A new restaurant concept will soon be opening at the corner of MacArthur Boulevard and South Grand Avenue. Hau Nguyen plans to open Nami Poke at 916 South Grand Ave. West, the site of the former Li’l Willy’s BBQ Smokehouse, which closed March 31.
“I’ve been working in the restaurant industry for over 10 years,” said Nguyen. “I started with Osaka when they first opened.”
He said he later worked for a Japanese seafood company that operated several restaurants in the Chicago area. “There are a lot of poke shops there, and that was my first time trying them out,” Nguyen said.
Poke bowls are a Hawaiian culinary tradition involving marinated, normally uncooked, seafood and mixed with chopped vegetables. Rice is generally used for the base, with protein such as seafood or tofu added and then topped with sauce and customized with other additions.
Nguyen said he doesn’t plan to change the restaurant’s layout but will make some cosmetic changes. “My concept is a quick-service restaurant; people will order at the counter and then can take their meal to go or dine in. It makes it more convenient and less time-consuming for the customer.”
He plans to serve lunch and dinner and have Nami Poke open by the end of July.
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