Words & Deeds

New Boise restaurant to ‘keep it raw’ with fast, fresh poke bowls

Evolution of a Paddles Up Poke bowl

Raw fish is placed on rice -- then the fun begins.
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Raw fish is placed on rice -- then the fun begins.

When Dan Landucci was rafting last summer in Riggins, whenever they hit a rapids, the guide would yell, “Paddles up!” to put everyone in attack mode.

The phrase stuck. “I kind of took it as a life motto,” Landucci says.

So when he decided to open a restaurant specializing in uncooked fish, the name was obvious: Paddles Up Poke.

“I’m putting my paddles up and attacking my dream,” Landucci, 27, says. “... I just love poke.”

“Keepin’ it raw in Boise,” Paddles Up Poke will open Monday, May 1, in the former Mixed Greens space at 237 N. 9th St. in Downtown Boise.

The counter-service restaurant will specialize in fast, fresh poke bowls. A Hawaiian tradition, poke recently has become a nationwide trend. In Downtown Boise, it will be a healthy option for the lunch crowd.

Because not everyone is familiar with poke (pronounced “PO-kay”), Paddles Up Poke explains the concept online. “This tasty lunch is simple: chunks of raw fish marinated in our special house Piranha Sauce, packed with all the tasty toppings that you can find on your classic sushi rolls and served on top of a bed of brown rice, white rice or fresh mixed greeens.”

Paddles Up Poke bowls will be customizable. If customers don’t want to choose their own ingredients, predetermined selections will be available, such as an ahi tuna bowl.

“You’ll walk in, walk up to the counter, pick your base, pick your protein, walk down the line and pick all your toppings ... and kind of make your bowl the way you like it,” Landucci says.

Poke will be served in plastic containers with lids, making it easy to eat on site or dine elsewhere. Either way, quickly.

“You should be greeted and out the door in minutes,” Landucci says.

A regular poke bowl will cost $10.95. A large will be $12.95. Other menu choices will include poke tacos and poke nachos.

There’s seating for 34 inside, Landucci says, and a small patio area will probably handle six to eight customers.

“We definitely want people to hang out,” he explains, adding that Paddles Up will sell all-local beer and wine. “We’re going to have a really good happy hour.”

Paddles Up Poke hours will be 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Michael Deeds: 208-377-6407, @michaeldeeds

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