Atlanta-based Poke Burri bringing pizza- and doughnut-shaped sushi to Detroit
Poke Burri, an Atlanta-based restaurant known for doughnut-shaped sushi and other eye-popping offerings, is eyeing a Detroit location.
The casual, buzzy chain opened a couple years ago and has expanded to Raleigh, North Carolina. Co-owner Seven Chan tells The Detroit News they're teaming up with franchisees to open locations in several cities including Metro Detroit.
"We're looking in Detroit right now; we don't have the actual location yet," said Chan, who is working with locally-based franchisee Mohamad Atwi, who works in the automotive industry. "I really like the areas around Flowers of Vietnam, Mabel Gray, Grey Ghost ... I'm going to be trying to scout around there."
"We are essentially hoping to open in three to six months," he said.
Like the name implies, Poke Burri serves poke bowls and sushi burritos, both made with assorted fish, rice and other toppings like vegetables, avocado, tofu and sauces. Doughnut-shaped sushi rings are also on the menu.
Poki Burri has gone vial with their pizza-shaped sushi items and deep-fried "corndog sushi." When the Detroit location opens these items may be rolled out slowly on a secret menu that guests have to inquire about.
No matter what its shape, sushi restaurants are all over the place. (There's even a few spots around town selling sushi burritos.) What makes Poke Burri different, it seems, is the owners' creativity: A tenacity for forging relationships with local bloggers and food media, winning contests and getting attention.
"Essentially, we try to be different and strange and we like to be thought of," said Chan, who works with business partner Ken Yu.
In Atlanta, Chan said Poki Burri has won more than 40 food contests. In September a video about their pizza-shaped sushi posted by Delish.com's Facebook page went viral, getting more than a million views.
After the video went viral Chan said that's when the franchisees — he doesn't like using that word because it's "too corporate" — came out of the woodwork. Besides Detroit, they're planing more Poke Burri restaurant in Atlanta, plus locations in Denver and Boston.
Chan describes his small restaurant in Atlanta as a "hole-in-the-wall" and isn't looking to have the Detroit location be fancy or corporate-looking; he's looking for something "cool, trendy but in an authentic way."
"I want to be as real as possible," he said. "We're authentic, we're young people."
Follow Detroit's Poke Burri on Instagram @pokeburridetroit.