Back in October, we got bored one night and thought, “Why don’t we eat at three East Side ramen joints and write a thing about it?” The resulting thing, “I experienced the magic of the ‘grown-up’ East Side by eating at three ramen places in one night,” was meant as a catch-all review for Red Light Ramen, Kawa Ramen & Sushi, and Yokohama, as well as a light jab at the sudden explosion of ramen joints in a once-bar-heavy neighborhood. Anyway, ramen is so 2017, apparently, because now there are 8,000 poke places headed to the East Side.
Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but the fact remains that a new East Side poke place may be setting up shop immediately across the street from an existing East Side poke place. Urban Milwaukee reports that Poke Fusion WI, Inc. has leased the building formerly occupied by Hotch, 1813 E. Kenilworth Pl. (Hotch closed back in May after an impressive 11-year run.) And what is literally a bowl’s throw from the former Hotch? Fresh Fin Poke, 1806 E North Ave., which opened in January.
Poke Fusion WI, Inc. isn’t listed with the Department of Finances, and has no pending licenses with the city, but the neighborhood is excited nonetheless. “I am also proud that we have become a sort of ‘Little Asia’ with the variety of Asian cuisines, making the East Side a one-stop-shop for delicious Asian restaurants of many types and environments,” East Side Business Improvement District Executive Director Kristin Godfrey tells Urban Milwaukee.
And it’s not just the East Side. In less than a year, Fresh Fin Poke alone has opened a second location in the Third Ward, and has announced a third location in Brookfield. Between that and the incoming Poke Fusion, it seems that it’s only a matter of time before the former BBC, Hotel Foster, and Rosati’s get their own Hawaiian raw-seafood bowl joints, too. The East Side: ramen, poke, and the Landmark.