(HADDONFIELD, NJ) The pandemic has restaurant owners thinking creatively about ways to best use their spaces to maximize revenue, while also adapting to the needs and tastes of locals during unprecedented times. In many cases, they’re also leaning on one another to help out in any way possible.
One South Jersey example of just that, was the summer opening of Poke Xpress. This pop-up, takeout-only restaurant opened at the storefront of Denim BYOB, the popular yet temporarily shuttered, New American establishment. It opened in 2019 at 116 Kings Highway East, in the heart of downtown.
The pop-up, a team effort between Denim BYOB’s Chef David Murray and his friend, Poke Xpress Executive Chef Ralph Fernandez, has been wildly successful and has served as proof-of-concept that Haddonfield is ready for a permanent poke shop to call its own. Chef Fernandez said Hawaiian poke bowls, which include fresh vegetables, raw or cooked fish, and/or chicken, while new to the area, were a huge hit.
“That first day, Dave and I sold 65 bowls in just a few hours after some advertising, so we continued it. It was amazing,” said Chef Fernandez in an interview with the Cherry Hill Courier-Post. “People are lovin’ it! And now we even have repeat customers and some come a few times a week.”
With the reopening of Denim BYOB on September 10, neither Chef Murray nor Poke Xpress will be impacted.
“The beautiful thing is that my kitchen at Denim is pretty massive,” Chef Murray explained. “Chef Fernandez is welcome to continue using a portion of my kitchen for as long as he needs, while choosing a brick-and-mortar location in Haddonfield to expand his business,” the report said.
Poke me, I must be dreaming! #HADDONFIELDNJ has it’s on Hawaiian-style cuisine. (📸: @pokexpressnj).