Jimmy Chen, owner of Poke Burrito (1025 Lake St, Oak Park), is gearing up to celebrate his restaurant’s one-year anniversary by giving an eco-friendly gift to the community and introducing new products to his customers.
Savvy locals know poke burrito serves up an array of customizable dishes made from healthy, fresh and high-quality ingredients, but the plastic packaging used in the restaurant disturbed many environmentally conscious community members over the past year.
“I know my audience and care about the community;” says Chen, “after hearing the feedback about the plastic containers I wanted to make the change to eco-conscious packaging as soon as possible.”
Today all bowls used at Poke Burrito are made from 100% compostable unbleached plant fiber. The straws, forks, spoons and cups are all made from eco-friendly materials, as well. Chen is also developing a plan to begin composting inside the restaurant and is currently making connections to hire a private garbage hauler who offers composting services.
Chen is in the process of transitioning the restaurant to eco-friendly products with the goal of making Poke Burrito 100% sustainable over time. Greening Poke Burrito will require changes to nearly every aspect of the restaurant and despite increased expenses, Chen is committed to making these environmentally conscious changes without raising prices.
“We are a small business, but we are always trying to change and improve,” says Chen, “but making these changes should not feel like a punishment to our customers.”
Chen is hopeful the Oak Park community please with his proactive approach to greening Poke Burrito and has already received positive responses from community members about the eco-focused changes he’s made in the restaurant.
Chen’s proactive response to community feedback is a reason to celebrate!
Introducing house-made soft serve
Known for serving poke bowls and burritos filled with sashimi grade fish and an array of creative garnishes, Chen intends to celebrate Poke Burrito’s first business anniversary by highlighting menu items that go beyond poke like boba teas, smoothies and soft serve ice cream.
Initially Poke Burrito served Thai rolled ice cream during the summer months, but space limitations and time constraints made it impossible to continue serving the popular menu item. Worried he may disappoint his customers, Chen began experimenting with soft serve ice cream to fill the dessert void at Poke Burrito.
Chen believes customers will be happier with his Asian inspired soft serve options as the hous- made ice cream will be available year-round and rings up at just $0.49 per ounce; patrons can have as much or as little as they like. DIY topping options will rotate and include items like jellies, tapioca, cookies, boba, and sprinkles.
To celebrate Poke Burrito’s anniversary community members are invited to stop in on June 14 and 15 to try a free sample of soft serve ice cream out of an eco-friendly cup!
“I don’t want to do anything someone else is already doing,” says Chen, “it is my goal to be unique.”