Hawaiian chainlet Sam Choy’s Poke to the Max has opened a waterfront restaurant in Kirkland. The new location serves the familiar menu of loco moco, shoyu chicken, and, of course, the wildly popular raw fish salad known as poke, plus the addition of fish and chips, a shrimp sandwich, and a Korean fried chicken sandwich. But because the building’s owner requires all food here be Halal, the restaurant does not serve its usual kalua pork or musubi.
The new Poke to the Max (52 Lakeshore Plaza) sits within view of Lake Washington, next door to Wow Wow Hawaiian Lemonade, which faces Kirkland’s Marina Park Beach. For now, the restaurant is holding limited open hours; it’s closed today but will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. from June 18 through June 23. Starting June 24, the full open hours — 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily — will take effect.
The enterprise — currently on Eater Seattle’s list of 38 essential restaurants in the city — is a project of Hawaiian celebrity chef Sam Choy and business partner Max Heigh. Choy is widely credited as the godfather of poke, increasing its popularity by making it available to the mainland masses. The business has long operated a food truck in Seattle before opening a brick-and-mortar location in Hillman City in 2016.
The company planned to add a Kirkland location for at least as long as the Hillman City restaurant was in the works, but it didn’t materialize until now. Sam Choy’s also operates restaurants in Tacoma and San Bruno, CA.