Photo by Ahmad Ali Jaffer
Richmond is now home to the fresh and innovative Vancouver-based restaurant brand, Westcoast Poké.
Zachary Cho, co-founder of the restaurant, began this journey along with some of his best friends, as they saw a lack of healthy and innovative food options available.
Within one year of envisioning the idea, they opened the doors to their first location, and a year later their second, located at Ironwood Plaza in Richmond.
They pride themselves in providing nutrient-dense food to busy people who wish to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Their motto, ‘Live Raw,’ is exemplified in the ingredients they use, from the fish, to the vegetables and toppings.
It made sense to open the location in Richmond, with Steveston being a fishing village, and the diverse community receptive to a variety of cuisines.
“People forget that there’s other markets outside of Vancouver, so opening this location felt right,” said Cho.
The restaurant’s aesthetic is affiliated with the cuisine’s Hawaiian roots, from the colour scheme to the decor items, and the hospitality showcased by the employees.
The company’s culture of transparency is embodied in-store, as customers are able to know exactly what’s going into their food.
They are also very innovative, and constantly seek ways to appeal to different people, such as the use of a vegan tuna substitute, and a monthly feature bowl utilizing a new base and a new seafood.
The deli-style option introduced at the Richmond location is truly a traditional approach, found at fish markets in Hawaii, allowing customers to purchase the fish and use it in recipes at home.
Zachary explains how “the sauces are all designed by the head chef, built in house, and really set (them) apart from everyone else.”
He hopes to one day package and sell the sauces through different vendors, allowing more people to have access to them.
Opening up more locations would allow people in different communities to experience what the restaurant has to offer.
When giving advice to someone wanting to open up their own successful business, Cho recommends doing your research and planning it out.
Hard work and dedication are both key when being an entrepreneur, and success requires a huge investment of time and resources.
However, Cho says it’s rewarding to see people in the community holding his Poké bowls, and seeing their positive feedback on social media.
Westcoast Poke is located at Unit 3030, 11666 Steveston Hwy.