One Fish Two Fish: A Poke Joint is bringing Hawaiian cuisine to Carrboro this March, replacing the former Tom+Chee restaurant at 370 E. Main St.
Owner Scott Kleczkowski said he fell in love with poke, a popular Hawaiian dish, a couple of years ago and wanted to bring the dish to the area.
“By definition, it’s a raw fish salad,” Kleczkowski said. “It really is Hawaiian street food. Traditionally the fishermen get the fish off the boat, chop it up, throw it over rice — it’s kind of what they would snack on.
Kleczkowski said he thinks this concept will do really well in the area.
"It's wildly popular in Hawaii and it’s gotten big on the West Coast and up in New York," he said. "It’s just not a dish that’s come to the Southeast yet,” he said.
Patti Benedict, a partner and leasing manager for Main Street Properties in Chapel Hill, said she thinks the new restaurant will be a great fit in the community.
“Having a new and exciting concept is always a great draw,” she said. “This is a community that appreciates all types of food, which I love. So when we are considering new concepts, we certainly look for something that is unique, not just to our shopping center, but to our community.”
Jacqueline Chang, a first-year graduate student at UNC, said she is from California where poke has taken off recently.
“It’s something that is really trendy,” she said. “I just remember it becoming a big thing in the last five years.”
Chang said she’s always a little skeptical about trying Pacific inspired food in North Carolina since she's from the West Coast.
“I think it’s a pretty hard feat to accomplish," she said.
Despite the hesitation, Chang said people should be open minded to trying poke and eating raw fish.
“I think some people are a little squeamish when it comes to the idea of eating raw fish, but I think it’s great," she said. "I think it’s delicious — I have very high hopes for the new place."
First-year Andy Richardson used to work at Tom+Chee, which has locations around the country, before its Carrboro location closed in November 2015.
“I loved it, it was a great job and I loved being there because I could eat the food whenever I wanted and it was very good,” Richardson said.
Tom+Chee specialized in grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup. Richardson many restaurants on Franklin Street don't contribute to the uniqueness of restaurants in the area.
"Whereas like Tom+Chee was, this place will be very unique and unlike anything else in Chapel Hill or Carrboro.”
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