Poké Munch is opening an Edwardsville location in June

A St. Louis County favorite plans to expand into Edwardsville. Poké Munch will open a second location at 1063 Illinois Route 157, Suite 12, as soon as the second week of this June, according to owner and co-founder Nadeem Hosseini.

The Edwardsville location will retain Poké Munch’s signature menu, which features classic ahi tuna bowls of varying spice levels, a vegan sweet chile tofu bowl and the popular chicken katsu bowl — as well as a build-your-own option. The menu will expand after the first few months of business after gauging the level of interest in raw fish. “When poké first comes to the area ... you always have somebody in the group who wants something not raw,” Hosseini explained. To that end, a new battered cod or a similar breaded fish item is in the works.

“All of our food is clean label. That means none of our food has any preservatives; it doesn’t have any food coloring. ... Everything is made from scratch. And so we take that into our drinks, too. Everything we serve is [under] that ethos — other than the Diet Coke, that’s the only exception,” Hosseini said with a smile. “Customers just kept asking [for it].” Other beverages available for purchase will include San Pellegrino flavored sparkling waters, Hawaiian Sun canned fruit juices and Fitz’s glass-bottled sodas. 

Hosseini looks forward to utilizing a storefront that’s about three times larger than the Creve Coeur location; the 3,000-square-foot space will initially seat 45 guests. Loyal customer and Black Otter Design founder Nathan Jeffords created a vibrant wraparound mural for the Creve Coeur location, and his wall art will be making its way to Edwardsville. Jeffords’ designs focus not only on the fresh poké ingredients, but also on the concept of ohana, which means “family” in Hawaiian. “We have very low turnover here,” Hosseini said. “A lot of our employees stay for a very, very long time. ... They become like our family.” Seasoned employees and brothers Ausaja and Mustafa Kazmi will manage the front of house in Illinois, with current junior chef Justino Garcia stepping into a head chef role. All three will receive a co-ownership share of the new restaurant. “Without them, there’s no second location,” Hosseini said. 

Poké Munch Edwardsville will be open six days a week from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. It will likely be closed on Monday or Tuesday. A soft opening is slated for the first week of June, pending the arrival of furniture.