International Poke Company offers chef-designed bowls, gluten-free and vegan options 

click to enlarge GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell
Locals Al Alvares and Jon Polkow have been friends for some time, but in 2018, they decided to start a business. Drawing from Polkow’s background as a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, they’ve soft-opened International Poke Company, which they hope will be the first of many stores.

For Alvares, an entrepreneur by trade, it’s been a big shift. He wasn’t a big fan of raw fish, finding his limited experience with build-your-own poke bowl restaurants largely unsatisfying, an experience that’s far from uncommon, especially with ingredients in play like wakame (seaweed) and furikake (dried fish seasoning), which American diners may not be as familiar with. Alvares changed his tune when he tried dishes created by Polkow and James Bailey, a Los Angeles-based chef they hired to consult with on a menu of ready-to-order bowls, drawing from myriad culinary traditions. In addition to traditional Hawaiian flavors, they’re offering a kung pao-inspired bowl, a bowl with Korean barbecue flavors and even a Peruvian-inspired bowl.
Location Details International Poke Company
122 Tracker Drive, #120
Colorado Springs, CO
Sunday 11:00am – 6:00pmMonday - Saturday 11:00am – 8:00pm
Alvares and Polkow have made a few stand-out choices with the spot. They don’t take cash, for one — it’s card only, to keep the line moving. Further, save for two sauces, the whole menu’s gluten-free, and they can swap fish out for jackfruit or tofu to make any dish vegan. In the future, they intend to add Ocean Hugger Foods-made Ahimi, a tomato-based vegan product that resembles raw tuna. As a healthy nod, they offer kombucha on tap and have sourced sodas from Pepsi’s craft imprint, Stubborn, which they say have less sugar.

Expect a grand opening Friday, Feb. 15.


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