Trendy new eatery opens doors in East Hamilton


I feel like just last week I was wishing for more Poke options in Hamilton.

Well, it looks like someone heard my prayers because Poke Co just opened their doors on Ottawa Street last week.

Located a few doors down from Cannon Street on the West side of Ottawa, Poke Co takes over the space that previously housed Pura Vida Natural Store, at 193 Ottawa St. N.

When the storefront became available, Poke Co owners Peter Campagna and Jude Sloan, saw an opportunity to bring something different to the Crown Point Neighbourhood.

"We felt the neighbourhood needed like a sushi option," said Campagna, who was previously a chef at Tim Hortons Field. "With Poke, it's fresh and fast and delicious."

Campagna said that all of their sauces and toppings are made in house and their fish is "only freshest Ocean Wise fish."

When I was visiting, Campagna was prepping kimchi which he said he leaves to ferment for three months.

Their menu features a variety of inventive bowls that guarantee anyone can eat there. They have vegetarian, vegan and keto options. Plus, you can also build your own bowl, if you're feeling adventurous.

I ordered the Chaka Khan bowl, which is made up of salmon, miso dressing, veggies, pickled ginger, tobiko, crispy salmon skin, crispy rice and brown rice.

My first bite confirmed my suspicions: Poke Co is LEGIT.

The dressing was outstanding, the ingredients beautifully fresh and well balanced and the salmon was practically melt-in-your-mouth. I thoroughly loved the Chaka Khan bowl and cannot wait to work my way through the rest of this menu.

Also, everything was served in recyclable and compostable containers.

Sloan said that while they're less than a week into being open, they've seen business pick up more and more every day and they've been made to feel very welcome in their new home.

"All of the businesses on the street have been incredibly supportive," she said. "They've all come to introduce themselves and offer their support. It's made us feel like part of a family."

It's early days, but Poke Co looks to be settling in nicely on Ottawa Street. Sloan and Campagna, who are first-time restaurant owners but who have been in the business for years, said they're still trying to figure some things out as they forge ahead but they have big plans.

Campagna said he's considering experimenting with gourmet seafood options in the future because some of his customers have expressed an interest.

"But I don't want to get ahead of myself," Campagna said.

Poke Co is open Monday to Saturday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. They offer take-out, delivery and dine-in options.

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