All poke bowls are not created equal, according to Angel Morgan.
Morgan, co-owner of Build Yo Poke located in National Plaza, near Publix at 2816 Washington Road, Suite 101 in Augusta, loves poke, a Hawaiian dish made with raw fish or seafood cut into small pieces and served over rice.
She runs the restaurant with the help of two of her children, Cayden and Shanna, who want to own their own restaurant someday. Her husband and other three children work at their other business: Pita Mediterranean Street Food located near Sprouts on Crane Creek Drive in Augusta., which they’ve owned for about four years.
People have asked Morgan if she and her family are Hawaiian or Mediterranean, but they’re neither of those. Her favorite foods are shawarma and sushi.
They celebrated Build Yo Poke’s soft opening last week and will hold the grand opening celebration on Thursday, March 30, beginning at 4 p.m.
The family restaurant allows customers to create bowls using a variety of rice, proteins, mix-ins, house-made sauces, and toppings. The proteins include ahi tuna, spicy salmon, shrimp, and even beets, while the toppings include avocado, carrots, imitation crab, and radishes. Morgan allows customers to sample a bowl free of charge.
“We have over 40 fresh ingredients we make every morning,” she said. “Our seafood is flown from Indonesia.”
Morgan buys those ingredients at Roots Produce and other farmers’ markets. But she said that’s not the only difference between her restaurant and other poke eateries.
“We mix all your toppings and sauces together,” she said. “Poke is supposed to be enjoyed together.”
They mix the ingredients together to ensure every bite is the same.
“There’s nothing like serving someone an amazing bite of food,” Morgan said.
Her business partner opened the original location of Build Yo Poke in Columbus, where they tested their bowls.
“We came up with the concept,” she said.
Initially, business was steady, thanks to signs she posted on Washington Road. That was until her landlord told her she had to take them down because the shopping center doesn’t allow its businesses to post signs.
“The most challenging part has been not being able to advertise on Washington Road,” Morgan said. “I have no doubt it’s going to get better.”
She has begun advertising on social media and hopes business gets better in time to attract the Masters’ crowd.
Build Yo Poke is open Monday through Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more information, visit buildyopoke.com/.