More poké heads to metro Atlanta. Southern California franchise LemonShark Poké, owned by Tobi Miller of 1990s band the Wallflowers and race car driver Richard Gottlieb, opens at the Bishop luxury apartment complex in Sandy Springs later this year. It’s named for a very discerning shark which, the press release states, only consumes the very best fish in the ocean.
LemonShark’s menu comprises mainly of poké, but does include dishes like tempura shrimp, egg rolls, and Hawaiian katsu — pounded cutlet of meat or seafood breaded and fried — as well as an oyster bar and a wall of beer.
Miller and Gottlieb, who have “immersed” themselves in Hawaiian culture for years, first opened LemonShark in Southern California three years ago. According to the restaurant’s website, they’ve expanded to 14 restaurants, with 63 other locations under development. Sandy Springs franchise owner D.J. Fuch plans to open several LemonShark locations around Atlanta if the restaurant proves successful.
This rapid expansion speaks to the meteoric rise of poké restaurants and its popping up on menus across the country in the last four years. Atlanta is no exception to the trend. Over two dozen restaurants dedicated to the Hawaiian marinated raw fish dish are open inside the perimeter, and dozens more restaurants serve some variation of poké. Even Red Lobster and Cheesecake Factory list poké among their offerings.
While some believe poké hasn’t completely jumped the shark yet, Eric Cho, co-founder of LA-based TikiFish, says those devoted to the dish will now likely seek out higher quality options. Cho told Eater in 2018, “I think it’s [poké] just going to evolve a little bit, and people are going to be more particular about which restaurants they go to.”
If Cho’s statement hold true, it could be a win for LemonShark, which claims to serve only the “finest quality ingredients” on its menu.
In addition to California, LemonShark has locations in Arizona, Texas, New Orleans, Florida, North Carolina, Illinois, and New York.
1115 Springwood Connector, Sandy Springs. lemonsharkpoke.com.
Open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.