the look of – what else? – the Hawaiin ocean that gave rise to the first poke bowls.
Nakedfin Poke Bowl is located at 420 Eastwood Road, between Racine and Charter Drives.
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