Aloha Poke Eyeing Expansion Into Atlanta With Ghost Kitchen Operator Reef

Chicago-based fast-casual eatery wouldn't have a brick-and-mortar but would rather offer delivery only, potentially out of 725 Ponce

Fast-casual poke restaurant concept Aloha Poke Wednesday announced it is entering into an agreement with ghost kitchen operator Reef Kitchens as a “way to introduce the restaurant’s high-quality food and sustainable sourcing practices into new urban markets,” according to a press release. The markets under consideration for Aloha Poke’s first location with Reef are Atlanta, Dallas, or Miami. Aloha Poke announced in late-2019 it was looking for Atlanta franchisees. While franchises are still in consideration, a move to launch in the market with a ghost kitchen first — amid the novel coronavirus pandemic — seems more likely.

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Reef last month announced it would open one of its “Neighborhood Kitchens” in the new 725 Ponce office mid-rise that is flanked by a new urban-model Kroger (built where “Murder Kroger” was formerly situated.) The Old Fourth Ward outpost is one of at least two Reef locations planned for the City.

“Ghost kitchens are an interesting, turnkey solution to bring the Aloha Poke fast-casual concept to a larger population of people in the largest urban areas of the country,” Paul Tripodes, VP, franchise development, Aloha Poke, said in the release. “We are excited to work with Reef and feel this is a great way to introduce our brand to new, urban markets ahead of traditional brick and mortar development while strengthening the Aloha Poke brand, built on serving clean, nutritious, healthy foods sourced through the latest sustainable sourcing practices, into new markets.”

Ghost kitchens have gained popularity in offering restaurant brands a way to bring their food offerings to more people, test market viability, and attract potential brick and mortar franchisees. As a licensed operator, Reef’s team will prepare and serve Aloha Poke’s menu via third-party delivery platforms.

Based in Chicago, Aloha Poke currently operates 19 locations in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Florida, and Washington, D.C.

Caleb J. Spivak

Caleb J. Spivak

Caleb J. Spivak

Caleb J. Spivak