South Hill is getting its first poke bar. It also has boba tea
South Hill is getting its first poke bowl restaurant. Mix Poke Bar and its companion business Sip + Spoon will open in South Hill’s Sunrise Village later this year. UPDATE: The restaurant opened on Dec. 11, 2021. Read a first-bite report here.
“When we opened in Tacoma it was because customers at our Bellevue location would tell us, ‘Please come to Tacoma.’ They were traveling to Bellevue from Tacoma to visit us,” explained owner Bee Meas, who debuted the Bellevue location five years ago. Three years ago, she expanded both her concepts — Mix Poke Bar and Sip + Spoon — to the Tacoma Mall food court.
“And now it’s the same. When we opened in Tacoma, we had a lot of customers who would tell us, ‘Please come to Puyallup.’”
MIX POKE BOWL BASICS
For the uninitiated, poke bowls are Hawaiian in origin and flexible in concept. The most traditional bowls come with jiggly cubes of raw ahi tuna splashed with a tangy sauce sometimes kicked with a little heat. Straightforward poke is served over rice or with a seaweed salad, but poke bars like Mix feature all kinds of add-ins to boost the bowl with flavor. Assembly is something like a Chipotle or a Subway: infinite customization is available.
At Mix Poke Bar, diners can select from a list of ingredients that includes pickled ginger, diced cucumber, cubed avocado, edamame, onions, masago, furikake, sesame seeds and more. In lieu of raw, cubed ahi or salmon, diners also can select tofu, chicken, shrimp or another cooked protein.
In Pierce County, diners can find poke bowl bars across the county: At Sam Choy’s Poke to the Max in downtown Tacoma, IC Poke in Lakewood and Poke Pop in Fircrest. For a purist’s poke, head straight to Da Tiki Hut in Tacoma’s Sixth Avenue neighborhood for their low-tech version that is as purely Hawaiian as poke bowls get.
Meas is familiar with the Pierce County dining scene and poke bars in the area. She’s a Browns Point resident who also attended Stadium High School. Her aunt lives in South Hill and even once looked at a space in Sunrise Village for another family restaurant concept.
SOMETHING NEW FOR SOUTH HILL DINING
“There isn’t any poke, a poke bar, in South Hill and we had a hard time finding bubble tea,” said Meas of her research. Her Sip + Spoon is a drink cafe with a far reaching beverage menu that includes fruit teas, milk boba teas, acai bowls and specialty drinks such as horchata, matcha lattes, Thai tea and mangonadas.
Mix Poke Bar and Sip + Spoon are fully customizable and many of their specialties appeal to diners with dietary restrictions: gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian and dairy-free eaters.
The build-your-own poke bowls at Mix in Tacoma Mall start at $12, a bargain for fresh seafood. The Sip + Spoon milk boba tea starts at $4.
Her hope is to open the combo space for Mix Poke Bar and Sip + Spoon in Sunrise Village in late 2021. She’s just begun the buildout and is working on the decor concept as her contractors get to work. The Tacoma Mall space is a walk-up counter and the Bellevue location is a walk-up window, so those locations did not require much flex in the design. At the South Hill location, it’s a brick-and-mortar spot that’s a shell at the moment. There’s not even a kitchen in there yet.
“The decor of this one will be simplistic – white with pops of greenery. We’ll keep it very simple, nothing too crazy. We don’t want it to be too busy. The menu is so much like Chipotle with a lot of choices. We’re trying to minimize how much we have to put on our menu board. It’s a lot of information for the diner. We want it to be easy to come in and order and get out the door with no huge distractions,” said Meas.
Find the restaurant in the strip of eateries and shops bookended by Qdoba Grill on one side and Menchies on the other. Watch the restaurant’s social media for updates on construction.
MIX POKE BAR/SIP + SPOON
Puyallup location: Sunrise Village, 10306 156th St. E., Puyallup
Mix Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mixpokebar/
Sip + Spoon Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sip.n.spoon/
Tacoma Mall location: 4502 S. Steele St., Tacoma; 253-475-5118