Winter may be rapidly approaching Illinois, but one new business is planning to bring a taste of the tropics to Downers Grove. Hawaiian-style poke restaurant Island Fin Poke has just announced that it is opening its first Midwestern location next year. After a successful 2020 even during the pandemic, the Florida-founded poke restaurant will be bringing its build-your-own, customizable poke bowls to the Chicago suburbs in Spring 2021.
The restaurant provides guests with farm-to-fork, locally and responsibly sourced ingredients for each individual to create their own perfect poke bowl. With eight proteins, over 25 toppings, house-made sauces and specialty mix-ins, the endless possibilities allow guests to get creative and try something new every visit. With the restaurant’s comfortable beach shack environment, co-founder Mark Setterington hopes to bring Downers Grove residents straight to the tropics as they enjoy fresh and healthy meals.
“We are excited to open our first restaurant in the Midwest to bring our tropical flair to the area,” says Mark Setterington, co-founder of Island Fin Poke. “We are opening restaurants all across the country, but the Chicago area is somewhere we have been eyeing for a while. We believe that the local residents in Downers Grove will resonate with our family-oriented culture and personal attention given to every guest.”
After working in the restaurant industry for 36 years and overseeing 10 restaurants throughout Las Vegas and Los Angeles, Setterington decided to launch Island Fin Poke to bring guests high-quality poke in an immersive tropical environment. The first location opened in Orlando, and over the past three years Island Fin Poke has grown to 10 locations across five states. The Downers Grove location will be Island Fin Poke’s entry to Illinois, with plans for more growth in the Midwest.
Island Fin Poke’s operating locations have been successful throughout the pandemic, which has poised the brand for continued growth. The brand’s business model gives restaurants the ability to pivot quickly to remain up-to-date on local guidelines to ensure the safety of staff and guests.
“One of the most important things for us as a brand is to uphold traditional Hawaiian standards in our cuisine,” says Setterington. “Not only is our menu authentic, but we make sure every restaurant reflects the value of Ohana. For us, ohana is a way of life, and we want every guest that walks through our doors to know they are a part of the family.”
The new location comes at a time when Island Fin Poké continues to rapidly expand its national footprint. In addition to its open restaurants, Island Fin Poke has 26 locations in various stages of development across the country. While Setterington operates his own locations in Florida, the brand is actively seeking franchisees to join the ohana and bring the poke concept to their home communities.